American Sign Language | Educational Psychology (2022)

American Sign Language

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Learn valuable communication skills and meet your language requirement

American Sign Language (ASL) is one of the fastest growing languages in the United States and is the indigenous language of the Deaf community. ASL is a natural, visual, non-spoken language with its own distinct grammatical structure. The shape, movement, and location of the hands, facial expressions and body are used to communicate with one another. ASL as a visual language, uses a different modality of communication compared to spoken languages.

Even better, ASL courses at the University of Minnesota can be used to fulfill your second language requirement.

ASL versus spoken languages

ASL has a rich, complex grammatical construction and is very different from English on every linguistic level from phonological to morphological and syntactical; Deaf culture is also different from English-speaking culture.

The modality of the language is different with ASL being a visual-spatial language. A fundamental component of speaking ASL is learning how to express and receive language in a visual and physical modality without the use of aural and oral channels.

In order to speak ASL coherently and accurately, it takes time to learn how to communicate spatially rather than relying on signs in linear-like sequences of spoken language. ASL’s pronunciation and grammatical features is dependent on simultaneous expression of hands, eyes, face with brows and mouth movements, and body while using space, depicting verbs, etc.

ASL and American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency levels for ASL 1-4

Discover a new community and culture

ASL as a sign language is not only a useful skill but it also helps you to gain a new perspective how human languages are governed. Studying ASL promotes cross-cultural understanding between both cultures and helps you to have a greater sense of understanding of the Deaf community and its distinguished tradition (e.g. Science, Literature, Film, Theater, Poetry, and Art). Learning ASL also opens possibilities of working with Deaf people in the community while expanding your personal horizons.

(Video) Vocabulary Builders in Sign Language: Psychology

Diversity and inclusion for students and the Deaf Community

The American Sign Language Program welcomes students from the state of Minnesota, around the country, and the world. Our ASL Program aims to create a learning culture that is inclusive for all. We embrace a belief that the learning community is enriched and enhanced by the dimensions of diversity and identity including, but not limited to: race, color, ethnicity and national origins, gender and gender identity, age, sexuality, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, age, culture, disability (physical and mental ability), political beliefs, and religious beliefs. All the dimensions of diversity our students and faculty bring to our ASL classes are viewed as a positive gain, strength, resource, and benefit. Everyone deserves to feel respected, included, safe, and challenged. Our work in evaluating and advancing the curriculum through racial lens in terms of promoting inclusion, equity, diversity, etc. is continuous and evolving. Read our full diversity statement.

Careers involving ASL

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for American Sign Language interpreters is expected to grow rapidly, driven by the increasing use of video relay services and video remote interpreting, which allow people to conduct online video calls and use an American sign language interpreter.

As more and more people learn ASL, the range of careers working with the ASL and Deaf community have expanded exponentially. Learning ASL as a second language opens unlimited opportunities and is helpful in choosing a career path in fields not limited to:

  • ASL interpreting
  • Business
  • Deaf culture
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Government
  • Health and medicine
  • Language specialist/assessment
  • Law
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Recreation/sports
  • Research
  • Science
  • Social Services: counseling, psychology, sociology
  • Speech hearing sciences
  • Technology
  • Theater

Getting started

ASL classes are offered online and in-person year-round, including May and summer terms, making it easier and faster for you to fulfill your language requirement. For example, you could take ASL 1 in the fall, ASL 2 in the spring, and ASL 3 and 4 over the summer.

Note: We offer a few sections of ASL 1 and 2 online (asynchronous) in addition to face-to-face formats. ASL 3 and 4 are in-person only.

View our spring 2023 class schedule

Students who have taken ASL courses in the past will need to complete a placement assessment. ASL courses at University of Minnesota may not be equivalent to classes you have taken at other schools. Free to University students (incoming and transfer students), the ASL Placement Assessment is conducted to document equivalency and to ensure that you are enrolled in the appropriate course level.

All placement exams are either held online via Zoom or on University Minnesota's St. Paul Campus at the following address:
University of Minnesota
240 Learning and Environmental Sciences (LES) building
1954 Buford Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55108

Students who have taken at least two semesters or one year of American Sign Language in high school or a first semester ASL course at the at the college/university level, or have had a lapse between classes, please take a moment to complete this questionaire. At the end of the questionnaire you will receive a link to self-schedule a date and time for your ASL placement assessment. If you do not see any available dates/times to schedule your assessment, please contact the ASL Program Coordinator at at and

*If you do not receive a link to the scheduling page, you will be advised to register for the beginning ASL course.

