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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 free TCNJ ASL placement test to determine which level class is appropriate for them. Placement tests are an in-person assessment given by appointment two times per year. Appointments for the test will be during the first full week of June or in December. To register, email Dr. Singer ( and tell him where you learned ASL or if you have heritage knowledge. Also tell him what your major at TCNJ is or will be and your PAWS ID number. Shortly before the test, Dr. Singer will email you with appointment options.

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 Conversation Hour Leaders

Are you searching for ways to use American Sign Language more frequently? Are you interested in interacting with your peers in a classroom setting? Apply today to become a Conversation Hour Leader!

Distinctive signature experiences are the hallmark of excellence at The College of New Jersey. Faculty and staff work closely with students to enhance their intellectual curiosity as well as their professional, technical, and artistic skills. Leading ASL Conversation Hours is a Signature Experience that promotes leadership and high academic standards in the CH Leaders. Simultaneously, students who hold these positions refine their own ASL skills and approaches to instruction through collaborative work with other CH Leaders and ongoing mentorship from faculty.

We welcome you to apply. The application process is outlined below. If there are any questions, feel free to reach out.

CH leaders are a select group of students and as such, we are looking for students with the following characteristics:

  • Team player

  • Friendly and outgoing personality

  • High academic achievement (minimum 3.0 GPA)

  • Strong ASL skills (minimum grade of A in all ASL classes taken)

  • Good communication skills

  • Creativity

  • Attention to detail/record-keeping

Application process:

For Fall ‘22 Employment: Must be completed by April 19, 2022.

  1. Click this link for an initial application via Google Form.
  2. Request completion of two Confidential Recommendation Forms. One can be from any TCNJ professor. The other one must be from one of your ASL teachers. New transfer students may apply as well. They must provide two faculty recommendations from any TCNJ professors. Click for recommendation form.
  3. Submit an unofficial copy of your TCNJ transcript to
  4. Sign up for an interview slot the week of April 17th or April 24th.  Email if you need an alternate time. Note: Come to the interview with a sample activity that you would use in a CH. You do not need to create materials but must be ready to guide the interviewer through the activity. You will also be asked to detail how an item could be used for an activity during a Conversation Hour session.

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.

2-4th edition of For Hearing People Only

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.)

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.)

2-Bauman, H., Rose, H., Nelson, J. (Eds). (2006). Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature. University of California Press. Berkeley, California.


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 DVD 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. 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 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 DVD component of the program will be viewed outside of class. Students then complete the written assignment that accompanies each DVD selection. The DVD supports the vocabulary and grammatical structures, which are the focus of class work. The language models in the DVD are all Deaf, native users of ASL. The DVD is included with the purchase of the textbook and can be viewed on personal computers. IT IS THE STUDENTS’ RESPONSIBILITY TO VIEW EACH DVD 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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