Deaf Culture and ASL for Beginners

Sign language

Instructor Kelly McKnight tells us about her new class starting on January 12, 2019. For more information contact 


What are the 3 main learning outcomes for students?

  1. Awareness of cultural differences between hearing culture and Deaf culture
  2. Appreciation for the uniqueness and long history of this visual language
  3. Gain confidence in communicating with Deaf people


Who should take this class?

People in customer service, people interested in social work careers, people interested in social justice, K-12 teachers, parents of Deaf and hard of hearing children, people interested in ASL interpreting as a career


Why do you want to teach this?

It’s important for hearing people to realize that interacting with Deaf people doesn’t have to be intimidating, and our ASL skill doesn’t have to be perfect to foster communication between hearing and Deaf people.


How did you get started with this topic?

I was a secretary in the World Languages office at Seattle Central Community College from 1998 to 2000. I met many Deaf people at that time and befriended several Deaf folks who were generous enough to teach me.


If you could tell students one thing about this class what would it be?

We all have the capacity to develop our visual memories and express thoughts without talking or writing! Developing our visual senses can lead to a greater awareness of nonverbal communication.


What have you learned from teaching?

We are all constantly learning how to express ourselves more accurately. Also it is so important to be able to listen/interact with lots of different people.





Last Updated November 16, 2018