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You have some vocabulary. You know how to communicate common phrases.
But when you want to engage in conversation, you are lost.
You don’t understand new people.
You want to engage in meaningful conversation and talk about your day, your plans, even tell stories from the past, but you just don’t have the language.
You can’t get beyond the basics.
Classes either are too formally structured, too basic, or not accessible at all.
There is no Deaf Community that you can connect with - or you're not comfortable enough with your skills to feel that you will be embraced.
Formal ASL classes focus on a specific curriculum of vocabulary and syntax but they don’t meet your current needs.
It’s very academic. It’s not natural.
This community is all about bringing your conversational and academic sign communication together.
Research shows that the best way to build language is to participate in ongoing give-and-take dialog. The Signing Room will do that through Deaf Language Models and other intermediate level peers wanting to increase their sign language abilities through natural conversation and dialog.
The Signing Room is not strictly focused on ASL - allowing you to advance your skills using whatever sign system you use, including American Sign Language, Conceptually Accurate Signed English, or Signed Exact English. With an emphasis on increasing use of classifiers and facial expression to improve communication, your signing will become more clear, more visual, and more expressive, enhancing comprehension of your message.
By bringing you together with a community of others advancing their sign language skills, as well as Deaf adults, in a small group and 1:1 setting, we are able to give you conversational opportunities in a very natural format. And because we use the internet and on multiple days and times, you’re able to fit the Signing Room into your schedule, from any computer!
As a member of the Signing Room, you will meet together through a virtual format for an hour to practice your signing and get feedback from Deaf adults on how to improve your sign abilities. Topics of conversation and conversation starters are provided the week before, allowing you to practice your skills prior to meeting with the group.
Additional days and times will continue to be added as the program grows.
**Schedule is tentative and may possibly change**
The Signing Room is an intermediate level sign language "class" - but not a class in the normal context! By bringing you together with a community of others advancing their sign language skills, as well as Deaf adults, in a small group and 1:1 setting, the Signing Room gives you conversational opportunities in a very natural format. Offered through the internet on multiple days and times, you’re able to fit it into your schedule, from any computer! As a member of the Signing Room, you meet together with peers and Deaf Language Models for an hour to practice your signing. To further improve your sign abilities, specific 1:1 feedback from Deaf adults is offered to you. Topics of conversation and conversation starters are provided the week before, allowing you to practice your skills prior to meeting with the group.
The Signing Room is best geared for those who do not yet have smooth conversational skills. We offer a 7 day trial period so that you can make sure that the Signing Room is a good fit for your current skills.
As a member of the Signing Room, you can access the Signing Room any of the available days and times - as much or as little as fits into your schedule! There is no extra fees for attending multiple days or times. As the Signing Room grows, so will your opportunity to participate!
You have a 7 day trial period to determine if the Signing Room is right for you! If you decide it’s not a good fit, just cancel your subscription anytime within the first 7 days. There is absolutely no commitment!
Since the Signing Room’s approach is through natural conversation and give-and-take dialog, “lessons” are provided during your 1:1 time with your Deaf Language Model. This will not be a formal or structured lesson in an academic way, but will simply be provided naturally during the feedback process, where your Deaf Language Model provides feedback on your current usage and how to improve your vocabulary, use of classifiers and facial expression to improve your communication.
As many as you like from Sept-June! During the summer months, the Signing Room will have more limited hours, but your 12-month membership always offers you full and unlimited access to any and all of the opportunities available.
The goal of the Signing Room is to build the community of those who sign. If you have others in your family who want to increase their sign, we want to maximize this opportunity for you. Contact us at [email protected] and let's talk!
Each participant must have a membership and must log onto their own computer. Since the Signing Room is delivered through an online format, it is VERY IMPORTANT that it is 1 person to 1 device, otherwise other members of the Signing Room will have difficulty viewing you and it will minimize the experience in the Signing Room.
"[My husband] and I are both feeling really well supported and our family's use of ASL has improved so much since we've taken this on. Thanks for everything!"
