I have met with my mentor, Sandra, twice now using Zoom, since we are not able to meet in person. I have had to adjust my project slightly, but since I am still able to meet with my mentor online to learn ASL, I can continue learning from Sandra. There have still been certain aspects of my project that have had to change. Luckily, there are several videos and sources online that I can refer to that teach ASL signs and grammar. Before each meeting, Sandra sends me a few online resources that I can watch or read that give an overview of what we are going to learn in the following meeting. Meeting using Zoom online is very useful, as Sandra and I are still able to communicate and there is a ‘chat’ function where we can type to communicate as well.
In the past few weeks, I have learned quite a bit. We spent time reviewing some of the signs I have learned, and then Sandra taught me family signs. She showed me how to sign all the family signs, as well as how to explain the ‘ranking’ of siblings (who is oldest, youngest, genders, etc.). I am super grateful that Sandra is still willing to meet with me and teach me American Sign Language!
What kinds of learning opportunities does my mentor provide to expose me to new learning?
Since Sandra teaches ASL as her job, she has access to worksheets that help show the signs I am learning and explain the facial expression and grammar that must be used when signing certain phrases. Since she is no longer able to give me these worksheets in person, Sandra emails me the PDFs of the worksheets before each meeting, and I print them so that I am able to refer to them during the meetings. She also knows of some very helpful videos and online recourses that help learn ASL signs.
What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?
One of the learning opportunities that exists to reinforce new learning are YouTube videos and other online recourses. Before meetings, Sandra will send me videos teaching what we are going to learn the next meeting, which means we can go more in-depth into the learning each week since I already had a brief overview of some of the signs and grammar. Here are some of the YouTube videos Sandra has recommended for me to watch:
What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?
Some of the learning opportunities that might accelerate learning are online recourses such as YouTube videos and ASL apps. There are a lot of videos that teach ASL signs, but I am still looking for a few videos that will teach some new ASL grammar. I have also downloaded ‘The ASL App’ and ‘Sign Me ABCs’ on my phone, where I can practice signing some basic signs such as animals and numbers, and I can also practice recognizing finger spelled words rapidly.
When we get together what do we talk about?
When Sandra and I meet, we only communicate using ASL, which makes communicating challenging. We often will discuss what it is I am learning. For example, when Sandra was teaching me how to sign leisure activities, we learned what each of us enjoyed doing in our spare time. When I was learning how to sign family signs, we talked about our family and our siblings and our pets. We also occasionally talk about her work as an ASL teacher, as she must also adjust to teacher her classes online. Although it is challenging to communicate with Sandra when we are not talking, it encourages me to pay closer attention to the signs and I feel I learn faster.
What is going particularly well in my mentoring relationship right now?
One thing that is going particularly well in our mentoring relationship right now is that I am getting to know Sandra by asking her questions during the meeting about the topics I am learning. In our last meeting, we discussed our family. I learned a bit about her siblings and her pets. Another thing that is working well is that we are both flexible. Trying to find times to meet when both Sandra and I have busy schedules, especially now that Sandra has to work from home, and we are doing ‘online learning’ for school, so we are both flexible for when we will meet. Sometimes we will decide a day to meet and them realize that we are actually unable to meet at that time, and we work together to schedule another time where we are both free.
What are we learning about one another?
One of the things I am learning about Sandra is what she likes to do in her spare time and a bit about her family. Because I learned how to sign leisure activities, we asked each other what activities we liked doing in our spare time. From that, I got to know that Sandra likes cooking and sewing, and that both Sandra and I enjoy knitting. When I was learning family signs, we would tell each other a bit about our family and our siblings. I learned that Sandra has many siblings and that she is the second youngest, and that she has a cat.
I am super excited that I get to continue meeting Sandra using Zoom online and learning ASL!