British Sign Language exam success puts students top of the class
York St John Business School is celebrating a 100%
pass rate in its latest Signature examination results in British
Sign Language (BSL), putting it more than 20 percentage points
above the UK average.
Signature is the recognised awarding body
offering nationally accredited qualifications that cover the whole
range of languages and communication methods used by deaf and
This success comes at a time when the Business
School is experiencing ever increasing demand for sign language
skills. Professor Angela Goddard, Head of Subject for Languages and
Linguistics, says “BSL is like any language, including English, in
that it can be an academic subject for study in its own right, as
well as one that develops users’ skills.
“Undergraduates who join York St John’s
English Language and Linguistics programme are particularly
interested in BSL because they see it as an important skill to have
in any future career in teaching or speech and language therapy.
Equally, public health providers and local businesses recognise the
need for communicating with clients and customers from the Deaf
Business School Dean Jackie Mathers puts the
outstanding pass rate achieved by the 65 students taking the latest
six-module BSL course down to a combination of student commitment,
inspirational teaching and high quality support.
She says that programme leader Amanda Smith,
whose first language is BSL rather than English having been born
deaf, delivers the course in a highly engaging way using numerous
visual props which encourages students to learn from each other as
well as qualified tutors.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the latest
results which are well deserved given the hard work that every
student has put in over the last semester,” Jackie
says. “Their achievement is made even more remarkable by the
fact that they completed some of the modules in just a third of the
time it would usually take. It’s also a testament to the
efforts of the whole team here at the Business School, so I’d like
to thank them for their crucial support.
On the York St John Business School BSL
course, students can take the Level 1 and Level 2 Signature
Certificates. Level 1 equips students with the ability to use
sign language to communicate simple things such as the weather and
directions and have simple conversations. Level 2 is more
advanced, training students in the use of facial expressions, body
language and multi-channel communication as well as and developing
the ability to hold a seven minute signed conversation.
Due to student demand, the business school
will run the Level 3 Certificate BSL course for the first time from
September this year. In addition to the formal tuition on the
BSL course, York St John University also holds a weekly ‘Sign Café’
where students can get together to gain additional practice.
Amanda continues to develop her BSL skills,
too, and has recently built on her Postgraduate Certificate in
Academic Practice by becoming a Teaching Fellow.
“BSL is like learning any other language in
that you need to keep practising and enjoy what you’re doing,” says
Amanda. “We try to teach with a great sense of humour and encourage
a supportive learning environment where nobody is critical – I
believe that’s the secret to the success of this course.”
Further information about the BSL courses
available at York St John Business School is available by calling
01904 876915 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture shows: Amanda Smith, BSL
programme leader (far right) with students
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