This research study was exploratory in nature, seeking to gather and document the experiences and perceptions of current and former students in interpreter education programs with the focus of interpreting between signed language and spoken language in the United States. Data was collected through an online survey for a three-week period, resulting in 514 consenting respondents from 40 states and 126 distinct interpreter education programs. The mixed methods study included quantitative and qualitative questions. The qualitative responses were coded, and emergent themes were identified in a grounded theory approach (Corbin & Strauss, 1990; McMilan & Schumacher, 2009; Strauss & Corbin, 1994, 1998). In this study, the data-driven themes have been limited to two top 10 lists for the most prevalent categories of positive and negative experiences with instructors. The findings show that the top 10 negative categories of student-reported experiences with faculty are: Personality; Feedback/Grading; Classroom Management; Intolerance for Others; Lack of Current Knowledge and Skills; Unclear or Unreasonable Expectations; Turnover or Institution Incompatibility; “Told Me I Couldn’t Do It”; Playing Favorites; and Too Busy Elsewhere. The top 10 positive categories of student-reported experiences with faculty are: Supportive and Encouraging; Teaching Techniques; Kind, Caring, “Wonderful”; Sharing Real Work Experiences; One-on-One Time; Community Connections and Resources; Content of Class/Curriculum; Desirable Outcome of Education; Passionate and Invested; and Available and Willing to Answer Questions. Each of the categories in the two top 10 lists can be shown to either strengthen or weaken the four motivational conditions of Wlodkowski and Ginsberg’s (1995) Motivational Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching: establishing inclusion, developing attitude, enhancing meaning, and engendering competence. The data collected from the instrument, as well as the literature reviewed, suggest that faculty play a crucial role in student motivation. With the emergent themes from the data, ASL and interpreting instructors are given the opportunity to consider the national perspective and use it to improve their individual and systemic practice to work with and motivate adult learners. The findings in this research study can be used to formalize and optimize interpreter education.

Exit Requirement


Date of Award

Winter 3-7-2018

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies


Deaf Studies/Professional Studies

Committee Chair

Elisa Maroney

Committee Member

Amanda R. Smith

Committee Member

Catherine Calen


motivation theory, interpreter education program, ASL, Student instructor interactions, positive, negative



Type (DCMI Terms)


Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education | American Sign Language | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Methods | Higher Education | Higher Education and Teaching | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures

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