Welcome to Brandon R. Hill's Website!

About Me

Hello! My name is Brandon Hill. I was the third Deaf child born to a large family. Growing up, I lived in many different places, but ultimately attended and graduated from Minnesota State Academy of the Deaf.

After graduation, I decided to blend my love of art and computers. I attended Gallaudet University, in Washington, DC where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design. After working a number of years in that field, I was offered the opportunity to teach an American Sign Language (ASL) class. I quickly came to realize that I had a passion for teaching ASL. This passion led me to pursue a Master of Arts in Sign Language Teaching (MASLT) program from Gallaudet University.

I am currently teaching ASL classes at two universities and working as the Assistant Coordinator of the ASL Program at Brigham Young University.

During my time off, I enjoy snowboarding and playing basketball. I love to travel and have had the opportunity to see many beautiful places around the world.

I am happily married to a beautiful and amazing woman named Trish and we are expecting our second child this late summer.

Teaching Philosophy

I really enjoy stories in ASL, like the one I was just watching. You may have noticed recently that there has been more exposure to ASL and the Deaf community through television shows, movies, and friends and family of Deaf who use sign. Even some Deaf, themselves, have shown more enthusiasm towards ASL and how to educate others. My purpose is to explain how we can take ASL and teach it effectively to others, and I will explain this by sharing with you my teaching philosophy.

My teaching philosophy is a threefold approach consisting of the following:

1. The Natural Approach
2. Content-based Instruction, or for short, CBI
3. Notional-Functional Syllabus, or NFS

 

I believe that applying these three methods of teaching can greatly enhance students’ development of ASL. I will address each of these approaches in the following paragraphs.

The Natural Approach, which is one of Krashen’s theories, explains that students should feel relaxed and at ease in the classroom setting. Providing this type of environment will help facilitate students’ learning. This incorporates the concept of “i+1”, which means that the teacher meets the students where they are, and then adds to their already acquired knowledge. As their knowledge increases, the teacher introduces more new information.

This approach also emphasizes the importance of basic interpersonal communication skills and how to communicate in everyday situations. It does not stress the need to memorize grammatical rules, but focuses heavily on real world knowledge and dialogue. This approach will help them naturally acquire the language. I will show you what this would look like if applied in a classroom:

This classroom set-up is a great example of what a classroom should look like for ASL students. As you can see, students are seated in a half-circle so that all can see each other. This is unlike traditional hearing classrooms where students are seated in rows and visual communication is difficult. That is the reason that the half-circle is such a common seating arrangement in the Deaf world. The teachers can also utilize the floor in the center of the classroom to assure that students can see from all angles, since ASL is a three-dimensional language. This seating arrangement is highly recommended, as it allows students full access to ASL.

Content-based Instruction involves introducing a subject and the required language to discuss the subject. For example, you can introduce a topic related to culture and then the appropriate signs needed for comprehension, and ultimately language acquisition.

You can incorporate technology in your discussion by sharing content such as current events in the news, media, vlogs, comic strips, stories, poetry, etc. All of these things can be applied to CBI.

Notational-Functional Syllabus involves discussing everyday topics and dialogue in the classroom. This approach can be done in three ways, the first of which is role play. The teacher explains a certain situation and the students learn how to communicate their way through it. Second, the students can simply practice conversing with their classmates. This involves everyday dialogue and asking questions to learn more about each other, which will help them develop basic communication skills. Third, focusing on grammar, specifically non-manual markers such as facial expression, helps students learn an important part of ASL structure. Because hearing students are often not used to making exaggerated facial expressions, it can be beneficial to practice it together so they can become more comfortable doing so. These three practices are important for the development of ASL and can be helpful in their assignments and curriculum.

These three approaches, if applied, will greatly impact students and increase their ability to learn ASL. That is my teaching philosophy.

Testimonials

Mr. Brandon Hill is clearly dedicated to the field of ASL pedagogy, with his ability to think critically about teaching methodologies as well as his prodigious ability to innovate ASL teaching materials using technology. He is by far one of the most well-rounded ASL teachers I’ve ever seen, and I know any university or college who earns the opportunity to employ Mr. Hill will be incredibly fortuitous!

Raychelle Harris, Ph.D.
Masters in Sign Language Teaching Coordinator
Gallaudet University

I think Mr. Hill’s presentation was probably the most effective of all presentations. He presented the subject very clearly and I happen to know a lot about iMovie editing and felt he explained a lot of features very well. I hope other participants benefit from the workshop.

Teacher
ASLRT Fall 2016 Evaluation
California School for the Deaf – Riverside

Brandon has an excellent teaching approach and rapport with students in American Sign Language classes. He also ensures that they follow through with the lessons. I would use him at any ASL level because I am comfortable with his ability to work with his students.

Dan Hoffman, Ed.D.
ASL Program Coordinator
Utah Valley University

Brandon is a superb instructor. BYU is lucky to have someone with his talents, insights, and intellect serving at the university.


ASL Student
Fall 2012 Evaluation
Brigham Young University

He signed beautifully and explained very clear! He spoke in our language. No techy words. He was so calm and had a lot of patient with us. I would LOVE to have him teach us again next year.

Teacher
ASLRT Fall 2016 Evaluation
California School for the Deaf – Riverside

Portfolio

Sample Assessment Tools

ASL 2 – Sample Test

A sample assessment tool for receptive skills in American Sign Language First-Year Level (Second Part or ASL 2). Assessment type: achievement and summative. Students will the watch video and chose or write the answer.

Lesson Plan

ASL 2 – Unit 3

This is a lesson plan, which is to be used by the instructor. It includes all of the information that an instructor will need to teach this specific lesson. It can also be given to a substitute instructor, to help them meet the goals of the instructor.

Syllabus

ASL 1 – Click Here To See Full Syllabus

This is a syllabus for a first-year or beginning ASL course. It outlines course outcomes, as well as assignments, expectations, and schedule. This course will use Signing Naturally Units 1-6.

ASL Literature

The Journey

Teaching Sample

ASL 1 – Family, Roommates and Pets.

A teaching sample of an American Sign Language Beginning Level I course (ASL 1) at Utah Valley University. The lesson covers the topic of Family, Roommates and Pets. The target language vocabulary is taught using pictures of Harry Potter characters. Students also learn how to describe a living situation as well as name various pets. This lesson includes an interactive activity with a lecture and Keynote presentation.

Assessment Tools

ASL 4 – Rubric for Expressive Test

A sample assessment tool for expressive skills in American Sign Language Second-Year Level (First and Second Part or ASL 3 & 4). Assessment type: rubric, achievement, formal, criterion-referenced, and summative. Students will sign based on a topic what they have learned in class.

Digital Presentation

Incidental Learning & World Knowledge

Contact

How?

  • Phone: 801-753-9395

Where?

Let's talk!