I began taking American Sign Language classes at my high school in 2007. On the first day of class, I was taken aback when my teacher, Mrs. Dees, came into the classroom and began signing to us. None of us knew what she was signing, or why she was signing; considering the fact that we hadn’t learned anything yet. She signed for the entire hour and I sat there feeling very confused and frustrated. The second day of class I prepared myself for more signing, she passed out earphones and a syllabus. Our syllabus requested that we bring earplugs to class everyday. From that moment on we would plug our ears and cover them with earphones every day and Mrs. Dees would sign to us for the first-half of class. The purpose of using earplugs and earphones was to make it harder for us to hear, and to keep us from using our voices during class. I found this to be very helpful because it forced me to pay attention to what she was signing and to understand her gestures and facial expressions. Before I knew it, I was signing pretty fluently, and the language came a lot easier to me than I initially thought it would have.
There are many ways available for people to learn sign, a lot of those ways being very effective. Facial expressions and gestures are very important; even if you don’t know the sign, if you pay attention to what they’re saying with their face, you realize that there are certain clues that go along with every sign. Using sign language on the internet has also been helpful because I have access to the internet at school and at home. Watching video clips of each sign is more effective than using a book because you can actually see how the signs are executed. We all use sign in our everyday lives whether we recognize it or not, if you start there you should be able to learn the language efficiently.