The Signing Room is a community that is all about bringing your conversational and academic sign communication together to advance people's skills the fastest way possible --- through immersion.
Research shows that the best way to build language is to participate in ongoing give-and-take dialog. The Signing Room does that through Deaf Language Models and other intermediate level peers wanting to increase their sign language abilities through natural conversation and dialog.
1. Are open minded to communication needs and styles of deaf children and the Deaf Community
2. Enjoy chatting 1:1 with others
3. Are fluent in American Sign Language
4. Enjoy learning new things
5. Are not afraid to take a leadership role
6. Are a natural encourager
7. Love the language of ASL and enjoy sharing it with others!
You need to have worked with at least 2 families to teach sign language.
The Signing Room is hiring two positions:
1. Deaf Language Model:
Pay: $20/hour for a minimum of 4-5 hours a week during the day
A Deaf Language Model interacts 1:1 with hearing participants of the Signing Room and provides feedback and support to help them improve their ASL. Creation of warm up exercises and short language lessons may be required. A strong internet connection is required as well knowledge of how to use Zoom.
2. Hearing Facilitator
Pay: $10.00/hour plus free membership to the Signing Room (value of $75/month)
4-5 hours per week during the day
A Hearing Facilitator facilitates the Signing Room. You must be fluent in ASL and also be comfortable using Sim Com in certain circumstances. You may be required to create and lead a short 5-10 minute warm-up activity or lesson. Then you will facilitate the breakout rooms. You may or may not be expected to be a conversation partner, depending on numbers of participants in the room at the time. A strong internet connection is required as well as knowledge of how to use Zoom.
Fluent in ASL and English
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 people 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 provides 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! Topics of conversation and conversation starters are provided the week before, allowing people to practice their skills prior to meeting with the group.
Members of the Signing Room can access the Signing Room any of the available days and times - as much or as little as fits into their schedule! There are no extra fees for attending multiple days or times. As the Signing Room grows, so will your opportunity to participate!
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.
"[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