Experiential Learning: American Sign Language

American Sign language (ASL) has become one of Tyndale’s most popular classes almost overnight. After just one year, students are eager to enroll in the class and are even seeking out opportunities outside of the classroom to learn more ASL!

faust-1006416_1920This two part course, taught by Mario Pizzacalla can be taken to fulfill a language or elective credit. The course focuses on developing ASL grammar, as well as a cultural and linguistic understanding of deaf culture. The content covered in class includes finger spellings, ASL terminology, sentence structures, conversational signs and the examination of issues in deaf culture. The ultimate goal  is to help students become comfortable in maintaining conversations with deaf people using ASL.

Caitlin Moses, a recent graduate of Biblical Studies and Theology with a minor in Intercultural Studies describes the class as unique compared to other university courses she has taken. “I have never sat in a class for three hours in complete silence before,” says Caitlin. “So you really have to focus, but the class adds a whole new level of fun – laughing singing, and storytelling.”

Nothand-1006423_1920 only is ASL fun but it is incredibly applicable both to a student’s major and their everyday lives. Caitlin told us that while other courses have taught her how to research, write papers, and dig deeper into a subject, ASL has allowed her to gain a new skill through hands-on learning that can be used cross-culturally and locally within Toronto.

Another student in her fourth year of Social Service Work – Early Childhood Education, Nikki Koch, told me about one day when she was at work this past year and a customer who was deaf came in to order lunch. Nikki was able to use her knowledge of ASL to communicate with the customer, take his order, and serve his food.

ASL is one of Tyndale’s favourite courses for a good reason. Students are gaining unique hands-on experience in a language that is highly complementary to any degree and can be applied across a number of settings. So don’t miss out, sign up for ASL classes starting again in the fall!

Kaitlyn Williams

BA Business Administration – International Development 
Fourth Year
Senior Student Admissions Representative 



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