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An Introduction to British Sign Language February 2024

Several pairs of hands doing BSL signs



On this course you will learn the hand shapes, movements, grammar and structure of BSL. You will also explore the history, cultures, and experiences of deaf people, gaining an insight into life as a deaf person.


Detailed Description

About the Course

York St John University is pleased to be offering a new Introduction to British Sign Language. Over the course of 9 weeks you will learn the basics of British Sign Language. Including: fingerspelling, lip reading, and the semiotic structure of BSL. Alongside the practical aspects of BSL you will learn about Deaf awareness and discover Deaf history and culture. Including: education, significant historical figures, and events. The course is facilitated by multi award winning Associate Professor of British Sign Language Amanda Smith. 

According to the British Deaf Association there are 151,000 individuals in the United Kingdom who use BSL. BSL users can experience communication barriers everyday This introductory course will help you understand and support BSL users. 

Course Facilitator 

Amanda Smith is a Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) user, with experience teaching BSL for twenty two years, eighteen of which have been at York St John University.  

As an Associate Professor at York St John, she teaches on all levels of British Sign Language modules, facilitating learning for students who may never have signed a word to those who have some fluency in BSL. Including aspects of the deaf lived experience into teaching, to help raise awareness of deaf people as a cultural as well as linguistic minority. 

In 2011, she was awarded National Teacher of the Year by Signature and, in 2012, York Adult Tutor of the Year by City of York Council’s “York 800”. In 2019 she was nominated for the ‘inspirational teaching’ and ‘most supportive staff member’ of the year awards by York St John Students' Union. 

T: 01904 624624 F: 01904 612512

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