Page 11 - winter 07-08

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TheWoods
11
Above:
Melanie McKay-Cody (right), instructor
of American Sign Language interpreting, dem-
onstrates the sign for tamale to (left to right)
Alicia Thomas, a senior from Jacksonville, Kan.;
Rachel Stocker, a senior from St. Louis, Mo.,
and Justin Beyer, a senior from Linn, Mo.
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.
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.”
Rachel Stocker, a senior from St. Louis, Mo., said, “I
think these trips are an awesome idea. It gives us a
chance to learn different signs for everything. It also
opens our eyes to how to actually sign something
instead of learning from a PowerPoint.”
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.”