Attacking the Common Core: Building a Nation of Illiterate, Xenophobic, Non-Mechanical, Artisans

We’re in trouble in the good ole USA.  Our academies of higher learning are giving in to the bad behavior of the students seeking to earn diplomas from their educational institutions.  Our values as a civilization are under attack by leading educators who wish to dumb-down the curriculum to better suit students who are applying to colleges stupider, less talented, and much more self-interested than ever before.  The disconnect between classroom realism and real life reality is enough to make your brain explode in flames as you come to realize our great nation of minds is quickly decaying into a leveling pit of repurposed mediocrity:

Continue reading → Attacking the Common Core: Building a Nation of Illiterate, Xenophobic, Non-Mechanical, Artisans

When Fluency No Longer Matters

There’s an infuriating move afoot in several major universities to “dumb down” graduation requirements by removing foreign language fluency from the core program of study.  Some schools incredibly want to make a mere semester of a foreign language an elective and not a hard requirement for earning a diploma.  When I was in college, we had to take four semesters of a foreign language in order to graduate.  Soon, that minimal forced fluency that formed many generations of students will no longer be important to a college education.

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Discounting Foreign Language Skills

There are several ways to kill a language.  One is from non-use.  Another is bleeding funding.  The worst of all ringing, public, grammar deaths is the refusal to test for language competency — because then nothing is ever at stake in the acquisition and practice of the language and the student need not learn to correctly use the language in a context of consequence and deepened meaning.

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The History of Our American Sign Language Classes at CUNY

Janna and I were delighted to create, and then teach, our “Hardcore ASL” style of learning as a new series of American Sign Language courses offered by the City University of New York professional school, and while we no longer teach there, the experience was both historic and defining.

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American Sign Language Explodes on Campus

On December 6, 2010, the New York Times ran the following article — Colleges See 16% Increase in Study of Sign Language — this excellent graphic from the story demonstrates how American Sign Language is now the #4 “Most-Studied” Foreign Language on campus with a 16.4% increase over the last three years, and that translates into a very real nationwide increase of 91,763 students.

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A Dangerous Lack of NYPD Interpreters

When there’s no money to fuel a City or feed a State, the first things to get axed are the everyday necessities of living, as well as proper access to protection and equal communication facilitation in the system.

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Buy My New American Sign Language Book

My newest book, written with Janna M. Sweenie is titled Picture Yourself Learning American Sign Language, Level 1 and you can now buy it directly from Amazon.com and at Barnes and Noble and from your nearby bookstore!

Picture Yourself Learning American Sign Language, Level 1 is our second ASL book that employs our “Deaf Way” of Hardcore ASL teaching

We have a DVD bundled with the book so you can learn ASL with us in real time!

The most inventive measure of our new book is the “Pick and Say Rubric” that leads you to create quick — “three idea” — sentences constructed in ASL. 

You just pick one or more words/ideas from a RED column, a GREEN column and a BLUE column and then sign them in sequence. Easy!

Using that rubric method you can forge more than 27,000 American Sign Language phrases by learning only 90 words — and getting to understand how to “Pick and Say” takes less than 10 seconds.

I know you’ll love the book.  You can use the book as a base for understanding Deaf Culture and for learning an exciting foreign language. 

If you have any thoughts or feedback, please find me and share your mind!