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?

elliejjtiny Sun 13-Jan-13 00:19:38

My primary school had a "deaf unit" (in quotes because it was called that then but not very PC!) attatched so we all learnt basic sign language, mostly finger spelling. DS2 went to SN nursery so he learnt makaton although he doesn't have a speech delay. This means he can communicate with another boy in his class who has a speech delay and uses makaton, which I think has been very helpful to them both. I think learning sign language is a good skill to have. I don't know much but I "speak" it far more than I speak french which I learnt in secondary school.

That's fair enough Really tired, why not indeed. I suppose for me i just wonder whether i would want my child to have that over an academic subject when relevant qualifications in BSL already exist. I didn't mean that you would only need a GCSE to use BSL at a professional level, as I said in my post there is an NVQ system already in place which will take learners to the required standard, either that or post grad degree programmes. And I think the continuing fight for FULL legal recognition of BSL is what will put it on a par with other spoken languages, not by what system it is taught.

ReallyTired Sat 12-Jan-13 21:01:50

If you watch a talented signer it can really be beautiful. One of the most wonderful experiences I had was going to a pantomine which had BSL as well as English. I have to admit that my BSL was not great, but I could understand some of the jokes and humour.

Cochelar implants mean that Deaf children can attend normal schools. They do not grow up in the Deaf community. They are now very much part of the hearing community. Many Deaf people are anti cochelar implants.

Most children do 10 GCSEs. We don't expect all our children to be scientists or mathemticans or historians or artists or work in a country that uses French.

"But anyone who wants a career in that area can now do NVQs so there is already a system in place which os why i wonder whether we need a GCSE. "

Many people in the Deaf Community have campaigned for a GCSE in BSL. They want their language to get comparable respect to French, German or any other modern spoken language. Compared to the really stupid subjects that you can do a GCSE in, why not have GCSE BSL?

If you want a job that directly uses BSL then ideally you need a hell of a lot more than a GCSE. No one would think you can be a professional scientist with just a GCSE.

There is a huge difference between offering BSL and making BSL complusory for all children. Allowing BSL to count as an EBAC lanuage would help dyslexic children. Learning BSL would also help children with aspergers improve their understanding of body language.

Christmasberry Sat 12-Jan-13 20:42:50

All very well saying about cochlears and not as much use for signing (my daughter has one) but these can fail or you can't wear them all the time (swimming) so how do people communicate then? We are carrying on signing with dd (6) my other two (2 & 4) are picking it up and I hope all three will take it into adulthood with them, I have done level three and hope when I go back to work I can hopefully find a job where I can use my newfound skills.

DamnBamboo Sat 12-Jan-13 20:20:03

Perhaps this has been covered, but in terms of justifying the cost (and due diligence in this respect would have to be done) what do people perceive as being the benefits of all children learning this?

I honestly can't see for what good reason why this would be rolled out in schools

CaseyShraeger Sat 12-Jan-13 20:17:02

Cochlear implants aren't an option for everyone by any means (my DD's permanent hearing loss is only unilateral, but if she had the same problem in both ears she'd have no hearing at all and implants wouldn't be an option either. There are plenty of people who do have that kind of hearing loss bilaterally) and vary in how well they work for those they do work for. But obviously increase in implants will have an effect.

hazeyjane Sat 12-Jan-13 19:59:24

Sorry to return to Makaton again (there are 2 issues going on here, really).

*Department of Health estimated that 65,000
children and 145,000 English adults have severe or profound learning
disabilities, and 1.2 million have mild or moderate learning disabilities.*

It isn't always the case that Deaf people have a cochlear implant and then no longer need to sign. But the increase of implants will most definitely have an impact on the number of BSL users and also influence how BSL develops as a language I think. As long as there are Deaf people there will always be signed language in some form.

Theicingontop Sat 12-Jan-13 19:27:24

lol ReallyTired, DS is getting to the stage where he may understand some of it. Have to be careful.
OH uses it alongside his speech when talking to DS and just from watching his dad he's picked up basic signs, it's amazing.

UniS Sat 12-Jan-13 19:25:30

GCSE level qualification may be an NVQ, lots of school offer NVQs in a variety of subjects.

DamnBamboo Sat 12-Jan-13 19:22:25

p.s. Latin, whilst not used to communicate with appears a lot in sciences, engineering, maths art etc...

I have basic latin simply because of my science/medical background.

I still don't think that a language that circa 70,000 use and whose numbers will drop should be taught in school.

There are so many other useful things that could be taught instead.

