In this video, Dr. MJ Bienvenu introduces herself in ASL.

Activity developed by Mark Halley

Competencies Addressed:  Spatial structuring and message coherence

Time Required for Activity: 20 mins

Objective(s): To identify spatial structuring in an ASL text.


Dr. MJ Bienvenu introduces herself in this video and talks about her background as a professor in the ASL and Deaf Studies Department at Gallaudet University.  Take a moment to predict what type of spacial structure Dr. Bienvenu might use in this video.  The text is 2:21 in length.

Watch Video & Analyze Space

Watch the video and note Dr. Bienvenu’s use of space to compare and contrast or introduce new concepts. Count how many times you note her using space for this purpose and what topics she is comparing/contrasting. Consider how this use of space makes her message coherent. Also, there are many fingerspelled concepts in this text. If you miss a fingerspelled word, that is okay. Remember that your focus for this activity is on spatial structuring. In your list, you might have noted that she compares two topics, but you only know what one is. Simply make a note that there are two topics and that you are unsure of one. Even if you miss a fingerspelled concept, you are still achieving the objectives of building your competence with recognizing spatial structuring in ASL.

Check Your Work

This is the list of concepts Dr. Bienvenu compared and contrasted or introduced using space.

  • ASL and Deaf Studies
  • ASL program
  • Undergraduate and Graduate courses
    • Undergraduate:
      • Comparing ASL and English
      • Senior Seminar
      • How to give feedback
      • Analyzing discourse
    • Graduate:
      • MASLED (Master’s in Sign Language Education)
      • Critical pedagogy
  • BA vs. MA and PhD
  • Addressing ‘isms’, the LGBT community, and power/oppression/empowerment
  • Different areas of interest
  • Deaf culture, ASL numbers, grammar, and teaching ASL
  • Expert witness

Watch the Video Again

Now that you have seen the video and the list of concepts that Dr. Bienvenu compared and contrasted using space, watch the video again to see if you missed any of these concepts.

Consider these questions:

  • How does her use of space make the message coherent?
  • If you were introducing yourself in ASL, how might you use your own signing space for similar purposes?

Sketch out a brief introduction of yourself specifically focusing on your use of your own signing space to compare, contrast, and introduce concepts. Then practice introducing yourself in ASL while using space for these functions.