ASL classes: learning American Sign Language
ASL is said to be the third most used language in the United States after English and Spanish. A quickly growing number of people in North America are interested in learning ASL.
Since the 1980s, a growing number of schools from high schools to post-secondary institutions have offerd ASL classes across North America. In post-secondary education, ASL courses are prevalent in many cities in North America. More than a few bilingual ASL-English schools were founded in the U.S.
If you are seeking to take a face-to-face ASL class, check out the following possible secondary and post-secondary institutions in your area for their calendars or catalogues that may offer classes:
- community colleges
- continuing education programs
- ASL/Deaf organizations or associations
- services for the deaf and hard of hearing
Some programs offer credits, some not. Some offer ASL classes in the evenings.
Consider your goals or needs whether you need a certificate or not, what career you wish to pursue (e.g. an interpreter, an educator for Deaf children, a counselor, a parent of your Deaf child, etc).
The first ASL credit course in North America
The earliest known three-credit courses in ASL and Deaf culture in colleges were taught by Eileen Paul and Barbara Kannapell way back in the 1980s at the University of Maryland.
The first ever credit ASL course offered in high school in North America took place at the Alberta School for the Deaf in Edmonton, Canada in 1989-90(?) under the first ASL school teacher Sue Bailey, a native ASL/Deaf speaker. As the students' first and/or native language was ASL, this ASL course was designated for ASL L1 students.
ASL L1 students at the Alberta School for the Deaf, 1989.
Where are some of these ASL L1 students and teacher from the first ASL class in high school in North America?
The ASL teacher Sue Bailey originally from the U.S. taught at the Alberta School for the Deaf for many years before she retired and lived in British Columbia. Months before she passed away in 2016, she wrote how proud she was of her students who loved her.
Interesting, about five of these students from the first high-school class in North America have become ASL instructors across North America today. Now there are numerous wonderful, vibrant Deaf ASL instructors across North America.
Also see how long to learn sign language
How to pick the right program for sign language class.
Qualifications to look for in an ASL instructor.