art is everywhere…

Living in two worlds

My sister and I have spent the week interpreting the TESOL program (A program that teaches you how to teach language) for my brother Tony (who’s deaf)…I’m on break lol meg’s signing it up while I peck away. Though out of necessity I’ve interpreted all my life, in reality this is my first time interpreting in a truly professional setting…kinda scary, headache inducing…but now somewhat comfortable at this point (day 4). Tony doesn’t seem too confused when its my turn lol..
But anywho!
This week has really impressed upon me the beauty of ASL, not only due to its vivid imagery but also because of its dynamic versatility. A man from Boston in the class pointed out a great limitation of ASL, It’s lack of a written form…and that got me thinking…that fact (lack of writteness(i like that new word lol)), which may limit in the hearing world may actually be an advantage. Let me explain
This course is all about breaking free from the chains of age old teaching methods. Over and over Dr. Cotton has drilled into us the importance of ignoring the stupidity we all faced in school. Grammer drills, note taking, long lectures, sitting, mundane writing drills….all of it has been exposed, not only by our numb minds but by Brain Science as absolutely crippling to the way we were designed to learn new information (which in this case is language). But think for a moment, where do all of those boring enslaving methods stem from?……think harder…..yes the written language. Grammer drills, notes of a lecture, sitting, constantly listening…writing drills…all of it stems from or has something to do with the written word!
However!!!!
ASL requires nothing written! Everything stems from the depth of the imagination! And the only attempt to write ASL is mind mapping, which basically explores this imagination anyway. This not only allows for improved retention in other languages or even subjects, but it opens a world of flexibility in ASL itself. Rather than being chained to a code of letters that we call words, we are able to paint pictures! Anything we imagine can be visually depicted, richly described, and emotionally loaded…in an almost endless environment of space. This undeniably makes sign language an art!
well its my turn…sorry for the ramble…and any errors in my english

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One response

  1. Jimmy

    Sign language exploits the visual aspect of our brains, and better meshes with the learning method of association. That is why mind mapping works so well. Stories are easy to remember and pictures too, and that’s what the language does.

    Sadly, all the drills in school were simply placed there to get children to communicate, but I agree they take the wrong approach. Writing doesn’t tax the mind’s memory center at all, and memorization of boring facts and figures does nothing to aid in retention. The school system is designed in such a way where once you’ve passed a grade, phew, forget pretty much everything you learned because it’s not important any more.

    Written language is not the issue, in my opinion. The problem is how it’s used, and it’s been used badly. Everyone needs reminders, and that is why subject points are so helpful – not big paragraphs for memorization, but simplification of broad topics into a few words to memorize. To me, that is what sign language has learned about the human mind, and expression in text has yet to catch up and in fact I doubt it can catch up to sign language, because being specific and articulate has no connection to the visual in language. And that’s the problem. Many don’t make that connection while reading and after that, they lose the information. Secondly, language can easily be misinterpreted while in text form because of styles in speech, which is inherent in the medium. When you are face to face with another human being, even if style is involved, it can be much easier to decode what they mean.

    sry long paragraphs but you got me thinking, and I appreciate that.

    September 2, 2010 at 4:16 am

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