Page 11 - winter08-09

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Winter 2009
11
Opposite page, left to right:
Kayla Perez, a junior from
Omaha, Neb.; Brynn Elliott, a senior from Newcastle, Wyo.,
and Kimberly Smith, a senior from Sterling, Kan., share a
laugh with Meddra Love, a Deaf facilitator, during a
feld trip to Wal-Mart.
Left:
Melanie McKay-Cody (right), instructor of American
Sign Language interpreting, demonstrates the sign for
tamale to seniors (left to right) Alicia Thomas from
Jacksonville, Kan.; Rachel Stocker from St. Louis, Mo.,
and Justin Beyer from Linn, Mo.
ASL Students take Hands-On Field Trips
WWU is one of only about 25 schools in North
America offering a fully-accredited, bachelor of
science degree in ASL interpreting. Cody sees
these feld trips as another example of how WWU
differentiates itself by focusing on student
development through experiential learning.
“Eighty percent of student learning comes from
outside the classroom,” she said. “It is important
for students to be exposed to real life experiences,
because it will lead them to be better interpreters.
This does not happen often with many other inter-
preter training programs in the United States, so this
is unique experience for our WWU students.”
Cody also believes experiential learning exposes
students to a broader range of subjects and helps
them provide more effective interpretation to the
Deaf and Hard of Hearing population.
Brynn Elliott
, a senior from Newcastle, Wyo., sees
these trips as invaluable to her education.
“Learning doesn’t end in the classroom;
there is nothing better than hands-on
experience,” she said.
“Field trips help us to learn, because it gives us a fresh
new environment to explore. There are only so many
signs in our books; feld trips give us an opportunity to
learn signs that otherwise may not come up in class.”
Cody said she created these trips because, in ASL, it is
important to be visual and experience situations and
things related to their signs.
Kimberly Smith
, a senior from Sterling, Kan., agreed.
“Sign Language is a very visual language, so being able
to physically see and touch what we are learning about
helps us to connect the sign to the word. Since I’m a
visual learner, going out and actually experiencing
what we discuss in class helps me to remember
the signs. It is great being able to learn in a
non-traditional way.”