Course descriptions

American Sign language (ASL) course descriptions

ASL and ACTFL proficiency levels for ASL 1-4 to American Sign Language (ASL) course descriptions and American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Proficiency Levels for ASL 1-4.

Transfer credits

Talk to your advisor about the number of language credits your program requires. ASL credits are transferable from other accredited colleges and universities. For more information regarding the transfer of credits and credits by special examination, visit our FAQ page or contact the ASL Program.

Enrolled in a course?

Visit our current students resource page for more information.

Tech recommendations

Our online and face-to-face courses require:

  • A hard wired, high speed internet connection to access videos, quizzes, and exams and view and submit files in Canvas
  • Laptop, tablet with a HD camera or webcam to play or record video assignments. Your device should be able to play and record videos (e.g., MP4, QuickTime) and open PDF files.
  • Access to PowerPoint, Keynote Presentation, Pages, and MS Word

Note: Some assignments will require you to use a DVD player. If your device(s) do not have a DVD drive, you may watch these at a campus library.

(Video) Learn 3 BSL signs-Psychology, Psychiatrist, Therapy [subtitles available]

Related programs

Special education degree and licensure programs. Get your bachelor’s or master’s in special education, and you’ll also earn your Academic Behavioral Strategist Licensure (ABS). Once you have your ABS, you'll be qualified to pursue a license in deaf and hard of hearing education.

Connect with other students

Our students love the ASL program because of its ties to the Deaf Community and Culture, and many just enjoy signing! To learn more about how our students get involved, visit the ASL Club page or like us on Facebook.

ASL resources in the Deaf Community

Community members and educators: Get more information on ASL resources available in the community.

Visit the Minnesota Department of Education's website for further information on resources available in the ASL/Deaf community.

(Video) Your body language may shape who you are | Amy Cuddy

Instructional staff

American Sign Language | Educational Psychology (1)

Jonathan C. Penny Program coordinator


Phone/VP: 651-964-1433

American Sign Language | Educational Psychology (2)


Phone/VP: 612-284-961

American Sign Language | Educational Psychology (4)


Phone/VP: 952-388-2159

(Video) 14 Body Language Signs Someone Secretly Likes You (Psychology)

American Sign Language | Educational Psychology (5)


American Sign Language | Educational Psychology (6)


American Sign Language | Educational Psychology (7)


American Sign Language | Educational Psychology (8)

Sara BurringtonOffice Staff

Phone/VP: 612-624-1274

(Video) Bill Burr OBLIDERATES Bully in Psychological Battle 😲- Body Language Drama


What is the American Sign Language sign for psychology? ›

American Sign Language: "psychology"

Memory aid: Imagine you are holding someone's brain in your non-dominant hand. Make sure your palm is facing outward. Then take your rather large, imposing knife and "hack into" that persons brain.

What are the benefits of learning American Sign Language? ›

5 of the most powerful benefits of learning sign language
  • Stronger bond between parents and infants. ...
  • Improved spatial reasoning. ...
  • Enhanced ability to interpret body language. ...
  • Better reaction times and peripheral vision. ...
  • Long-term cognitive benefits of learning sign language.
19 Jan 2022

What is ASL in education? ›

Learning American Sign Language (ASL) takes time, patience, practice, and a sense of humor. If you are a parent of a newly-identified child who is deaf or hard of hearing, you can request ASL instruction from your child's early intervention system.

What are cognitive benefits of ASL? ›

It enriches and enhances children's cognitive processes, leading to higher abstract and creative thinking, better problem-solving skills, greater cognitive flexibility, better listening skills, greater academic achievement, and much more. It also promotes cultural awareness, literacy, and other intellectual benefits.

What are the 5 elements of ASL? ›

In American Sign Language (ASL), we use the 5 Parameters of ASL to describe how a sign behaves within the signer's space. The parameters are handshape, palm orientation, movement, location, and expression/non-manual signals.

What does the symbol of psychology represent? ›

The symbol for psychology represents the penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, psi, which is also the first letter of the Greek word psuche, meaning mind or soul, from which the term psyche arose; which in turn gave us the name of the discipline psychology which is most commonly defined as study of the mind.

