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Apprenticeship in Deaf Community for Advanced ASL Students

Fluency in American Sign Language is a prerequisite for many people seeking jobs in the Deaf Community. Most post-secondary programs only offer introductory American Sign Language coursework, and often students complete these courses without becoming fluent in ASL. Additional opportunities to interact and engage with native members of the Deaf Community are essential for students, but often difficult for those who live in rural settings without large Deaf Communities nearby. Students often have less exposure to rich language models who are fluent in ASL, impacting their legitimate peripheral participation in the local Deaf Communities of practice, and reducing apprenticeship opportunities that might be beneficial for their language acquisition experiences. The purpose this presentation is to begin to explore students’ attitudes and beliefs about their experience connecting with local Deaf Communities of Practice, and to identify possible opportunities and barriers that influence these interactions.

Video (password required)



Kara Gournais

Kara Gournais

Kara is a full time American Sign Language faculty at Western Oregon University. She graduated from Gallaudet University with a BA in Psychology and from Prescott College with a MA in Experimental Education.She is almost completed with Ed D in Curriculum and Instruction at Portland State University. She has been involved with teaching ASL in some capacity for the past fifteen years. She is currently ASLTA certified. Kara enjoys cycling, drinking coffee, and sharing her love for animals.