In-Depth Post #5

Hi everyone! I’m back for another post!

I have had another meeting with my group and mentor and I have learned more about my topic, ASL.

Progress Report

So far, we have learned vocabulary from 5 categories that we established, including greetings/basics, activities, time/calendar, people and emotions. We have used these signs to create and ask questions to each other in our meetings during our voice off sessions, having sort of small conversations. Each meeting, we discuss where everyone is at with what they have learned in between meetings, attempting to get everyone on the same page. We also use this start time to ask any questions that we have thought of, especially about deaf culture and such. We review the signs we learned in our previous one, then we see how much we each learned and remember from the new vocab, all done using a mentor-led voice-off session. Using the voice-off session really helps me improve my skills in paying attention and focusing on the person “speaking”, knowing that I need to concentrate on what they are saying. It helps me get better at being aware of those movements that tell me I need to pay attention, which is something that I know I need to work on if I want to be able to converse in ASL. It also helps me practice my finger-spelling and finger-spelling interpretation, I’ve built up my speed in both with the use of these sessions. Also, whenever there is a minute or so where Tori is not just saying one sign, but a sentence, I find that I really try to translate as quick as a I can, occasionally missing a word or two, but I’ve improved with my fast translation a lot since the beginning of the project. This is great because that will help me in understanding what is being said to me in ASL, especially when it is a fluent ASL speaker, since they will most likely be signing much faster. Using the signs we’ve learned so far, we come up with questions that we can ask relating to the topics/categories. These give us things to talk about when conversing in ASL, and they also teach us a little about the grammar of ASL and how to structure the individual signs sentences. They also allow us to learn a little bit more about each other through asking them and replying correctly in ASL, as well as just being really useful practice.

Next Meeting

We were recommended to watch two different documentaries to help us learn about deaf history and culture as we will move on to current activism in our upcoming meeting. We will learn signs from the categories food and colours, as well as a spattering of other signs that we will need for the new set of questions that we came up with in the two weeks in between meetings. We will practice these questions and how to answer them with each other in pairs next meeting to learn more about the other person through ASL, asking about family, emotions, favourite activities, etc. Next meeting we will review previous signs and the new categories that we learned using the same process as previous meetings.


Since we are supposed to learn the sign categories between meetings, I find myself sometimes procrastinating that task. I end up looking them up and learning them last minute so I’m caught up, but this means that I forget some of them during the meeting because I didn’t spend very much time on learning them. I do this a lot because at the beginning I put it off for later, then as the two weeks progress I forget that I still have that to do. Breaking this habit will help me to take my time with them and commit them to memory more, as well as relieve any stress related to the task. I am already improving with this by doing it straight away at least within two days of the meeting, before I forget to. I did this for this past meeting and I feel much better because I won’t be rushing to complete the task later. I will try to keep up this habit to continue to make this learning process easier and more effective.

Learning Contract

I have referred back to my learning contract, and upon revisiting the timeline/goals I had set up, I am realizing that my learning has strayed from that. A few of the things I mentioned, including the structure and hand-shapes in the signs, I can not really learn because that is not something my mentor is equipped to teach. Instead, I am learning deaf culture and history, as well as current activism. I plan to continue learning the signs throughout the project and restructure my timeline along with that. I have already mostly completed the goal in which I learn what is considered rude and appropriate so I can be respectful when communicating with deaf individuals. In the next few meetings I hope to discuss the resources posted by my mentor about the history and discuss current events to help us understand the culture better, and I think that this is a good place in the project because it is sort of in the middle. We know enough respect so far, and continuing forward, this information on deaf culture will help us learn more thoughtfully. Then, I hope to move forward into grammar as we near the end of the project to help us translate quickly in our heads and practically put the signs we’ve learned to work in a regular non-practice environment. Along the way, I would also like to find out if my mentor knows any slang or shortcuts that fluent speakers use for fast communication, so I can become more versed in the slight nuances in the language and be a more natural ASL speaker. I will also ask the questions that I had come up with for my learning contract in the next couple of meetings.

In my learning contract as one of the possible issues, I put miscommunication/lack of info and missed meetings. I believe we have done a very good job avoiding these problems, as we have set up a meeting schedule that always stays on the same day and time, once every two weeks, and it works with when everyone is available. Whenever one person is going to be a little late, we just postpone the meeting until then, which works fine, especially since this has only happened once and only for fifteen minutes.  As for any information that we share as a group, it is stored in a shared document that we can edit and reference, keeping track of what needs to be reviewed for next meeting as well as resources posted by our mentor. This has been very helpful as it is an easy and convenient way to find any information that you need and are missing or have forgotten, all of it being the same for each person since it is a collective effort, solving this problem before it begins. We also have a few different ways of communicating inside our group and contacting each other if any specific questions arise.

How to Have A Beautiful Mind

I am not going to be directly quoting a conversation that has been recorded, but instead I will summarize the discussion using the parts where the roles of the hats were included. (Each of the points made is something we discussed in the meetings)

We talked about how Tori had been in contact with someone she knew who was deaf and an ASL instructor, and that he was possible willing to join us for a meeting and have a conversation with us.

White Hat – We know that he is fluent in the language because it his primary language and he teaches it, meaning he has an extensive knowledge. We know that he understands how to work with students and people who are not fully fluent in the language and will be cooperative when communicating with us. We know that he is deaf, and therefore to be respectful our meeting would have to be completely voice-off.

Red Hat – We all thought that meeting with him would be a really good idea. I thought that we should meet with him near the end of our project, after we have learned more and can more easily communicate voice-off. This way we will feel more comfortable in our meeting.

Black Hat – If we meet at the end of the project, we will be stronger with our abilities speaking in ASL and will be able to successfully have a conversation with him. Because it will be a voice-off meeting, we may struggle with saying things sometimes. It will be easy to arrange this meeting, since it will be online and it is much easier to jump on a Zoom call than actually meet up in person, so this works out rather nicely. We discussed if we might need an interpreter to help us, but we decided against it because it would cost money and would be unnecessary if we problem-solve (see green hat section)

Yellow Hat – Meeting with a deaf individual will give us practical experience in using ASL, giving us an idea of what it is like to use it in daily life. He can provide insight into the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and teach us the lesser known things about deaf culture and ASL. We will learn what it is like to talk with a deaf person. It can be a nice way to test our knowledge at the end of the project and appreciate what we’ve learned, being an option for our final test included in our learning contract.

Green Hat – If we come across something that we want to say but don’t know how to, we can ask using finger-spelling and hopefully he can help us or Tori can. Although it will be completely voice-off and we can still use ASL to ask questions if we are stuck or confused, it is likely that we might have an instance where we can’t figure out our issue that way. Fortunately, if we really get stuck, we can still remain voice-off and don’t need an interpreter as suggested in the black hat section. Because our meeting will be online, if need be, we can use the chat as a backup form of communication.

Blue Hat – We discussed these topics in an orderly fashion, we first considered the initial idea and decided how that would help us and if we should do it. Then we brought up different possibilities for the timing/date of the meeting, thinking about how the conversation would change in relation to that. And afterwards, we talked about the technicalities and parts that might be important moving forwards to know how things will run smoothly.