"As I prepare for the NIC while stuck at home during COVID, it’s helped to keep me signing as I am unable to attend events, and while I have no signing students for the summer! It’s a really well-designed program and I’m really enjoying it. I have also recommended it to some former colleagues and ASL students that I think would benefit!"
"The Signing Room is welcoming, well-organized, and such a valuable resource! It's a language class, a support group, and deaf community all together. Truly, thank you so much for seeing this glaring need for parents and filling this gap. We are so, so grateful :) "
"I wasn’t sure what to expect and was hesitant on how the video chats would work, but the Signing Room has far exceeded my expectations. I get so much receptive and expressive practice every class with fellow parents and Deaf role models. I learn new vocabulary every single class and I get the opportunity to ask questions, clarify signs, and build relationships with my classmates and teachers. I took the plunge for the annual membership after my first class and have never looked back. "
"Before I started the Signing Room I often would shy away from signing with other adults because I wasn’t confident in my skills. Now I feel that even if I don’t know a sign, I could at least explain myself better in order to be understood, by using classifiers, facial expressions, and fingerspelling. Having Deaf language models was extremely valuable. "
"The Signing Room is so helpful in helping me practice and acquire more ASL skills. I felt very supported throughout the class and everyone in the class shared a common goal for improving their signing no matter what level they were at. This type of opportunity is very helpful to those wanting to improve their signing but lack the ability to take classes or struggle with finding opportunities to work with other deaf people. Thank you so much for the Signing Room!"
"The Signing Room is a great way to to expand the sign language I already know into everyday conversations and life. I enjoyed chatting with the Deaf Language Models and others."
"The Signing Room is very helpful and welcoming. Stefanie is a great leader, always making sure everyone understood what is going on and caught up. The deaf models are very nice, always offering good advice on styles of communication. They would take the time to repeat, more than once, what they were signing to make sure I understood. "
"The ability to come together and sign with each other has improved my receptive skills, and the story lines have added to my vocabulary and also new ways of signing a single word. I am so happy I had the chance to participate, and strengthen my skills for my Deaf daughter, as well as learning in order to communicate with the Deaf community where I live. "
"I was very happy with this innovative opportunity that focused on improving conversations in sign language that I could join from my own home. Stefanie Kessen is a skilled facilitator and creates 1:1, small group and large group educational experiences by video conference. She found a group of very positive Deaf adults from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, (from native ASL to PSE learned as an adult) who are willing to help parents gain conversational fluency to support their children of all ages. The assignments are novel and the resources shared are so helpful. I have taken a lot of classes by now, and this one fills a niche for us "beyond beginning" parents!"
"There's nothing like using a language you are trying to learn. Practice with other signers outside the classroom is the hardest thing to come by, and this format provides just enough structure to drive really focused practice. Bringing it into the home makes a huge difference - deaf meetups in our area take place in the evening or on college campuses, but childcare and bedtimes can be a barrier!"
"As an experienced Itinerant teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, I'm ashamed to share that my sign skills are really just mediocre. Each summer I promise myself that this will be the year I take an ASL class, meet deaf friends, and immerse myself in the culture so my sign skills will take off. But, in reality, it never happens. School starts and I find myself immersed in work, just trying to keep up with all the demands. I also don't drive the hour away to take a sign class in the evening. Being exhausted, I go home! And that's what I love about "The Signing Room!" I can go home after work, take the ASL class, and meet deaf friends! Since starting the class, I have learned so much. I have a safe place to ask questions, people who don't judge my lack of skills, and I feel connected to this community. I love it!"
"Your approach is so helpful!!! I'm loving the classes so far. I definitely feel stretched and challenged. I also feel like it's helping me to dive in. I love having a topic to prep for, too. That makes me concentrate and have at least some plan of what signs I might need to know. It's also helpful as it gives context when I'm trying so hard to understand what's being signed to me. Thank you again!"
Last updated 7/3/19