Southern offers American Sign Language to students

When a student needs to take a language class, many go for Spanish, French and even German. However, the Modern Languages department,  also offers American Sign Language classes.

According to Speech Pathology major Mahayla Toews, one of the instructors is Jeff Jordan, who is completely deaf and pastors a deaf congregation at the McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church. 

“He’s the definition of cool,” Toews said. “[The class] is all in sign language… we can’t rely on talking.” 

According to sophomore health science major, Rica Veluz, who decided to take the class simply to fill three more needed credit hours, she is coming away with a useful tool for her future.

“It’s less common for a hearing person to know sign language as opposed to many other prevalent languages in the states,” Veluz  said.

The homework for the class is a workbook that comes with a CD and students have to sign to Jordan in class in order to receive credit. They also are required to attend deaf churches on some Sabbaths and other deaf events throughout the semester.

However, students don’t need to know sign language beforehand.  Jordan will write on the board and use slideshows to aid students in understanding. Toews said the class is very interactive and engages students in every aspect. She aspires to work with special needs kids and aims to utilize sign language to help her do that. 

“Sign language is something that would be so beneficial and could help break the language barrier,” Toews said. “I also am fascinated by it.”

Veluz appreciates the community aspect of sign language. 

“It’s been less of learning about their culture in class and more about being immersed in the ASL community,” Veluz said.

Toews has fallen in love with sign language, and believes that everyone should sign up for the class. 

“Everyone should take sign language,” Toews said, “There’s so much expression, it’s unreal. Sign language is beautiful.”