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Teaching Philosophy

Chris Johnson.jpg

As a former American Sign Language (ASL) professor at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in Duluth, Minnesota, adjunct professor for the Black Deaf Culture and History course at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and a current ASL instructor at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland, I often integrated three teaching methods throughout my in-person or online synchronous classroom instruction which are 1) Student-Center Learning, 2) Cooperative Language Learning, and 3) Natural Approach. By doing so, I aimed to broaden students' understanding of global issues and nurture a sense of cultural competence through students’ diverse perspectives in the curriculum. My goal as a professor is to incorporate the Informed Eclectic Approach to classroom management which is imperative to a healthy academic environment — and includes traditional design, horseshoe design, and group/pair pods design. “Dorsality Theory,” widely known for deaf space, was invented by Robert Sirvage (Saj, 2017). Applying both theory and classroom management will display a positive vibe and lack of tension in the academic environment for students.  

Video description: the narrator is a bald-headed African-American gentleman with a white dress shirt along with a slim-fit black tie. Behind the narrator is a grey background. The narrator signs,


            My name is Chris Johnson, CJ. My goal as a professor will consist of American Sign Language Teaching Association (ASLTA) certification as well as an Informed Eclectic Approach. The informed Eclectic Approach allows professors to select a variety type of teaching methods depending on students’ needs. My certification in ASLTA which will apply to classroom management is imperative to a healthy academic environment which includes traditional design, horseshoe design, and group/pair pods design. Dorsality Theory, well-known for deaf space was invented by Robert Sirvage (Saj, 2017). Applying both theory and classroom management will display a positive vibe and lack of tension in the academic environment. I envision myself teaching students in the classroom through three methods which are Student-Center Learning, Cooperative Language Learning, and Natural Approach.

            In the classroom, teaching the Student-Center Learning method would allow students to have some ownership with my support and feedback in completing their project and/or homework (Richards & Rodgers, 2014). This approach will fulfill the goal of allowing students to gain the opportunity to learn through their interests or hobbies as part of their classroom learning. In this setting, supporting students’ ideas individually or in groups sharing ideas will boost students’ confidence in completing their assignments and/or projects. 


             Cooperative Language Learning (CLL) method includes students in the classroom with groups in a non-competitive learning environment (Richards & Rodgers, 2014). Students’ improvement in expressive signing and reception will be recognized through frequent interaction between teacher and student. This academic setting suits well with group and/or pair design.

            Similarly, the Natural Approach provides authenticity in the targeted language such as American Sign Language (ASL) (Richards & Rodgers, 2014). Teaching ASL to students allows them to improve their competency at their own pace. Several strategies include the Affective filter and i + 1 Input Hypothesis learning.

            In conclusion, the American Council On The Teaching Of The Foreign Language (ACTFL) is another way to allow students to be successful. The goal of teaching ASL is to develop students’ ability to communicate creatively and improve their signing competency (Cokely, 2002). Students will gain confidence through public speaking via projects. Interacting in deaf events or being part of the ASL club will allow students to communicate comfortably without any hesitation. With that being said, they will have sufficient knowledge in Deaf Culture, and deaf experience to socialize freely.


The narrator concludes with a smile. The video fades to white. Black text appears.





Brown, H. D., & Lee, H. (2015). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. White Plains, NY: Pearson, Inc.


Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T.S. (2014). Approaches and methods in language teaching (3rd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


Cokely, D., & Baker, C. (2002). American sign language: A teachers resource text on curriculum, methods, and evaluation. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.


Saj, S. R. (2017, March 09). An insight from deafspace: Robert Sirvage: TEDxGallaudet. Retrieved from


Yale. (n.d.). Center for Teaching and Learning: Classroom Seating Arrangements. Retrieved from

Past Speaking Engagements

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