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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?

Tortington Sat 12-Jan-13 00:08:55

gcse option would be great - fo those kids who do use sign language anyway - y'know like those kids who can speak spanish becuase their parents are spanish - but there wern't any lessons at school

PiccadillyCervix Sat 12-Jan-13 00:09:27

yanbu and the time would come from simply teaching other subjects in basic sign language. maybe during story time etc

IHeartKingThistle Sat 12-Jan-13 00:10:10

yy to that!

IHeartKingThistle Sat 12-Jan-13 00:10:35

sorry x post, was agreeing with custardo!

annie987 Sat 12-Jan-13 00:13:45

But it doesn't have to replace anything - I teach it alongside everything I would teach anyway. They pick it up extraordinarily quickly. All it cost was a half day training for me and I taught the rest of the staff for free.

Theicingontop Sat 12-Jan-13 00:16:17

It is a whole language, femenistdragon, for me its harder than learning a foreign language as there's so much more to it, not just words. Facial expressions, context it all matters, I've been learning for a couple of years and I'm ok, OH is fluent and helps me loads. I've never seen a single class advertised in my area!

bruffin Sat 12-Jan-13 00:16:34

My dd would have loved it as a gcse option. She wants to be a SN teacher

AgentZigzag Sat 12-Jan-13 00:19:03

But multiplying the cost of that half days training annie, by however many teachers there are, would cost more than 'we' can afford.

And it'd have to all be formally written down somewhere, then they'd have to work out a way of measuring whether it was worth it, make sure it's being done properly etc etc etc.

Hopefully the circumstances where it happens anyway will just increase, it's good to see so many people are doing it already/are receptive to it, that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 12-Jan-13 00:20:33

Thank you, theicing. It sounds fascinating. I was aware there are dialects to it, in terms of how you make a sign and the variations, but not what the experience of learning it is like. It sounds very difficult, so good I think to do some basics if possible. Because that way children won't be scared to learn it later on if there's a need.

Gomez Sat 12-Jan-13 00:22:01

No YANBU probably not that tricky. Should it happen, probably not.

musicmadness Sat 12-Jan-13 00:22:56

We did it a bit in high school, but it was a completely optional thing in a lunch hour so not that many people went. I did because my best mate had very limited hearing and wanted to learn sign language (she generally lip read) and went with her. I'm not sure I would of bothered if it wasn't for her. I'm glad I did now, it was really interesting. It would be great if it could be taught properly in schools.

manicbmc Sat 12-Jan-13 00:29:19

Most of the kids in the primary I work in have a basic knowledge (certainly from year 4 down) as we have a young lad who is deaf and has a signer who works with him. So school ran a few lunchtime sessions for the older kids too, who were interested. Some of the staff can sign and have been on courses.

I can only sign swear words and the alphabet as when I learnt (20 years ago) the man who taught me was a customer in the pub I worked in. grin

ProtegeMoi Sat 12-Jan-13 01:16:41

My school does.

I wish they would just pick BSL or Makaton though as doing both gets confusing with children forgetting what sign means what in what type etc.

I am fluent in BSL, Makaton and deaf/blind sign language. It is a very handy skill to have.

sashh Sat 12-Jan-13 04:12:40

i think all children should learn Makaton

I think they should all learn BSL. It is incredibly useful and is a propper language not a signed form of English

There is now a GCSE BSL, that would be great for the language element of the ebac for dyslexic and deaf students.

It's also a great introduction to MFL as you don't feel stupid with odd sounds comming out of your mouth and you learn that English grammer isn't the only one.


Where are you? Most deaf clubs run BSL courses as do colleges and being school age does not stop you doing an evening class.

There is a yahoo group called 'Deaf-UK', and some people on there are discussing using Skype for practice.

This is ASL, but I recomend Keith Wann

SilentMammoth Sat 12-Jan-13 04:39:17

I did bsl levels one and two and I dont massively agree with you tbh OP.

I haven't needed to use it and have forgotten huge majority of it. It was fascinating to learn, glad I did but not really transferable skill unless you use it often enough. Unlike the previous poster I haven't found it useful in the slightest.

I dont think yabu, but can think of things that are more important to be taught.

jussi Sat 12-Jan-13 04:49:19

It's not just deaf children who use sign,also those with speech disorders.

sashh Sat 12-Jan-13 05:10:56

And those with deaf parents / family

PeerieMootsMum Sat 12-Jan-13 05:25:04

My school was very inclusive of all SN children regardless of ability and as part of this we all grew up using basic sign language as the norm. Probably this was because of resources as it was a very small school but I think this was v beneficial for everyone as it never occured to us there was anything 'different' about these kids they were just accepted as they were.

Cut to 30 blush years later and I can still do some basic signs and the alphabet so yanbu - it's a great skill to have.

butterfliesinmytummy Sat 12-Jan-13 05:33:49

My dds go to an international school in singapore with a number of sn children. All the songs learned in the infant school are accompanied with sign language actions. I don't think there are any deaf children in the school any more (There's a separate school for hearing impaired children) but its lovely to see them sing chirstmas songs or happy birthday or nursery rhymes with sign language .... Even better when they sing in mandarin with sign language.

Most of the little ones just think they are doing actions but the older kids in the infant school (year 1,2) know that it's sign language.

hazeyjane Sat 12-Jan-13 06:58:57

BSL is different to Makaton, it would be great if there could be access to learn either, but the problem would be the funding. Ds is going to a ms preschool in April, he is completely non verbal, and is learning makaton. There will be at least one other little boy with speech delay starting at the same time. One of the keyworkers asked for funding to be sent on a Makaton course, but her request was denied. Fortunately, because she is amazing, she paid to do the course herself, and is now able to pass on the signs she knows to the other members of staff.

I have been amazed at how quickly our dds (5 and 6) have picked up a lot of makaton, I really think it would be an amazing thing to use more of it at schools in the course of the day, and have it offered as an option or a club.

x2boys Sat 12-Jan-13 07:30:58

what would they teach though makaton if a remember correctly is a form of sign language that is used a lot with children with autism learning ,disabillities etc i rember a few bits when from when i nursed a young boy who was severly autistic on a psychiatric intensive care unit[completley innapropriate placement but thats another story!]and BSL is a language in its own right so it would be like teaching any language you would need sombody who was fluent? Very good idea though i would be happy for my boys to learn it.

x2boys Sat 12-Jan-13 07:38:07

hazeyjane is your son being taught to speak alomg side signing i ask because my youngest boy has speech delay and will be seeing a speech therapist at the end of this month he is three in may so will start nursery in september whilst i,m happy for him to be taught makaton i obviously want him to speak properly?

Hulababy Sat 12-Jan-13 07:45:15

I work in an infant school and we use simple makaton signing. We sign to songs, to say good morning, and as part of our Pie Corbett stories in literacy. Plus other times and more so if a child in the class has sld. We hsve visual time tables in each class too.
Our lea does basic courses reasonably cheap and people also learn from one another.

Hulababy Sat 12-Jan-13 07:46:13

Afaik makaton and speech go together. The words should always be said whilst using it.

moogy1a Sat 12-Jan-13 07:57:56

I was having a conversation with DH about this a couple of days ago when I was saying I have never come across anyone I have direct dealings with who is deaf or uses sign language. neither had he.We both work in education ( he is in a very large school which has a number of kids with sn, but none that sign).
It would be a lot of money and time taken up for very limited use. I'm sure it's all very lovely to learn, but round here it's very much a middle class thing to do which has no real life relevance . I view it in the same way as learning mandarin ( anyone really know anyone who's needed to use that in real life? )

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