Oklahoma State University is offering two community courses on deaf culture and American Sign Language next month.
“The classes are intended for the public,” said instructor Logan Evans. “There is something in them for everyone: whether you are fluent in ASL, maybe you know some sign, or maybe even no sign at all. Each class will include vocabulary, stories and information about deaf culture.”
Evans, a Tulsa native who was born deaf, is a 2017 university studies graduate pursuing a master’s degree in international studies with a focus on education. Evans teaches ASL courses at OSU and Tulsa Community College.
“Very few people realize that like English, French or German, American Sign Language is a living language, complete with history, grammar and culture,” he said.
Taylor Woodall-Greene will be assisting Evans. Woodall-Greene is a certified sign language interpreter who has been involved in the deaf community since 2012. She is a doctoral student in social foundations of education. Woodall-Greene works as a teaching assistant for ASL-related courses on campus as well as an interpreter for OSU students and the community.
The deaf culture course is a non-credit introductory class. It is intended for the general public, both hearing and deaf. The goal is to introduce the history and culture of the deaf community in the U.S. Students will learn landmark events of the deaf community on a local and national basis. There is no textbook. This one-time class will be April 1 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Stillwater Public Library. Registration is required by March 25.
Those who want an in-depth course introducing ASL, including some deaf history and culture, may enroll in the paid course, which costs $99 for those who register by March 18 at 5 p.m. The cost then increases to $109, with registration closing April 5 at 5 p.m. Attendance is crucial to learning, and a textbook is required. This course will take place at the Stillwater Public Library on Mondays from 6-7:30 p.m. from April 8 through June 3.
“I don’t think it’s difficult to learn ASL,” Evans said. “Once people make the switch from relying on their hearing to their eyesight, I think it’s easy to learn.”
Evan added, “My favorite part of the class is teaching about deaf culture and how it relates to my experiences and stories, and how I can relate it to vocabulary (signs).”