Offer sign language as a foreign language at your school and educate young people about hearing loss!
Elementary and secondary schools often offer foreign language classes to students. There are many benefits to learning a second language. Studying a foreign language can benefit academic progress in other subjects, promote cultural awareness, and enhance cognitive development. Why not offer sign language as a foreign language at your school or university? Students could gain all of the benefits associated with learning a second language while learning more about what it is like to live with a profound hearing loss. As you teach sign language, one could integrate educational materials about hearing loss and deaf culture into the curriculum. You could reach out to nonprofit organizations or local hearing clinics to obtain this information.
In 2011, the city of Raanana, Israel, announced that all city schools would begin to teach sign language. Town officials remarked that adding sign language to the school curriculum would help all students gain another form of communication and improve their communication skills. The announcement coincided with a conference to honor National Hearing Day. During the week-long celebration, free hearing tests and lectures about hearing damage, accessibility problems and solutions occurred throughout Israel.
Teaching sign language in school would instantly increase the status of sign language among young children and adults. Students would grow up in a world where sign language is just as natural and normal as any other foreign language, like English, Spanish, French, etc. Adding sign language classes could go a long way to change social norms about sign language and help educate young people about hearing loss.