Introduction to British Sign Language

Ref: C3127029

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.

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 suitable for beginners and improvers
  • The course is open to everyone. No previous knowledge of British Sign Language (BSL) is necessary. Also 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
  • The course is very interactive and practical, in a safe and supportive environment. Learners often work with other students to consolidate learning. For example working in pairs and repeating signs back to one another helps students to remember them.

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
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • Your tutor will continually assess your progress, and give feedback directly to you.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • It is useful to have a ring binder/folder.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • There are several BSL and Deaf issues related websites where students can get information about the language. Some of these websites have DVD's and books that a student could purchase, although this is not a requirement for the course. Students could also find many clips and e.g of BSL on YouTube

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 , Teaching Assistant and many more. Students could also engage in voluntary work with Deaf Community, or work with dDeaflinks can progress to Level 1 course

Download full course information sheet

Introduction to British Sign Language


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

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