Story and images provided by Stillwater Public Library
Stillwater residents interested in learning American Sign Language (ASL) are encouraged to enroll in classes offered this spring by OSU Arts and Sciences Outreach at the Stillwater Public Library. The introductory course takes place each Tuesday, April 3-May 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The non-credit classes are intended for the general public, and those who register prior to March 20 can do so for a discounted rate of $99. Registration after March 20 is $109. One textbook, “A Basic Course in American Sign Language, 2nd Ed.,” is required, but not included in the registration fee. The class is generally appropriate for those 14 and older.
Students will work with instructor Logan Evans and fellow students to learn vocabulary, handshapes and usage. Participants collaborate on in-class exercises and outside activities to enhance their learning experience and help put into practice what they learn.
Beyond vocabulary and usage, students will also learn extensively about Deaf culture.
For Evans, who is deaf, helping others learn ASL is a significant benefit.
“Encounters with hearing people who don’t know ASL can be exhausting,” said Evans. “I have had to deal with it by depending on oralism (voicing and lip-reading), writing notes back and forth and many other methods. But with hearing people who know ASL, the communication is fast, fluid and not at all exhausting.”
Evans thinks one of the biggest challenges for students will be something people in the hearing world do not often experience.
“Since hearing people rely heavily on voicing and hearing, the most challenging part for them will be the silence,” said Evans. “It means that they will have to focus on watching ASL and signing in ASL without any voices.”
To introduce potential students and other interested community members to Deaf culture, Evans will be teaching a free class March 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the library.
“American Sign Language has its own community and culture consisting of both hearing and deaf people,” said Evans. “The goal for this class is to introduce members of the hearing community to the history and culture of the Deaf community in America. The class will focus on landmark events in Deaf history, and students will be introduced to the culture of the Deaf community on a local and national basis.”
Evans was born deaf and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He earned an OSU liberal arts degree with a minor in American Sign Language. Evans is pursuing a master’s in international studies with a focus on education. Upon completing his master’s, he will work toward becoming an ASL professor at OSU.
Taylor Woodall-Greene will be a teaching assistant for the class.
She is an OSU doctoral student who works at the university as an instructor and sign language interpreter. Woodall-Greene obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from OSU all with a focus on education and critical studies of national education, comparative international education and Deaf education.
Both the free Deaf Culture class and the fee-based ALS course require registration. For more information or to register, choose the “Outreach – Community” link at https://cas.okstate.edu/outreach/community-programs or contact Christine Nichols at (405) 744-8459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.). Library hours are Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.