Why American Sign Language should be a language class

Although American Sign Language (ASL) is a relatively popular language, numerous schools, including ours, don’t provide it as an option for a language class. There are countless reasons ASL would help us in our future, careers and lives.

According to a study by Gallaudet University, ASL is one of the most commonly used languages in America, but is not emphasized in schools as much as Spanish or French. 

Implementing ASL as a language class would open the door for versatility and make it easier for deaf students to communicate with their peers.

According to Westernfrontonline, “Studying a new language can improve analytical skills, memory function and problem solving. Studies have also shown learning a new language can increase test scores in other areas.” 

 Not only is ASL important to the deaf community, but also to their culture. Deaf culture ensures that their language and heritage are kept alive in order to pass to the next generation. ASL emphasizes and appreciates deaf heritage, history, literature and culture. 

If enough students grasp the importance of learning ASL, administration could proceed with possibly making it a language class.

“Student requests drive the master schedule,” Assistant Principal Humberto Brito said. “If enough students want ASL as an option for a language class, we can actively look into hiring to fulfill requests.”

 Students could use this as an opportunity to use their voices in hopes of making a change. People don’t choose to be deaf, but as students we can choose to push ourselves to learn their language in order to make their lives easier. 

The language also opens itself up to many job opportunities for future careers. According to a study published by New American Economy, the demand for multilingual employees is on the rise. An ASL translator can provide communication between patients and medical staff, perform visual interpretations over the phone, translate or make subtitles in films and provide services for events such as concerts and plays. 

Besides having an ASL class, if you wanted to learn the language you could take a language class at a community college, watch online videos or join a sign language group. Miami-Dade College provides an ASL class depending on the availability of instructors. You can also hire a tutor, ask deaf friends or family members or use an app. You can download an ASL dictionary or an app such as Lingvano.

The hearing community has a privilege that they may take for granted and should take that opportunity to acknowledge it and grow. The issue is the language barrier that has prohibited individuals from learning despite the simple solution: allowing students to learn ASL.