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In my last blog, I told you that we have started part B of the level 6 course, which means building our portfolios.

I’ve been feeling excited and scared, but now that I’m another session along I thought I would give you an update.

I have not done any external filming (I promise I’m not avoiding it, I’ve just been on holiday!). I’ve organised to do some of this next weekend, so hopefully I can get some good clips.

In our last session (25/02), we were having a day of assessments. I don’t think there’s any way to prepare for a full day of assessments, except to just crack on with it.

We had five assessments planned, with the understanding that we probably wouldn’t get through all of them. The assessments were:

  • Leaflet 1:1 – 20 minutes prep time to choose and read a leaflet and consider how we would give this information in BSL. This was then filmed as a 1:1 conversation, going through the information in the leaflet and answering any questions my tutor may have had. For this assessment, I chose a leaflet about a council and their support for children in hospices.
  • Leaflet solo – 20 minutes prep time to choose and prepare a translation of a different leaflet. Obviously, this topic had to be different from the first leaflet so we could show a range of vocabulary. For this leaflet, I chose guidance on healthy eating. Which seemed easy enough, until I came across jargon such as ‘oestrogen’, ‘prebiotics’, and ‘microbiotics’.
  • Solo receptive: here we had 45 minutes to watch a 5-minute clip as many times as we wanted, and to write down as much of the information as possible – to pass, we needed to write down at least 70% of the information.
  • Group receptive: in groups of 3, we had to watch a 5-minute clip of someone signing, and then discuss as a group what we had seen, specifically referencing the information that had been discussed.
  • Live observation: we would be put into groups and given a topic which we would discuss. We would be marked, but not filmed.


A very busy day!

My first three assessments went smoothly. General feedback was that I needed to make sure I used less lip pattern, and ensure I wasn’t going too fast. The leaflet assessments reinforced the understanding that preparation materials are ESSENTIAL for an Interpreter. Without the twenty minutes of preparation time, I would probably have failed those assessments. That time allowed me to research what prebiotics and microbiotics are, so that I could describe them within my interpretation. Those twenty minutes were crucial. Whilst I’ve always known the importance of prep work, those 20 minutes gave me the opportunity to understand the potential consequences of not having it.

Assessment three (solo receptive) went well, as I enjoyed watching sections back to add further detail to what I already had.

The fourth assessment (group receptive) was where it all went a bit wrong, as I spectacularly failed. Within 20 seconds of the clip starting, I knew I was going to fail because I had NO IDEA what was being signed. At all. Not a single clue.

My two peers managed to grasp it, but unfortunately it was just a very difficult style to get the hang of. The conversation afterwards was therefore awkward as I had to try and input what I got from the clip – and after offering up the ONE point I had managed to grasp, I was left to wing it (that’s the polite way of saying it).

As I say, I knew I had failed and I was totally okay with that because the information had just been beyond my grasp. My two peers passed, which I’m very happy about!

I was then cheered up by watching the next group watch the clip, and seeing their faces look equally baffled. Not that I wanted them to fail, just that it was nice to see I wasn’t the only one who struggled. So myself, and a girl from group two, got to re-sit the assessment with a different clip. Luckily, I grasped the information in this clip and so I wasted no time in throwing information into the subsequent conversation – and passed.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time to do the live observation, so that’s what I’ll be starting with in our next session. I’m looking forward to this as it should feel more like a natural conversation.

Overall, the day was fun but exhausting. It’s strange to think that in the space of a day, a large part of my portfolio has been done!

Stay tuned for the next blog – by which point I will have filmed my external clips, done my live observation, and gone to deaf club for the first time!? (better late than never?)

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