A black woman wearing grey long-sleeve shirt holders her hands up with palms facing toward her face ready to signDeveloped by Doug Bowen-Bailey

Competencies Addressed:  Discourse mapping; Comprehension: ASL discourse

Time Required for Activity: 40 mins


To create a discourse map of a video text explaining about one person’s experiences working with interpreters.

In this video, Nyla explains her various experiences working with interpreters.

This activity is the first in a series focused on:

Discourse Mapping | Consecutive Interpreting | Simultaneous Interpreting

The activity in this post is based on:

Winston, E.A. & Monikowski, C.M. “Discourse Mapping: Developing Textual Coherence Skills in Interpreters” in Roy, C.B., ed. (2000). Innovative practices for teaching sign language interpretersWashington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.


You will watch a video in which a deaf person explains in ASL about her experiences working with interpreters.  

  • What type of settings do you think she works with interpreters in?
  • What do you think she sees as positive features of her interactions with interpreters?
  • What do you think might be part of negative experiences?

Watch the Video:  Watch the video in its entirety. Think about how effective your prediction was. Even if you were not close, doing the prediction phase helps prepare you for watching the text and comprehending it at a deeper level.

View Video. (Video will open in pop-up window.)

Create a Content Map

After watching the video, create a content map. The goal of the content map is to represent the key ideas and how they are related to each other.

Think about this as a procedural text which talks about steps.  How do you represent the sequential nature of the directions?

After you have created your own content map, go on to the next step to check your work with one sample of a content map.

If you want a map to get you started with analyzing the texts, click here. (Blank content map will open in a pop-up window.)

Check Your Work

The content map below was created by Doug Bowen-Bailey. It represents one way to represents the ideas.  The map generally proceeds from the upper left and moves clockwise. The darker the color of the box, the larger the idea. Lighter shading represents more details.

Watch the Video Again:   Make adjustments to your original content map based on what you viewed and what you saw in the sample map.

View Video. (Video will open in pop-up window.)


What did you notice that was different between watching the video the first time and after you had done the content mapping exercise? Did you see the breaks between discourse units more clearly? What did you notice about the signer’s use of space to help create cohesion in the text?