Logo for CIT 2020 Conference - Transforming Interpreter Education

Effectiveness of Teaching & Application of Second Language Acquisition in the ASL Learning Environment for College Students

by Marla Broetz & Amelia Bowdell

Poster Session

Date | Time | Room

Return to 2020 Conference Schedule

Being bilingual is part and parcel to becoming an effective interpreter. To be considered bilingual, one must have Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) in two languages, which is a challenging goal for students before entering an Interpreter Education Program. Bilingualism in ASL and English is an ongoing learning process because the languages differ significantly.  Curriculum that utilizes evidence-based BICS, CALP, and second language acquisition theories can help students achieve bilingualism. Assessing students’ fluency in their L1 as well as in all working languages is paramount due to in part that any subsequent language fluency will be affected by challenged areas of L1 language skill. Utilizing theories can advance the language courses and assessments that influence instructors and students about the importance of bilingualism before attempting to develop interpreting skills. Research on language offerings accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education will be presented.

Participants will:

  • be able to define Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP).
  • be able to examine how second language acquisition theory can impact ASL curriculum.
  • be able to apply adult learning theories as it relates to teaching ASL language and interpreting courses.

A white woman with short brown hair wearing a blue and purple scarf smiles at the cameraDr. Marla Broetz currently works as an Assistant Professor at Keuka College in Keuka Park, NY where she currently teaches both ASL and interpreting courses. She has been teaching ASL and interpreting courses in the higher education setting since 1994. Marla earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership Management from Capella University. Her not yet published professional capstone is titled Using Reflection to Improve ASL Skills: A Toolbox for College Students. The learning tools include how to assess L1 and L2 both reflectively and productively. Her research interests include autobiography of learning experience, organizational learning system, learning processes of second-language students, and reflective-learning practice.

A white woman with blond hair wearing a black sleeveless blouse smiles at the cameraAmelia Bowdell works as a Visiting Instructor at the University of Cincinnati and ASL interpreter. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Sign Language Studies: ASL Interpreting, her first master’s degree related to teaching second language acquisition from Madonna University, and her second master’s degree in Interpreting Studies: Teaching Interpreting from Western Oregon University. She successfully defended and published her master’s thesis related to developing bilingualism in ASL and English using BICS, CALP and second language acquisition. Among other publications, she has also published a chapter in the 1st Open Education Resource (OER) book in the field of interpreting on the topic of “Interpreting English Grammar Classes: Theory, Tips, & Tools.” Amelia has been interpreting since 2005 and earned her NIC. Amelia has been teaching in higher education for more than ten years. Amelia’s research interests include but are not limited to bilingualism, second language acquisition, ASL linguistics, language assessment, and meaning transfer for interpreters. On a personal note, she enjoys spending time with her wonderfully supportive husband Jeffrey and their two dogs.