Monday, March 29, 2010

Sign Language Proficiency Interview

Today I took the SLPI -- the Sign Language Profiency Interview -- for the third time. As a condition of employment, I have to attain a rating of "intermediate" by the end of my third year.

Here are the ratings:

Able to discuss with some confidence routine social and work topics within a conversational format with some elaboration; generally 3-to-5 sentences. Good knowledge and control of everyday/basic sign language vocabulary with some sign vocabulary errors. Fairly clear signing at a moderate signing rate with some sign misproductions. Fair use of some sign language grammatical features and fairly good comprehension for a moderate-to-normal signing rate; a few repetitions and rephrasing of questions may be needed.
Survival Plus
Exhibits some intermediate level skills, but not all and not consistently.
Able to discuss basic social and work topics with responses generally 1-to-3 sentences in length. Some knowledge of basic sign language vocabulary with many sign vocabulary and/or sign production errors. Slow-to-moderate signing rate. Basic use of a few sign language grammatical features. Fair comprehension for signing produced at a slow-to-moderate rate with some repetition and rephrasing.
Novice Plus
Exhibits some survival level skills, but not all and not consistently.
Able to provide single sign and some short phrase/sentence responses to basic questions signed at a slow-to-moderate rate with frequent repetition and rephrasing. Vocabulary primarily related to everyday work and/or social areas such as basic work-related signs, family members, basic objects, colors, numbers, names of weekdays, and time. Production and fluency characterized by many sign production errors and by a slow rate with frequent inappropriate pauses/hesitations.
No Functional Skills
(May be) Able to provide short single sign and 'primarily' finger-spelled responses to some basic questions signed at a slow rate with extensive repetition and rephrasing.

My last rating was Novice plus I think -- but I am hoping to score in the Survival ratings this time. When I get nervous my fingerspelling gets horrible. Today, I spelled my name "Clari" -- what the heck!?! E and I aren't even similar! My tutor suggested that I be sure to use longer answers -- not brief answers -- and no one has to tell me to talk MORE twice! So hopefully that will help my score.

I do wish I had had the test after my morning class. I definately notice the need to warm up first. IS this something that happens when you learn other languages? At the beginning of the day, or the first person who sighns to me, I'm like all "Huh -- look -- he's signing" and don't get what he is telling me at all. After that, it seems to be less of a problem.

I won't see my results until the end of the quarter -- about the middle of May.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Social Media for You/Your Business/Your Cause

I seem to be having coffee with a growing number of people and giving them some advice on how to use social media to promote themselves, their small business or their favorite cause. So I am constantly out on the web, trolling for ideas.

This week I came across and article by Mark Hayward that included these pointers. His article included 30; I'm sifting out my favorites for your reading pleasure. If you want to read the entire thing (well worth it!), you can find it here.

3. When used properly, a small video camera like a Flip and a standard digital camera (or just an iPhone), can be like having your own marketing department.

4. Instead of trying to be everywhere in the social media space, determine what online activities work best for your business and focus your attention there.

5. Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is important but it needs to be combined with a well distributed plan for Search Engine Visibility (SEV).

6. Conceptualizing and then defining your social media goals can help to keep you on track.

8. Get to know the online influencers in your small business niche, as well as, the social media pros.

10. Uploading well titled and tagged videos to YouTube and photos to FLICKR can drastically improve your Search Engine Visibility.

12. Technology changes daily. Read often.

16. Spamming and jamming your business down the throats of potential customers only drives business away.

17. Not everyone is going to like you, so be prepared to get flamed and read negative reviews.

19. Your backstory matters and weaving it into your online business persona is important.

23. When starting your social media marketing efforts for your small business you will get frustrated. Try to keep a long term outlook like six months to a year.

24. Don’t discount the power of niche forums that are related to your small business.

26. If you are using social media as a customer service tool, when something goes wrong (and it always does!), being sincere, humble, and apologetic will be greatly appreciated by your future potential customers.

27. Utilizing free email lists like Help A Reporter Out (HARO) can help you find valuable public relations and news opportunities for your business.

28. Social media in the short term does not work. You must be in it for the long term and be persistent, consistent, and committed.

29. Anyone who owns a small business can ‘do’ social media, but NOT everyone ‘does’ it. (And that is your true competitive advantage.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Goodbye Ellie, Hello Future

It was a very sad and exciting and busy week for me this week.

My colleague Ellie Rosenfield died. Ellie was someone who lived with so much integrity and courage. I always felt supported and embraced, and could count on her for candid feedback. Ellie, we miss you so much!

I gave my first presentation in sign language with no interpreter! Wow. Please don't get the idea that I was good -- it was definitely a C- performance -- but I did it! I presented about my team at NTID's new Major Design Project campaign and how the changes we instituted last year had worked out. My audience was the other department chairs at NTID, and a more supportive and caring bunch never existed. Small steps, but real steps forward towards my goal of mastering ASL.

Finally, I met with Gerry Bateman, Chair of the MSSE department to talk about starting a Masters of Science in Special Ed. He encouraged me to apply, saying that I'd be good for the program and the program would be good for me. I will only have to do one student teaching stint instead of two since I already have a permanent teaching certificate in the state of New York. He also said I needed to be at an "intermediate" level in sign language by the time I graduated. That's fine, I have to be there in 15 months anyway as one of the terms of my employment at NTID.

Sometimes I feel like I am not pushing hard enough to move forward towards my goals and dreams. J says I am my worst critic. I am. I can seem my failings so clearly. So it feels good to be able to move forward, even if it is just a little bit.

Monday, March 08, 2010

And That, Boys and Girls, Is Karma