When do I need to practice?
BSL (British Sign Language) is just like any other language. You will learn more quickly and progress faster if you practice often. This is ideally half an hour a day, but as much time as you can spare is good.
What resources can I use to practice?
You can use a wide variety of resources, and the lists below cover most of them. Some resources are more suited to beginners, and others are more advanced. Have a go, and don’t give up.
Television and the Internet:
Watch See Hear, the TV programme for the Deaf community. The signing will be fast and different from what you are used to, but the programme will help you learn about Deaf culture and the community, which is essential for learning more about BSL and Deaf people.
Interpreted TV programmes are useful for learning new vocabulary and becoming more fluent. Watching with the sound off will help your receptive skills. Often the interpreters on Sign Zone are Deaf and, therefore, native users of BSL. Live programmes like the news have hearing interpreters. This is useful for learning country signs and signs for topical subjects.
Use the internet. There are a lot of resources, such as:
Where to practice:
With other people:
· Practice with your classmates.
· Or get your friends and family interested and practice fingerspelling games with them.
Ask your tutor if there are any opportunities to practice BSL locally. Some Deaf clubs have nights where learners of BSL are welcome. This might not always be the case, so check before you go.
Find out about events by joining the Deaf UK Events email list.
City Lit, a college with a department for Deaf people, holds an event called Deaf Day every April. Look out for news on their website.
If you want to work in the Deaf community and you have a level of fluency, now is the time to start thinking about doing some voluntary work. By working with a wider range of Deaf people, your skills will improve.
So there is a wide range of opportunities; some may suit you more than others. And remember it’s important to keep on learning and have fun!