OSU and Stillwater Public Library offer sign language class

(STILLWATER, OKLA. / July 22, 2016) – Stillwater residents will have a unique opportunity to learn conversational American Sign Language (ASL) through a weekly class offered by OSU Art & Sciences Outreach and the Stillwater Public Library.  The introductory course runs every Monday at 5:30-7 p.m. from Aug. 22-Oct. 17.

The non-credit, introductory course is intended for the general public, and those who register prior to Aug. 15 can do so for a discounted rate of $89.  Registration from Aug. 16-22 is $109.  The class is generally appropriate for those 14 years old and up. 

“This course is for everyone who would love to learn about ASL and Deaf Culture,” said instructor Taylor Woodall.  “Any skill level – even no skills – are welcome.”

Students will work with Woodall and peers during class as well as perform outside activities and assignments to help put into practice what students learn during class.  Deaf culture lessons will be voiced to ensure full understanding. 

“Students will be learning the basics of ASL during this series,” said Woodall. “But once they know the basics, students can do much more to extend their knowledge from participating in ASL activities and events in the Deaf community to continuing studies with their peers.”

Students who complete the class will have an opportunity to enroll in an advanced ASL course that begins October 24.

“We have offered basic ASL instruction at the library several times,” said Christine Nichols, a program coordinator with OSU Art & Sciences Outreach. “We are tremendously excited to offer the next step in the language to all our ASL students, past and present.”

Woodall is an Oklahoma state QAST certified instructor and has been involved with the Deaf community since 2012. 

“I first learned ASL because my degree required a foreign language component,” said Woodall. “I had already encountered several instances when ASL would have been helpful in communicating with someone who was deaf, so I knew it was the language I wanted to pursue.”

According to Woodall, most people will find ASL valuable.

Woodall recalls a time when a colleague proficient in ASL was at an airport when many flight delays and cancellations were issued. The colleague was able to assist a large group of people who were deaf by explaining what was happening and helping them with their travel needs. Woodall has experienced similar situations since learning ASL.

“Throughout life, most of us will encounter people who are deaf and use ASL,” said Woodall. “Knowing ASL not only allows you to communicate with those who use the language, but it also helps you advocate on their behalf.”

Woodall plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Social Foundations at OSU where her research will be focusing on both Deaf and hearing students and how culture and life experiences outside of the school setting impact education attainment.  Additionally, Woodall works as a teaching assistant for American Sign Language, levels 1-4. 

For more information about the ASL class, visit http://asoutreach.okstate.edu/community/asl or contact program coordinator Christine Nichols at (405) 744-8459 or christine.nichols@okstate.edu.

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.