• Gathering the perspectives of individuals with American sign language (ASL) as a First language (L1) on their English language acquisition

      Slegaitis, Erin (State University of New York College at Fredonia, 2018-05)
      To continue to improve best practice for education, we must continue to research and improve our understanding of educational methodologies and the students who we work with. One way that we continue to improve is by seeking to identify perspectives which are either underrepresented or where there is a gap in the known research. Students who have American Sign Language (ASL) as a first language (L1) fall into that category regarding the lack of prevalent research into their unique language learning needs. Therefore, this study aims to give a voice to the perspectives of those who have ASL as an L1 on their English language acquisition experiences. The perspectives were gathered through an online survey which identified several key factors in the language acquisition experience. There were 7 participants in this study 3 who were deaf and 4 who were Children of Deaf Adult(s) (CODA)s. They share the characteristic of having ASL as a first language and their experiences provided insight into what made learning English a positive experience and where improvements may need to be made. Results showed that there might be positive correlations between an individual's self-efficacy, teacher efficacy, use of the L1 in the classroom, and direct English language instruction on the positive experience of acquiring English for individuals with ASL as an L1. Research must continue in these areas to determine the underlining features which contributed to these results and to add more information to the base of knowledge on English language acquisition for individuals with ASL as an L1. [from author's abstract]