Under the Knife: GODA teaches the signs of the times

Geneseo Organization for Deaf Awareness is an organization on campus that teaches students American Sign Language.

The teachers - all Geneseo students - offer classes throughout the week that last an hour. There are three levels of classes, from ASL-I through conversational sign language.

To become a teacher, one must be a part of GODA and have some experience signing. GODA also offers teaching courses for those interested.

"I took the first two sign language classes freshman year through GODA, and found myself incredibly interested in the class," said sophomore Caylin Clark. "I would spend a lot of time each week practicing. My friend took all the sign language classes offered at her previous school, so we decided to teach a class together. I was also asked by another friend from my first semester signs class to teach with her, so I taught two classes last semester."

GODA hosts special events each semester, such as Drama Night. During this event, the organization has songs that they sign and sometimes, they put on skits to go with it.

"An observer can see anyone from elementary students, who are absolutely adorable, to Signs 3 students, who are very skilled at signing," stated Clark. "Usually, there are also either teachers or a professional that comes in and signs something very hard. Last year, two teachers signed 'It's The End of the World as We Know It.' It was really awesome!"

The classes that GODA offers are very helpful, especially for students who are in education or special education, and if they have to deal with students who may be deaf or students who communicate through signing. However, anyone can take the class and it is a relaxed, fun way to learn ASL. Those interested usually sign up either on their Web site or at the Student Organization Expos that occur each semester. A lot of the time, the teachers have fun activities and fun ways for the students to learn.

"GODA was a really fun experience," said junior Jennifer Prato. "I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about sign language. I had always wanted to know more about it and this was a great opportunity for me to learn more signs."