New language learning

Sign language has become a regular part of many lives throughout the years, giving communities an opportunity to communicate with more of their peers.


Sign language in schools is a growing cause because of its increasing benefits for students. American sign language (ASL) has a grammar that contrasts with English but can be compared to the expressive properties of spoken languages.

By moving their hands and faces, ASL speakers are able to communicate with others that are deaf or hard of hearing. Similar to spoken languages, ASL has differences in the rhythm of signing, pronunciation, slang, and signs used depending on the age and part of the country that the speaker is from.

Many children that can speak sign language learn it due to the child or their parent being deaf. ASL encourages awareness in the deaf and hard of hearing community by giving speakers understanding and appreciation. 

ASL being taught in schools has multiple benefits that broaden student’s understanding of those who are hard of hearing. More of the population speaking sign language brings a comfortable public environment that can create easier communication in case of an emergency. 

The communication gap between students that are hearing impaired and other students could be decreased as they learn to communicate with each other in new ways. ASL is the fourth most used language in the U.S., helping deaf individuals communicate with others in a respectful way. 

Bismarck High School has offered students Spanish, French, German, and other languages for quite some time. For the 2023-2024 school year, Sign language is an offered class at BHS as well. This language is a valuable form of speech that should have a chance to be understood just like spoken languages are. Sign language being one of the most spoken languages in the United States gives a good reason for it to be taught in school as it is growing in popularity.

According to the Bismarck high school 2023-2024 course guide, the class will focus on teaching students expressive and receptive signing skills. American Sign Language as a class will teach students the culture and history of the deaf community. 

A slight problem in the plan for this nonverbal form of communication being taught in schools is a lack of interest in the language by some students. This language can be shown to be an interesting way to learn more about those around the world, and share more conversations with others. 

Learning sign language can benefit students’ language and reasoning skills in the long run. Students that know sign language have stronger and larger vocabulary skills. Keeping an open mind about this language helps all students build relationships and bonds with more of their community.