Language & Communication10th April 2014

A Better Future for BSL Teaching

Time for BSL teachers to pull together collectively and make a better future for their students.

by Linda Day & Tessa Padden

No matter how good the learners, without a good teacher they may struggle to make progress. That is as true in BSL teaching as in any subject.

There are many good Deaf BSL teachers, but they are battling against a number of problems:

  • No specialist training programme for BSL teachers – the first and last proper BSL teacher training programme, run by Durham University, stopped 20 years ago.
  • No proper refresher training to keep BSL teachers up to date with new developments in teaching and technology.
  • No strong professional network, to share ideas and support each other.
  • There is one good organisation, the Association of British Sign Language Tutors and Assessors, but not enough BSL teachers know about it.

BSL teaching

That’s why we are organising the first national conference for BSL teachers at Manchester Deaf Centre on Saturday 17 May, called ‘Let’s Make a Better Future for BSL Teaching’.

Deaf people like to meet face to face to discuss issues, as BSL is their native or preferred language. This is the first time BSL teachers have had this kind of opportunity.

They want to maintain and improve standards of teaching within their profession and raise awareness of sign language teaching. They want the opportunity for continuous professional development (CPD) and to support each other by sharing ideas and materials. They want to know how new technology and online learning resources can help them improve their teaching and their businesses.

In other words, they want BSL teaching to be on a par with any other kind of teaching – professional, well organised and doing as good a job as possible for their students.

Signworld will lead the conference, discussing new technology and how to modernise BSL teaching. People from the British Deaf Association, the Royal Association for Deaf People and the Association of BSL Tutors and Assessors will lead workshops about training, CPD and the importance of networking and supporting each other.

We are all united with one aim – to improve BSL teaching all across Britain and make sure that our hearing students become as fluent as possible in BSL.

Article by Linda Day & Tessa Padden

posted in Community / Language & Communication

10th April 2014