Journal Article

Motivational Factors in Learning American Sign Language

Harry G. Lang, Susan Foster, Donna Gustina, Gary Mowl and Yufang Liu

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 1, issue 3, pages 202-212
Published in print January 1996 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online January 1996 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.deafed.a014295
Motivational Factors in Learning American Sign Language

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This study focuses on factors that motivate and demotivate professionals to learn American Sign Language (ASL). Using a qualitative approach known as the Critical Incident Technique (CIT), faculty and staff were asked to reflect on their sign language learning experiences, and their responses were examined for motivational patterns. Principal motivating factors were intrinsic in nature, including a desire to perform well in one's position, personal goals, and an interest in sign language per se. Integrative factors were also important, especially an interest in social interactions with deaf people. Principal factors that demotivated the respondents were more extrinsic in nature, dealing with workload, scheduling, issues associated with the sign language curriculum, instruction, and the attitudes of self and others. We draw implications from the findings for the enhancement of sign language instruction programs.

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Subjects: Education ; Linguistics ; Teaching of Specific Groups and Special Educational Needs

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