To think that it wouldn't be too difficult or costly to teach basic sign language in schools?

(164 Posts)
Theicingontop Fri 11-Jan-13 23:40:13

Not expecting a five year old to sit and learn the entire BSL, but I think it would be nice if children were taught the basics. Maybe they do in some schools, but none I've ever heard of. Why do you think that is? Am I being unreasonable in thinking that it wouldn't be that difficult to do?

annie987 Fri 11-Jan-13 23:42:53

They do in my school (an infant school) and also a couple of schools local to us. We sign all songs and use basic sign language day to day and we don't have any deaf children in school.

yanbu, i think it would be a great thing to teach kids.

not sure how expensive it would be, but it would be worth it imo.

AgentZigzag Fri 11-Jan-13 23:44:49

I agree in principle, but it'd mean the time would have to come from something else, and with all the other things which have such importance put on them who'd decide what that'd be?

Another thing for teachers to train in as well, who'd pay for it?

Where would they find the time to train?

I taught DD1 some when she was younger, mainly because we'd watched Justin on Cbeebies and after catching on to a few she wanted to know more.

I can remember about 10 after 5/6 years so it does stick.

threesocksmorgan Fri 11-Jan-13 23:44:53

i think all children should learn Makaton

GW297 Fri 11-Jan-13 23:45:37

Lots of schools do Makaton. The children really enjoy it.

TinyDancingHoofer Fri 11-Jan-13 23:46:57

We were taught the basics in year 3. That would be about 15 years ago in a state primary. Some of my peers can still do whole conversations. I unfortunately only remember very bare basics. I think we went over it in year six. I know some schools locally with deaf children who teach it as part of the syllabus but no one at our school was deaf so we never really got to use it with anyone so most of us forgot it.

That's probably why it is not taught. If you don't have anyone to use it with then you just forget it. How you can teach a young child a foreign language but if they never get to converse with anyone then they lose the whole language. Iyswim?

Schooldidi Fri 11-Jan-13 23:47:40

My mum used to do sign language with her nursery class as there were so many differnt home languages that they all learnt the signs for basic instructions/requests very quickly even though they didn't necessarily understand the words.

I don't know many schools that do it, because the teachers don't know sign language. I know that I wouldn't particularly relish the idea of learning sign language in my own time in order to be able to teach it to my class. I wouldn't be sure I was doing it right and I'm not trained at all to teach languages (I teach Maths but this is the sort of thing I would be given to do as a form tutor). There also really isn't the time in the day to squeeze more subjects into.

NoTeaForMe Fri 11-Jan-13 23:47:46

Where does the time come from though? What lesson will you lose in order to fit it in? Where does the money and time come from for resources and training? It's not as simple as deciding it 'can't be that difficult' !

Why do you think it's important?

threesocksmorgan Fri 11-Jan-13 23:50:49

makaton should be taught to all children, in these days of inclusion it is a must
they just start at nursery and they will love it

We did really small amounts of sign language, but I've forgotten it all now.

Forgive me, because I'm ignorant, but how does it compare to something like French, in terms of how long it takes to learn?

bruffin Fri 11-Jan-13 23:56:18

My dd 15 would love to learn BSL or Makaton. She has volunteered at a special needs playgroup since she was 12 and has picked up some up from the children. She would love to do a proper course, but there doesnt seem to be anything available for schoolchildren.

threesocksmorgan Fri 11-Jan-13 23:57:10

makaton is easy, I don't know about BSL which looks harder.
I just don't see why all schools can't just do it,
the cost would be covered by more kids with sn being able to go to MS schools

Tortington Fri 11-Jan-13 23:57:21

not hard at all, however i think teachers have enough to do and it would be nice if every school child could leave school being able to read and write first.

perhaps for such activity we could look to the local education authority to invest in such inclusivity after school

oh wait they have no money

maybe the local authorities

oh wait they have no money

how about charities that work with the deaf?

no money.

AgentZigzag Fri 11-Jan-13 23:57:32

TinyD, it's a good point that if you don't know anyone who's deaf you can't practice and forget, but maybe there's value in just being confident enough if you do interact with someone who's deaf to at least have a go at a couple of signs?

Then you can recreate the scene in Four Weddings when she gets it wrong grin

I can't remember much french from school, but I know enough to at least go 'pardon?' with a french accent grin

Tortington Fri 11-Jan-13 23:57:39

maybe the MPs shouldn't be voting themselves a fucking payrise

threesocksmorgan Fri 11-Jan-13 23:58:32

bruffin that is the problem.
I did one course at my dd's school(16 miles away) but would love to do more. but never seen them offered locally

YY, that's true agent, and also, it ought to come back to you more easily later on if you've done it once.

threesocksmorgan Sat 12-Jan-13 00:00:08

Custardo but don't you think it would also be nice and good it young people learnt how to talk to kids with sn?
(hello by the way wine red of course)

CharlieBlanche Sat 12-Jan-13 00:01:13

Our class learned as part of a pilot project. I was aged 10 at the time (in the 1980s) A deaf lady came and taught us fingerspelling and BSL every week for a term. I've forgotten most of my BSL but I can still do my fingerspelling. My Dsis and I sometimes use it a secret language.

I did baby signing with my DCs and plan to teach them finger spelling when they are old enough.

Well it's difficult as an adult because you can't really write it down - I think kids find it easier though.

I used to run a Sign Language club at the secondary school I taught at (I have BSL stage 1) and I loved it. I had a group who came for over 2 years and they could remember loads. I hope they still do.

Primary school age would be ideal to start IMO. But I also think it should be a GCSE language option - perfect for the kinesthetic (is that how you spell that???) learners!

AgentZigzag Sat 12-Jan-13 00:03:06

Even if it just makes the DC aware that it is possible to talk to someone who's deaf, that's got to go along way to making them feel less isolated (not that I'm saying people who are deaf are isolated, I haven't got a clue whether they feel excluded/isolated or not by the lack of signing being taught in schools).

Tortington Sat 12-Jan-13 00:06:36

yes absolutely - when they can read and write - it shouldn't be a teachers job

BackforGood Sat 12-Jan-13 00:08:12

My dd did in Infant school - no children with HI, but an enthusiastic TA who had been learning it at nightschool. It doesn't really take that much time, as it was done to songs a lot as they learnt them.

Another school I heard of did an experiment where they taught all the children in one class to learn their 'spellings' using finger spelling, and the 'alongside class' didn't. It was something an enthusiastic young teacher wanted to try, so the person who was telling us about it, decided to see if they could try to measure in some way to see if it made any difference. They found the difference was absolutely phenomenal. Sorry, can't remember the figures now, but they were absolutely astounded at the schoool and decided from there on in that all staff would learn the alphabet in sign language and use it to help the children with spellings from then on. They thought it was something to do with the kinesthetic learning, but I don't know if any psychologists ever did any more detailed study on it. The teacher who was telling us, had used it for her Masters I think, but it was only ever the study of that one year group.

Agree that LOADS of Nurseries do Makaton, and many schools do some too - Infants particularly and then it fades out more, but I think it's a great skill to have. smile

BackforGood Sat 12-Jan-13 00:08:47

Oh! x-posted with lots blush

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