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After 16 years of tutoring American Sign Language students, I have realized that there is not enough assistance available to signing American Sign Language (ASL) is the native language of approximately 2 million Deaf and hard of hearing people in America. ASL is a natural language with its own grammatical rules and is the second most frequently used non-English language in the United States. Now that more schools are providing ASL classes, it has become clear to me that many ASL students struggle to master fluent As with most foreign languages, what you don't use, you lose. So the question is, aside from an often overcrowded ASL classroom, where can an ASL student practice with native or fluent signers (Level 4 or higher according to the American Sign Language Proficiency Interview)?

Is it wise to pick just any deaf person? The answer is no. Most deaf people are not well trained or like to teach ASL. Just like any other foreign language, ASL teachers need certain skills to teach the language effectively. Also, we must be aware of several factors when signing with different deaf or hard of hearing people. There are all different kinds of signers. For example, many elderly Deaf people have their own signing styles from their generation. There are different regional signs. And younger generations invent their own "slang" as well. If I were to walk into a Deaf school in another region, I would have to ask students or staff to explain what some of their signs mean.

In addition, there are deaf, hard of hearing, children of deaf adults, and hearing signers who don't know how to fluently use ASL. They instead, use Signed Exact English (SEE) or Contact Language, which are very different ways of expressing oneself. In fact, SEE and Contact Language are considered modes rather than languages. They are a combination of some ASL signs and English grammar. The result is long-winded and not easy on the mind or eyes. ASL is quicker, conserves energy, and accurately conveys abstract and concrete concepts in a visually stimulating manner. Many ASL beginners unwittingly learn SEE or Contact Language first, not knowing that they're not learning ASL.

Then later they wonder why they cannot understand a single thing from fluent ASL native signers. SEE was invented by hearing teachers in the 1970's who thought that they could teach English for deaf students who struggled to [ learn spanish by/with skype] English grammar, spelling, writing skills, and reading Now it's been proven that deaf students learning ASL first, and then learning English through ASL, master English skills fluently. So, sign language enthusiasts and students wonder where to find an expert Deaf ASL Tutor. Go to the yellow pages? Good luck with that! I have yet, to this day, to find any certified ASL tutors in the yellow pages. This is the most challenging step. Since ASL is in its pioneering stage, the American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA) just recently started requiring all ASL teachers to earn a certificate proving they are qualified and ethical instructors.

This is great for ASL teachers all across the nation. But what about ASL Tutors? The expectation is that they have taught classes at a school with a curriculum. For now though, there are no screenings for ASL tutors, so anyone can just claim they are qualified to tutor. But a genuine concern arises inside me as I see far too many frustrated and tired ASL students who have wasted their time, money and energy with ineffective ASL teachers or tutors who misled them. Took courses to learn about better teaching strategies for learning-challenged students. Studied to become a Master Tutor at a community college, and learned to ethically tutor students as well as teach others how to properly tutor students. Attended many ASLTA workshops and conferences to keep up with research on ASL linguistics.

Learned fun game-like tutoring techniques that are much more fun and effective than standard lecture-type models. Always believed that there was room for improving my tutoring skills. So where are the skilled ASL tutors? They are out there! Start interviewing as many ASL teachers locally or over the internet as you can to see who they refer you to. Also check out the sign language interpreting programs for referrals. Here are some traits to look for in an ethical ASL tutor. Check to see that the tutor is personable, patient, flexible, and cooperative. You also want someone who packs in a lot of useful tips in a session to save you time, energy and money. I also highly recommend finding a tutor who does NOT voice, as ASL is a visual gestural language. It would be like asking a Spanish tutor to speak English and Spanish at the same time. It creates unhealthy confusing habits which make it harder to unlearn in the long run.

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Do you have any stories from your travels that you would like to share? Are these 2 things related? I.E. the Colombian wife found out about the Venezuelan girlfriend? Do you mean the divorce was not easy emotionally or in terms of paperwork and logistics? I was planning to stay in Medellin longer and my 6 months stay was almost finished. At this moment I had already signed yeraly contract for my apartment and there was only one way to stay in the country for next 6 months - get married! My friend asked his Spanish tutor to help us, so she found girlfriend, who agreed to be "my wife" (and tutor was "helping" my friend).

In the begging everything looked easy - just couple of visits to attorney, sign some papers and we are fine to stay in Colombia as long as we want to. So basically we signed papers, that we are living together, but in Colombia it gives you same obligations as marriage. So while the interview I got asked did I meet parents of my "wife" and answered "Not yet". After I found out that its almost impossible to live in one house with girl without knowing her parents, cos Colombia is very traditional country when it comes to family. Connections inside families are very close, often you can meet someone around 30 y.o.

Not in a bad way, but just totally different compare to what I see in my country. So fortunately it still worked out for me and I got my cedula. After couple of months my plans had changed and I decided to go back to Russia for some time. We went to same attorney again and asked to begin divorce Yes, it was not easy in terms of paperworks - cos government dont want you to be single! I end up leaving Colombia without any confirmation that we are divorced (my "wife" had some problems with her ID), so I left some payment for attorneys and my original birth certificate and was hoping they finish the process. Lately, when I was in Novosibirsk, I received mail that I still have to sign some additional papers with notary. Of course all documents were in Spanish.