What is the purpose of American Sign Language? ›

ASL is expressed by movements of the hands and face. It is the primary language of many North Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing and is used by some hearing people as well.

What are 5 interesting facts about sign language? ›

Five Interesting Facts Most People Don't Know About Sign Language
  • It's the fourth most used language in the UK. ...
  • Different countries have their own versions of sign language. ...
  • Sign language uses more than just hand gestures. ...
  • Many deaf people have 'name signs' ...
  • Sign language isn't as difficult to learn as it looks.
23 Sept 2021

What are the strengths of sign language? ›

Improves small motor skills – Sign language helps to develop small motor skills because of the dexterity required for communicating with hand gestures. Those who struggle with small muscle strength and coordination can build these skills as well as learn to communicate more efficiently with another language. 4.

What are the four strategies for learning ASL? ›

Strategies for Learning ASL
  • Focus on the signer's face, not on their hands!
  • Strategies for Learning.
  • Focus on meaning rather than individual signs.
  • Leave English, and your voice, outside the classroom!
  • Building a Langauge Community.
  • Show that you understand the signer.

What are the 3 types of ASL? ›

There are three major forms of Sign Language currently used in the United States: American Sign (ASL), Pidgin Signed English (PSE), and Signed Exact English (SEE). ASL is used by many deaf in the United States, thus its use promotes assimilation into the Deaf Community.

What is the importance of language in cognitive psychology? ›

In cognitive psychology, language plays an essential role in understanding the cognitive processes of any given person. Its importance is easy to recognize when looking at thinking and interactions with the help of different psychological approaches.

What were two major influences of ASL? ›

Two major historical influences ASL traces back to: 1600s Martha's Vineyard community and French Sign Language (Laurent Clerc and Thomas Gallaudet). In the 1960s, linguists discovered that ASL is a fully developed independent language from English.

What is the main importance of language learning how does language affect cognition? ›

Similar to the effect of physical exercise on our muscles, learning a language makes the brain function better by improving connections among its various parts, which can result in honing overall decision-making ability and boosting our ability to learn in any subject.

What are the 5 strategies of learning ASL? ›

  • What are the 5 strategies for learning ASL. -Build a language community. ...
  • Build a language community. Don't miss class.
  • Minimize reliance on English. Leave your voice outside the door.
  • Focus on meaning rather than individual signs. ...
  • Focus on signers face, not on the hands. ...
  • Show you understand the signer.

What are the 8 types of classifiers in ASL? ›

According to the Signing Naturally (2014) curriculum, published by Dawn Sign Press, there are eight:
  • Semantic Classifier,
  • Descriptive Classifier,
  • Instrument Classifier,
  • Element Classifiers,
  • Locative Classifier,
  • Body Classifier,
  • Body Part Classifier, and.
  • Plural Classifier.

What are the 3 parts in ASL stories? ›

(as discussed in ASL 1)
  • Introduction – this states the topic and creates the context for the information to follow.
  • Body – this can include a series of events, or just one event.
  • Conclusion – this can be a summary or an evaluation of what was stated.
15 Feb 2021

What colors represents psychology? ›

Color Psychology as Therapy
  • Red is used to stimulate the body and mind and to increase circulation.
  • Yellow is thought to stimulate the nerves and purify the body.
  • Orange is used to heal the lungs and to increase energy levels.
  • Blue is believed to soothe illnesses and treat pain.
28 May 2020

What are the 4 goals of psychology? ›

To sum up, psychology is centered on four major goals: to describe, explain, predict, and change or control behaviors. These goals are the foundation of most theories and studies in an attempt to understand the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral processes that people face in their daily lives.

What does butterfly mean in psychology? ›

the tendency of a complex, dynamic system to be sensitive to initial conditions, so that over time a small cause may have large, unpredictable effects (see sensitive dependence).

What is sign language and why is it important? ›

Sign language is the bridge that connects us to the world of those who have an impaired hearing; or verbal ability. An array of gestures made using hands, fingers, arms, head and also facial expressions; which also helps the deaf and dump to communicate with the people around them and vice versa.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of sign language? ›

Establishing Communication

Sign language allows deaf and hard of hearing people to communicate quickly and effectively with others who use sign language, or who "sign." Most deaf people use a combination of sign language, lip-reading and written communication to go about their daily lives.

