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A Note on Organization

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    You will notice that I tend to favor the Socratic method of teaching: a lesson, followed by practices and questions for consideration. This is done to stimulate introspection and engage our mindful muscles which are foremost in skill development and embodying the full spectrum of American Sign Language. You will see these questions included in “Mindful Practices.”

    For years I mulled the idea of offering a text on fingerspelling, asking myself the question—what can I offer that is not already circulating? The answer is an intuitive and mindful approach which has served me in my own professional development. You will see exercises in this book which focus on settling the heart and mind of the student so you can begin the best practice session of your learning career. There are also plenty of fingerspelling related exercises what I have coined “Restricted Sets.” Restricted Sets correlate with the lessons and are words that you will see commonly fingerspelled. It’s been a pet-peeve of mine to see much fingerspelling course material using words that are not commonly fingerspelled, meaning you will rarely if ever see these words coming off someone’s hand or need to produce the word yourself. Certain combinations of English words are perhaps helpful in developing rhythm, speed, and flow but this can also be accomplished by using words that your average signer will see and experience as a fingerspelled word. Terminology is often fingerspelled, however, that is not the focus of this writing. All the Restricted Sets you see in this book are applicable in the real world of ASL communication and fingerspelling.

    Please enjoy these lessons and the hopeful result of learning about yourself, your skill sets, and ways to explore with compassionate and fearlessness the improvement of your ASL work.

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