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Teaching ASL: Politics

Dear Dr. Bill,
How should I handle it when the ASL 2 teacher criticizes the sign variations of students who took my ASL 1 class?
-- Name on File

Dear Name on File,
The best approach in my experience is for us as teachers to wrap up each semester by strongly emphasizing to our students that for 15 weeks it has been our privilege and honor to serve as their guru. And that if the student goes on to take a class from some other teacher, that new teacher will get to be the new guru for 15 weeks.

I remind my students that taking classes from different instructors helps them to become a powerful communicator because they become familiar with a wider range of signing styles and vocabulary items.

I prepare my students ahead of time that if their next teacher tells them that "such and such a sign is done a certain way" -- then do the sign THAT way when you are around THAT teacher.  Afterwards go do your own research in the Deaf Community and see how it is really signed by the majority of adult Deaf signers.

-- Bill

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