Well believe it or not, the time has come and the end of the semester is here. With that, it is also the end of the Independent Learning Projects. So now I get to spend some time reflecting on my time with this project to share with you wonderful people a self analysis of my time. So, here we go.
As you know I decided to learn ASL or American Sign Language for those that hate acronyms. I started my ILP with a basic knowledge of ASL. I knew the alphabet, minus a couple tricky letters that I just made up each time I needed them, and I knew some basic words. My goal was to become more fluent in it so that I could actually use it in my classroom and even teach it to my students to open up more avenues of communication. I do not feel I achieved that goal but, I would not say I was unsuccessful. I have developed a decent list of words that I now know, along with the colors, body parts, a couple songs and I no longer have to make up those couple alphabet letters. So I am not fluent, but I am also not done learning. So, I am hoping that in a couple years when I am in a classroom, I will be more fluent.
The thing is, this assignment was never about what we wanted to learn or if we mastered it or not. This assignment was about self discovery. To show ourselves we are capable of learning something new and getting us to step outside of the box and try to do something. It was about being accountable to ourselves because in the end, we are the only ones that really knew if we were doing out ILP or not.
So, what did I learn about myself? I learned that I am capable of learning a new language and that if something is important enough I will make time for it even if I think I have none to spare. Time, that seemed to be my biggest obstacle on this venture. Just like everyone, my schedule is packed, some of what it is packed with is important stuff that needs my attention and the rest is meaningless stuff that steals my attention. I had to learn what belonged where and make my “needs my attention” list a priority. At times I was on the ball and had no problem whipping out my hour or ILP but other weeks it was taxing and I just really did not want to. That is where the accountability came in. Lead by example right? Well, if I just chose not to do it, what was I teaching my daughter who was sitting in the same room not wanting to do her homework or how could I stand in front of my students in my future class and tell them the importance of doing their homework when I couldn’t be bothered with my own. Life is all about choices but those choices make who we are. I want to be successful so I need to make successful choices so I did my ILP. Even on the weeks we got a break from ILP, I decided to do it simply because losing a week did not seem productive to learning a new skill.
The best part of the project for me was knowing I was learning a skill that would help me teach my future students. Going into special education, it is very possible I will encounter a child that communicates by sign and to be able to talk to him/her myself without needing to have someone come in and communicate for me is very important to me. I want to become fluent in ASL so I can not only communicate with my students but so I can teach other students to communicate as well. ASL is a language that I think all people should learn.
Will I implement ILP in my classroom? I think so, I will need to modify it a bit to meet the needs of my student’s specifically but, I think there is great value in it. Overall I am happy that this was given as an assignment and I am really hoping I can keep moving forward on learning ASL.