Why sign language is so important for all its speakers? ›

Helps you communicate with everyone

Learning the skill of sign language shows the deaf community that they are not being forgotten and that they have the same access to communication with the rest of the world as anyone else. After all, everyone has the right to be heard and express themselves.

What is the most important sign language? ›

American Sign language (ASL) is growing in popularity and its the primary language of the Deaf and Hard of hearing in the USA. Its popularity has also expanded to other countries around the world.

Does sign language increase IQ? ›

Signers showed IQ's 12 points higher than the non-signers, even though they had long since stopped signing. This put the signers in the top 25% of eight year olds, compared to the non-signers, who were close to average2.

What type of skill is sign language? ›

Sign language is also a career skill. As a career skill, it is used to translate and communicate. Here are also some career areas for sign language from education, government, health, interpreting, recreation, social services, teaching and therapy.

What is the importance of sign communication? ›

Sign languages are an extremely important communication tool for many deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Sign languages are the native languages of the Deaf community and provide full access to communication.

How does sign language affect the brain? ›

The processing of sign language showed stronger activation in both occipital lobes, both posterior temporal lobes, and in the thalamus bilaterally. It also showed strong activation particularly in structures in the right hemisphere: the superior temporal sulcus, the fusiform gyrus, and the inferior frontal gyrus.

How can the use of signs be beneficial in teaching your students? ›

Teachers are using sign language to:

Assist students in literacy development of phonics, reading, and spelling. Assist students in speech development. Assist students in language development. Promote positive peer to peer communication and interactions.

What are the three main characteristics of a classifier in ASL? ›

Classifiers can be used to: * describe the size and shape of an object. * represent the object itself. * demonstrate how the object moves.

What is the most important background knowledge to have when learning ASL? ›

It is vital to learn the ASL alphabet when you start out with American Sign Language. Knowing the alphabet will give you the skill to sign any word. So, if you forget a sign you can simply spell it. To become better at fingerspelling, try to spell objects you see around yourself like C-O-M-P-U-T-E-R or T-R-E-E.

What is the hardest part about learning ASL? ›

One of the challenges people face when learning American sign language (ASL) is that it requires them to stop "thinking straight English" and rely on abstraction and other skills to communicate both dynamically and accurately.

What is the most important of the 5 parameters in ASL? ›

The five parameters are handshape, palm orientation, location, movement, and non-manual signals. Knowing and accurately using the five parameters is crucial. Precision is incredibly important in ASL because it affects meaning and impacts comprehension.

What is the best way to study ASL? ›

  1. Take a sign language class. ...
  2. Learn online by watching videos. ...
  3. Join a sign language group, deaf club or visit a deaf café ...
  4. Take an online course. ...
  5. Hire a private, qualified sign language tutor. ...
  6. Watch and mimic interpreters. ...
  7. Ask your Deaf friends and family teach you. ...
  8. Use an App.
1 Jun 2020

What are the 4 verb types in ASL? ›

Verbs in ASL come in three types: plain, inflecting, and spatial.

What are the 6 forms of ASL literature? ›

Here are the six (6) major forms of Literature of ASL.
  • ASL poetry.
  • Classifier stories.
  • Handshape Rhymes.
  • ABC stories.
  • Number stories.

What part of the brain is used for ASL? ›

The researchers found that especially the so-called Broca's area in the frontal brain of the left hemisphere is one of the regions that was involved in the processing of sign language in almost every study evaluated.

How is language connected to psychology? ›

Language may not determine thought, but it focuses perception and attention on particular aspects of reality, structures and thereby enhances cognitive processes, and even to some extent regulates social relationships.

What are the three components of language psychology? ›

There are three major components of language. These components are form, content, and use. Form involves three sub-components of syntax, morphology, and phonology. Content is also known as semantics and use is also known as pragmatics.

What is the impact of language in psychology? ›

Language does not completely determine our thoughts—our thoughts are far too flexible for that—but habitual uses of language can influence our habit of thought and action. For instance, some linguistic practice seems to be associated even with cultural values and social institution. Pronoun drop is the case in point.

What's the most important aspect of learning ASL? ›

While the most important reason to learn ASL is, of course, the ability to communicate without using words, a growing body of research shows that the benefits of learning how to sign go well beyond this. So let's take a look at some of the other benefits of learning sign language.

