GLASGOW — Instructor Logan Brooks stood at the head of the class and made gestures with her hands Monday morning at the Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library.
Her students, who ranged in age from young children to mature adults, observed Brooks and then made hand gestures of their own.
Although they weren’t verbally speaking with each other, they were having a conversation using American Sign Language.
Brooks, a teacher for the deaf and hard-of-hearing for the Barren County and Glasgow Independent school systems, has been teaching an ASL class over the past several weeks, and will conclude the six-session course next Monday.
The students have been learning “mostly just conversation skills just to try to get some basic knowledge of the signs so that they can facilitate those conversations if necessary,” Brooks said. “And to practice those basic things.”
Brooks has previously taught ASL courses at the library, and said that she has been very impressed with this group of students.
“We’ve kind of gone faster than some sessions that I’ve done in the past,” she said. “So this has been a fun group just because they’ve been really motivated and they practice at home so we can move faster.”
Learning ASL has many benefits, Brooks said.
“It’s a second language, so it opens that window of knowledge that you have,” she said. “It just helps with a lot of things — visuals and the language — but then also whenever you go out and you meet a deaf person that only communicates through sign, it’s good to be able to work with them and talk with them and make them feel special, too.”
During the class, Brooks would demonstrate and explain new signs and her students would try to mimic her movements. They would then pair off into small groups to practice the signs as their instructor walked around to give personalized instruction, helping her students as needed.
Grace Daniels, 13, said she has really enjoyed “everything” about this class and now feels comfortable using basic signs. Daniels added that this is her first experience with ASL and that she has been interested in learning it “ever since I was little.”
Avery Chapman, 10, said she liked getting to meet new people through this class and that she has learned how to have a conversation with others using ASL.
There was a lot of demand from community members to offer this class, said Amy Tollison, adult services manager at the library.
“It’s really popular,” she said. “People ask about it all the time.
“We’ve been doing it for awhile. We had to skip last summer. Logan was not available, and I tried to find another teacher, but I was not successful.
“So we’re back this year and you could see the crowd that has crowded into this room, so I think it’s good for people to be aware of the deaf community and other cultures — as Logan was saying, it’s another language, and it’s good to have that, even if you can’t remember everything. Maybe you can remember a little something.”