Sign Language Club

I taught simple American Sign Language at the Family Support Center (formerly Save the Children). I was inspired because I had a student who was deaf in my second grade class last year. Her teacher would always take her out of my class because she said she didn't need to be there. I learned that she was deaf. I asked if she was learning how to speak sign language and was told that her parents did not want her to speak with her hands. Her parent's plan was to have her go to school until she was in 4th form, and then she would learn to sew and work. With the help of Lale Huseynova, former LCF, I contacted the Family Save and Support Center and organized a club to teach American Sign Language to their deaf/mute/hard of hearing children. I learned American Sign Language from videos and together, Lale and I taught a small class and staff members also attended. The staff members would later teach the signs to everyone at the center, so that they would be widely understood at the center. Students increased their ability to communicate, and one teacher noted that before the class, she had not known how to interact with the deaf/hard of hearing children, but now she can and has become much closer to them. An article about my Sign Language Class was written in the Mingachevir Isiqlari local newspaper. This has been one of my most rewarding projects. I did this in the summer, July through September. The students learned very fast and they seemed more confident in day-to-day activities since it was easier for them to communicate simple things such as "I want water" and "I want to play," and "No thank you." Students became noticeably more outgoing. Combined with the sign language teaching, every class would have team-building games that did not require speaking or listening skills to play, such as Group Juggle, Hand Slap, the Human Knot, and others. 

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.