Bring back basic domestic science/woodwork/metalwork etc... for a start which has largely been eroded over the years and which all pupils will benefit from

BSL is available to anyone who wants to learn (level 1 and 2 courses and then NVQs) and absolutely should be promoted and made as accessible as possible, but I still think someone would have to be totally committed to a career working with BSL users before they took it as a GCSE. But anyone who wants a career in that area can now do NVQs so there is already a system in place which os why i wonder whether we need a GCSE. It's definitely a skill which is useful in a number of roles though.

mrsjay Sat 12-Jan-13 19:19:24

not all deaf people will have implants though I don't think I know a few deaf people and only 1 has an implant and I am able to communicate with the deaf people I know without sign language

DamnBamboo Sat 12-Jan-13 19:17:43

Are they really? I didn't know that.

I suppose some things so become obsolete with technological advances don't they?

If BSL dying out because technology is superseding it, all the more reason not to teach it across schools IMO

ReallyTired Sat 12-Jan-13 19:15:11

Some schools offer GCSE latin and there are ZERO latin speakers.

Similar arguements were used against teaching children welsh and galic in the past. These languages have been kept alive because children have been taught.

The reason for offering BSL in school is to increase people's knowledge of BSL so it does not die out as a language. Cochelar implants are threatening the existance of BSL. Unless BSL is offered to hearing children it will not exist in one hundred years time.

Actually there are plenty of careers where a knowledge of BSL can be benefical.

DamnBamboo Sat 12-Jan-13 19:10:09

I agree Gail

Considering there are only an estimated 70,000 ( there's no definitive number) BSL users in the UK I think that BSL as a GCSE option in all schools couldn't be justified, however it might be useful in areas where there is a big Deaf community and/or schools with Deaf students. Even then though as a GCSE it would only really be of use if someone wanted a career working with BSL users, wouldn't it?

ReallyTired Sat 12-Jan-13 19:06:35

"Maybe the main use for most would be ordering drinks in noisy bars and clubs.

Or to have a nice sweary argument in front of an oblivious two year old."

Trust me, its VERY easy to pick up swear words in BSL. I worked with teenage Deaf chldren and frankly their signing belonged in the gutter. Swearing is the easy part of BSL to understand.

Teaching deaf awareness is very different to learning BSL. My FIL is profoundly deaf because he has been deafened. His needs are very different to someone who has been deaf since birth or someone who is a bit hard of hearing. I feel its important to realise that the word deaf can cover almost any level of hearing loss. Prehaps deaf awareness can be fitted into PHSCE as part of overall disablity awareness.

UniS Sat 12-Jan-13 18:59:58

Deaf awareness in primary school, yes. I think that would be possible and helpful for lots of children giving a bit more awareness for how they talk with older hearing impaired adults and hearing aid using children managing to cope in mainstream. Finger spelling included.

BSL in primary - It would be nice but costly to do it well and if there is no BSL using community I fear most would be forgotten rapidly.

BSL as a GCSE level qualification- now that's an interesting idea and one I think MIGHT be feasible in some schools. IF a BSL qualified teacher can be found with the availability and right other qualifications to teach school age children.

I learnt BSL as an adult, went as far as stage 2, used BSL socially for a few years, then moved and changed my social circle. I now remember very little BSL, but have reasonable deaf awareness.

DamnBamboo Sat 12-Jan-13 18:43:08

BSL ought to be a joint official language of the country with English and everybody ought to be taught it from birth

Really? Given that the vast majority of the population can communicate quite effectively without it?

mrsjay Sat 12-Jan-13 18:41:42

ADMA HILLS thank you , you know when you just get a block on a name was driving me daft, I was going to google australian comedian with 1 foot grin

yes his stage show was hilarious

OddBoots Sat 12-Jan-13 18:40:10

mrsjay That was Adam Hills and that show had me absolutely howling with laughter - especially the deaf gay strippers!

BackforGood Sat 12-Jan-13 18:39:01

Adam Hills - it was brill, wasn't it grin

mrsjay Sat 12-Jan-13 18:34:44

Oh a comedian whos name I forgot he is australian and did the last leg when the paralympics were on anyway he has an interpreter at his gigs 1 was on e4 a few months ago and they did some swearing just to piss the signer off was very funny grin

hermioneweasley Sat 12-Jan-13 18:32:02

I did a BSL course and have NEVER used it. I would however use any of the modern European languages weekly if not daily if I could speak any.

If you can speak English and Spanish you can speak to 70% of the world (apparently)

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