Introduction to British Sign Language

Ref: C3125370

British Sign Language (BSL) is used by around 70,000 Deaf people as their main or preferred method of communication in the UK. Come and learn British Sign language for a new experience, to gain new skills, as well as learning about the Deaf culture and community around you. Main topics will be everyday vocabulary used in conversation: • Greeting / taking leave • Exchanging information about themselves • Numbers (time/ money/ age/date) • Asking questions and giving answers • Food and drink (optional) • Family and Hobbies ( optional) Course content is flexible and the tutor will discuss with the group about topics that they would like to include during weeks 6-10.

Course aim

The course is designed to teach students to communicate with Deaf people in British Sign Language (BSL) at the elementary level. They will gain conversation skills in BSL.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for people with little spoken English
  • anyone who has a Deaf family member or friend may find this course useful.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Recognise at least 5 simple signs or short phrase in British Sign Language
  • Demonstrate at least 3 words or phrases using fingerspelling
  • Asking questions and giving answers using BSL
  • Recognise basic number (at least 1-20) in BSL
  • Demonstrate basic number (at least 1-20) in BSL

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • Your tutor will continually assess your progress, and give feedback directly to you.

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • It is useful to have a ring binder/folder.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • There are several BSL and Deaf issues related websites where students can get information about the language.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Working with deaf people in a variety of roles such as a carer, support worker, Teacher for the Deaf, Teaching Assistant and many more. Students could also engage in voluntary work with Deaf Community, or work with dDeaflinks

Download full course outline

Introduction to British Sign Language Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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