Larry Stephen talks with his hands and his American Sign Language (ASL) students do too.
Professor Stephen, who is Deaf, has been teaching Elementary and Intermediate ASL since 2004 and at Northern Essex since 2008.
ASL, according to Professor Stephen, is one of the top five languages taught at colleges and universities. His assessment is confirmed by the Modern Language Association, which placed ASL in fourth place, behind Spanish, French, and German and in front of Italian.
“ASL is a fully developed, autonomous language,” according to Professor Stephen, who says his students include those who are taking ASL as a language elective as well as those who are enrolled in the college’s Deaf Studies programs.
He is proud to be a member of the Deaf Studies faculty at Northern Essex as it is one of the three top college destinations in the New England region for students who want to be ASL/spoken English interpreters.
His own experiences within the vibrated Deaf community and audism, which is Deaf oppression, influenced his decision to become an ASL professor.
Professor Stephen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from California State University Northridge, and a Master of Science in Deaf Education from McDaniel College.
“NECC has historically offered a robust program that builds a strong foundation for Deaf Studies majors,” he notes. And that, he thinks, is exciting.
In the classroom, he is a proponent of the high standards of the American Sign Language Teacher Association (ASLTA) as well as McDaniel College’s hands on activities which engage students to grow their ASL receptive and expressive skills.
Outside the classroom he is proud to be involved in various Deaf community events and organizations at the state, regional, national, and international levels.