Signs of Development Study Groups
RID, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

Study Groups begin August 15, 2011.

You can take up to six months to complete them.

If you have already signed up for the study groups, click here to go to the Study Groups forum.

What are Signs of Development's Study Groups?

Signs of Development Study Groups

Signs of Development has developed a series of certification preparation study groups that have proven to be highly successful! We have mentored in excess of 1,000 interpreters, including Deaf interpreters, to successfully take and pass all aspects of the certification process: NIC, CDI, SC:L, EIPA and state tests. CEUs are available for each of the groups.

Often, interpreters who are already certified will take a study group as a refresher to the information, as well as to earn valuable CEUs toward their continuing education requirements.

The Online Study Group Concept

These are Study Groups, not classes or workshops. That is an important distinction, as they are developed and provided with guiding curricula. All groups have an available mentor/facilitator, but you will work independently within the groups. You may choose to work completely independently; or, as most do, you may interact with others in your group to discuss and encourage each other as you work through the units.

The groups are online and all work is asynchronous, so you check in whenever you have time. There are posting requirements for each unit, but when you post is up to you, your schedule and circumstances. The groups were originally set up to take two weeks per unit; however, now you can go faster or slower as your schedule dictates.
You have up to six months to complete each group.

Study Groups begin August 15, 2011, or you may join at any time!

Start Dates & Duration: NIC, CDI, EIPA Study Groups

The NIC and EIPA groups are eight units of a suggested two weeks each. These groups previously began twice a year. However, now we're offering you the option of beginning whenever you wish! We work hard to make sure that our programs and services are as accessible to each interpreter's situation and needs as possible!

Start Dates & Duration: SC:L, Legal Ethical Decision Making Groups

The SC:L/Court and Legal Written Test Study Groups Parts 1 & 2 and the Court/Legal Ethical Decision-Making Group also have flexible start and end time. These groups have a fixed time to be completed. For example, an interpreter beginning the SC:L/Court & Legal Written Group Part 1 has 12 weeks to complete the study group. Likewise, Part 2 must be completed within 12 weeks from the start date.

The Court/Legal Ethical Study Group is worth 8 hours and must be completed within 31 days. For these groups, participants can work non-stop to completion or at whatever pace suits the individual needs as long as the work is completed within the timelines established.

The Work & Requirements - Note from Lynne Wiesman

The written test study groups (NIC, CDI, SC:L, and EIPA) are probably the most labor-intensive because they deal with needing to know facts and information. Each unit consists of 10-20 questions that the participants research, respond, and may choose to discuss. The goal is to have participants owning the information and applying their own experience and knowledge to the questions. This approach has proven to be highly successful when participants research the information and make connections to their own experiences. It is far more readily retrievable on test day.

There is no "required" reading for these groups. However, for the NIC, EIPA, and CDI written test study groups I strongly recommend you obtain a copy of So You Want to be an Interpreter, edition 3 or 4. I have also provided a number of articles and readings that will be available in the study group forum.

Additionally, a goal for these written test study groups is to have participants understand the mechanics of multiple- choice tests. For each unit, participants develop a set of questions and responses with the mentor/ facilitator's guidance. In this way, participants are able to understand how tests are developed and are not as intimidated by the "tricky" questions. These questions may also be used in the last unit to test each other. There is also a 150- question mock test provided in the last unit so participants can test their knowledge, ability to respond to questions from multiple developers and styles, and become adept at outsmarting the "tricky" question format!

Finally, participants in these groups are asked to post a summary post at the conclusion of each unit. This summary is a way for them to synthesize their learning and post a synopsis that can be used to "cram" (since reviewing the entire set of posts from previous weeks would not be advisable, feasible, or even possible).

The Interview/Ethical Decision-Making group is structured a bit differently and takes participants through a step-by-

step approach to responding to ethical dilemmas. The group applies the DECIDE process to responding to ethical dilemmas that they bring to the group and a couple that are provided. There are various other techniques and tools that have been developed and are used to ensure that those taking the interview test score very high on this aspect of the test. Four sets of five questions are provided to practice and get feedback on in Unit 7. Unit 8 contains a set of five questions or ethical dilemmas as a mock test as well as a discussion of the demands and controls on testing day. This group has been one of the most successful groups and, as with all of the groups, participants report that it not only helps them for test day but also for their interpreting careers!

For the Performance Test Study Groups, participants develop a set of video samples from which to conduct the analysis work and are the basis for the self-analysis in all of the units. A copy of the videos is sent to a mentor to do what is called a Readiness Assessment (RA). This is not a full-blown diagnostic but more a look at whether the candidate is ready currently and if so or if not, providing a brief overview of 3 strengths and 3 challenges in the work and some guidance about addressing them. However, simultaneously, you are analyzing your own with the tools provided, and you are learning how to see those patterns and look for the root cause as well as developing meaningful activities to address the root causes.

From a personal perspective, what I have found in my work mentoring interpreters and training mentors is that interpreters almost without incident are looking at and addressing symptoms in their work. They are frustrated at not being able to close performance gaps or approach performance tests with the confidence that they are in control of the message and the interpreting process. This is almost always because interpreters are not working to determine the cause for the symptoms. Merely addressing activities that address the symptoms will not close the actual performance gap and is an ingredient for the stalled professional development process.

To that end, all of the self-analysis tools I have developed in training mentors and mentees is provided to members of the study groups! Also, in all of the groups (written, interview, and performance), you will see a lot of information about how to prepare for test day.

This is a snapshot of the study group process. Hope this information helps!

Looking forward to working with you all toward your certification goals!