What are the 5 components of ASL? ›

In American Sign Language (ASL), we use the 5 Parameters of ASL to describe how a sign behaves within the signer's space. The parameters are handshape, palm orientation, movement, location, and expression/non-manual signals.

How does ASL improve communication? ›

Research shows that sign language speeds up speech development, reduces frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves before they know how to talk, increases parent-child bonding, and lets babies communicate vital information, such as if they are hurt or hungry.

What is the role of language in Piaget theory? ›

The Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget placed acquisition of language within the context of a child's mental or cognitive development. He argued that a child has to understand a concept before s/he can acquire the particular language form which expresses that concept.

What is the relationship between language and cognitive functioning? ›

When viewed language and mind as a whole system, it is evident that the functions of language are part of the brain system at the same time as being involved in the workings of the mind. Moreover, information is exchanged between language and each of perception, memory, and consciousness in both directions.

What part of the brain controls learning a new language? ›

The main parts of the brain involved in language processes are the Broca's area, located in the left frontal lobe, which is responsible for speech production and articulation, and the Wernicke's area, in the left temporal lobe, associated with language development and comprehension.

What is the symbol for doctor of psychology? ›

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

How do psychologists sign their name? ›

PhD/PsyD: Psychologists generally have PhD or PsyD after their name; both are doctoral degrees, and both practitioner types are referred to as “Dr.

What does 🤟 mean is sign language? ›

What does 🤟 I Love You Gesture emoji mean? A universal emoji! Or … is it? The love-you gesture or I love you hand sign emoji is the American Sign Language gesture for “I love you,” showing a hand with a raised index finger and pinky (little) finger and an extended thumb.

What is the sign language for brain? ›

American Sign Language: "brain"

The sign for brain is done by tapping your forehead twice with the tip of your index finger. You can say that someone is very smart by calling him or her "big brained" by holding an tight "C" hand near your forehead and then quickly expanding it into a large, loose, C-hand.

Do psychologists get a Dr title? ›

No you can not be called a doctor as clinical psychologists are people who have earned a master's degree in clinical psychology. Those with a Master's degree in psychology, cannot use the title "Dr" until they have a Doctorate.

Is a psychologist an M.D. or PhD? ›

Psychologists go from their undergraduate studies to graduate school and continue on to doctoral level training. They do not complete medical school. Within psychology, students can pursue a PhD or a PsyD. A PsyD has a stronger focus on clinical training, whereas a PhD puts more emphasis on research.

Is a PhD in psychology called a Doctor? ›

"Psychologists earn PhDs, and AP style allows the 'Dr. ' title only for those with medical degrees. They are identified in our stories as psychologists, so there should be no misunderstanding by the public.

Can a psychologist put Dr in front of name? ›

They or those with a Master's in psychology cannot carry the title of a "Dr" unless they have a qualification of a Doctorate. 6. Additionally,a person who has no MPhil in Clinical Psychology but has a Phd. cannot practice as a clinical psychologist in India.

What is a nickname for a psychologist? ›

What is another word for psychologist?
main mantipster
spiritual leadersupporter
31 more rows

What do psychologists write in their notes? ›

Clinicians often use a template for their progress notes, such as the DAP or SOAP format. Notes in the DAP—data, assessment, and plan—format typically include data about the individual and their presentation in the session, the therapist's assessment of the issues and progress, and a plan for future sessions.

What does 😺 mean from a girl? ›

🍑 - butt. 🐱 emoji of any kind - female privates. 👅 - oral sex. ✌️- Pimp Control. 16 - Pimp.

What does ✌ mean from a girl? ›

The victory hand emoji also has its naughtier side. Some people use it to represent masturbating a woman (“fingering”).

What are the 3 C's for sign language? ›

8) Recognize ASL numbers and fingerspelling in the context presented using the strategy known as the 3 Cs: Context, Configuration and Closure, “closure” as well as other receptive concepts.

Does sign language improve memory? ›

Comment: People proficient in sign language seem better able to remember unnameable objects than people who don't know how to sign, according to a study in the January issue of Neuropsychology (Vol. 21, No.

How does the brain process American Sign Language? ›

The researchers found that especially the so-called Broca's area in the frontal brain of the left hemisphere is one of the regions that was involved in the processing of sign language in almost every study evaluated.


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