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American Sign Language

American Sign Language  classes, ASL 101, 102 and 103, meet the College’s requirements for modern language credit and are open to all TCNJ students.  Each course is offered in both Fall and Spring semesters.  No previous knowledge of ASL or of fingerspelling is necessary to enroll in ASL 101.

ASL Placement Test

Students who have either heritage familiarity with ASL or who have taken high school ASL classes, continuing education classes or college classes in ASL must take the TCNJ ASL placement test to determine which level class is appropriate for them.  Placement tests are given twice yearly.  The placement test is an in-person assessment.  The next placement test will be given on June 9, 2016 from 10 to 2. The test is given by appointment only.  To make an appointment, email Mrs. Phillips at by no later than June 1, 2016.

Students who have been assessed on the Sign Language Proficiency Instrument (SLPI) do not need to take the ASL Placement Test or ASL classes if a proficiency of Intermediate or higher was earned.  Students must give the Department of Special Education, Language and Literacy an official copy of the SLPI score.

ASL Tutors

Students who have completed ASL 101, 102 and or 103 and have earned the letter grade of “A” in each course are eligible to apply to be a facilitator for the conversation/recitation hours and a tutor of the ASL courses run by the Tutoring Center.  The Center provides opportunities for students to enhance their classroom experiences through activities such as study groups, language conversation hours and drop-in/appointment tutoring.  Students interested in applying for this paid position must contact Mrs. Melanie Phillips at

General Course Information Regarding ASL Classes

Specific course syllabi will be provided by the professor at the outset of each semester of study.

Texts and materials:

ASL 101, 102 and 103 use the texts listed below.  The courses incorporate additional required readings as well as additional required viewings of videotapes and DVDs.

ASL 101

The following textbook is used in ASL 101 and in ASL 102.

1-Smith, S.; Lentz, E. M.; & Mikos, K. (2008). Signing Naturally – Units 1 – 6 . San Diego , California : DawnSign Press. (student workbook & DVD.) Units 1-4 will be covered.  ISBN: 978-1-58121-210-5

ASL 102

1-Smith, S.; Lentz, E. M.; & Mikos, K. (2008). Signing Naturally – Units 1 – 6 . San Diego , California : DawnSign Press. (student workbook & DVD.) Units 5-6 will be covered.

The following textbook is used in ASL 102 and in 103.
2-Lentz, E. Mikos, K., Smith, S. (2014).  Signing Naturally Units 7-12 Student Set.  San Diego , California : DawnSign Press.  (student workbook & DVD.)
ISBN: 978-1-58121-221-1

ASL 103

1-Lentz, E. Mikos, K., Smith, S. (2014).  Signing Naturally Units 7-12 Student Set.  San Diego , California : DawnSign Press.  (student workbook & DVD.)
ISBN: 978-1-58121-221-1

2-Lentz, E. M.; Mikos, K.; & Smith, S. (1992). VISTA : Signing Naturally – Level 2 (2nd ed.). San Diego , California : DawnSign Press. (student workbook & video). Units 13-17 will be covered.

ISBN: 978-1-58121-131-3


The purpose of these courses is to introduce you to American Sign Language (ASL) and the culture of the Deaf community. All ASL courses in the Department of Special Education, Language, and Literacy are founded on guidelines from American Sign Language Instructors of the Deaf and The Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21 st Century, 1999 which describes the five Cs of language acquisition: communication , culture , comparisons , connections , and community.  Students in the basic ASL sequence have the opportunity to practice the three modes of communication, (interpersonal, interpretive and presentational) to learn about Deaf culture (products, practices and perspectives), and to make comparisons between their first language and culture and the ASL language and culture. In addition, students make connections to other fields of study unavailable to them through their native language. Finally, students have the opportunity to engage with the Deaf community outside of the classroom.

The goal of the basic ASL sequence therefore is to produce students with an observable and definable degree of language proficiency. These courses are PARTICIPATORY courses. In order to learn a foreign language, one must use a foreign language. Students who participate fully by regularly attending class, completing assignments, viewing the text book DVDs and where applicable, completing selections from assigned readings should find the courses more enjoyable, learn from their mistakes and see their work improve.

NOTE: The Department highly recommends that students complete the sequence in continuous semesters. Historically, students perform poorly when they allow a lapse of time between courses.

Curriculum Description:

Each of these three courses has two principle components: a) the activities and exercises from VISTA : Signing Naturally (used in the classroom and assigned as homework); and b) a signed video series (viewed outside the classroom). In addition, direct contact experiences in the D/deaf community are required at each level to enhance language acquisition and cultural awareness.  Students are required to attend ASL conversation & recitation hours during the semester.  These sessions are held in the Tutoring Center.  10% of the course grade is based on work completed in the conversation & recitation hours.

In the classroom, students are expected to PARTICIPATE in a variety of signed activities. By working through these activities, students will begin to understand and use the basic vocabulary and grammar of American Sign Language (ASL). Homework will be assigned which will facilitate language use in the classroom. Students are expected to study the grammar sections in the student text and practice the related exercises beforehand so that they can bring their questions and doubts to class and effectively participate in the different class activities.  Grammar explanations will be held to a strict minimum. STUDENTS WHO DO NOT COMPLETE THE HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS ARE GENERALLY QUITE CONFUSED AND FRUSTRATED IN THE CLASSROOM.

The video component of the program will be viewed outside of class. Students then complete the written assignment that accompanies each video selection. The video supports the vocabulary and grammatical structures, which are the focus of class work. The language models in the videotape are all Deaf, native users of ASL. The videotape is included with the purchase of the textbook and can be viewed on personal videotape machines. IT IS THE STUDENTS’ RESPONSIBILITY TO VIEW EACH VIDEO SELECTION BEFORE CLASS. In class students will be expected to have familiarity with the material presented on the DVD. Students will most likely not understand everything on the DVD and should therefore be prepared for multiple, careful viewings and use the visual cues to aid in comprehension.

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