Languages at Leicester

BSL Level 1: Part 1

This is for you if you have no prior knowledge of British Sign language (or so little that you effectively want to start again from scratch). You will learn basic skills to enable you to make yourself understood and to find out information in everyday situations.

You will be taught by a trained and experienced deaf BSL tutor. Having a deaf tutor (the equivalent of a native speaker) has its benefits. Students acquire real experience communicating with deaf people and have a better understanding of how interaction with signs takes place.

Key information

Courses starting April/May 2024 

  • Course: Mondays 3.00pm - 5.00pm
    Delivery: On-campus (face-to-face)
    Timeline: Starts 29 April - ends 1 July 2024
    Lengths: 10 weeks (30 learning hours)
    Fees: £125 with an additional fee of £20 for the exam - the exam fee can be paid at the time of enrolment or once the course has started. 
  • Course: Mondays 6.00pm - 8.00pm
    Delivery: On-campus (face-to-face)
    Timeline: Starts 29 April - ends 1 July 2024
    Lengths: 10 weeks (30 learning hours)
    Fees: £125 with an additional fee of £20 for the exam - the exam fee can be paid at the time of enrolment or once the course has started.  

These courses will be taught in small groups. It requires a minimum of 8 and it can have up to a maximum of 14 students. The course fee includes all tuition, access to VLE (virtual learning environment), handouts and any tests/exams, but not a textbook.

Terms run from April/May to July. The full course comprises 30 learning hours. Lessons are two hours long and take place once a week. When enrolling you are committing to the full 10 weeks.

Enrol now

Entry level

No previous knowledge of BSL is required.  The course is suitable for absolute beginners.

Course content

Topics and content

  • People and Personal Information, Issues, Events (describing people, or issues such as current affairs, events such as holidays, birthdays, special occasions. Descriptions of 10 people and personal information could include family information, work colleagues, work roles, pets)
  • Descriptions using numbers (describing people, in relation to age, time, money, or objects purchased in shops/food and drink, relating to travel and accommodation, e.g. 3- hour flight, villa with 5 bedrooms. Vocabulary range should also include such BSL terms as young, youngest, old, older, elderly, before, past, future, o’clock, parts of the hour, sign differences between pounds (money) and pounds (weight), locations and/or handshapes/ hand-movements for age, time and money)
  • Using the calendar (Using information about ‘when’ and describing periods of the day/ night, days of the week, months of the year, the seasons and special days of the year, yesterday, tomorrow, today, next week, weekend and so forth)
  • Signing Structure (placement, use of verbs & phrases, non-manual features, sign order, handshapes, direction, orientation, signing space and fluency)
  • Use of simple linking conventions and prepositions (i.e. use of sign structures linking words and phrases)
  • Work, school and/or college (describing activities that happen at work, school or college, including products, services, training or learning activities)
  • Expressing attitudes, opinions, likes and dislikes (narrations using BSL terms such as good, bad, better, awful, worse, best, possible, impossible, agree/disagree, upset, disappointed, worried and so on)

Production skills

  • Learners should demonstrate they can sign at an appropriate pace and flow, using signing space correctly, fingerspell correctly and with reasonable speed, and use a range of vocabulary relevant to the unit
  • Learners should demonstrate that when providing statements or descriptions in a narrative mode, they are able to use simple, set phrases that link the content of their narrations to everyday activities
  • All narrations must contain clear factual information, instructions or descriptions in proper sequence

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this course learners should be able to...

  1. Provide simple, prepared statements or descriptions in British Sign Language of personal, social or work-related facts.
  2. Express everyday emotions and preferences, using a limited range of set phrases.
  3. Provide a simple narration linked to the calendar.

Assessment criteria

  • Provide a simple, prepared statement containing standard work-related information, i.e. products, services, orders, quantities OR personal/social-related facts
  • Provide a short, prepared description incorporating personal and/or social-related facts, ideas or opinions using everyday emotions or preferences (i.e. dislikes, likes)
  • Describe a series of events linked to their own personal calendar

Progression route

If you wish to gain formal accreditation for this course you can take the 'Level 1 Award in British Sign Language Studies' – Part 1 (Unit 101) exam, awarded by the Signature (Qualification Specification), for which there is an additional fee of £20 (Signature Fee’s Booklet 2023/24).

You may wish to continue your learning with the Level 1 Part 2 (102) course.

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