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British Sign Language lecturer wins regional teacher of the year

Amanda Smith, programme leader for British Sign Language (BSL) at York St John University, has been named Yorkshire and Humber’s Teacher of the Year in the Signature annual awards for her supportive, nurturing and inspirational approach.

Amanda, who is herself profoundly deaf, teaches British Sign Language Levels 1 and 2 at the University. She was nominated for the award by her students who have this year achieved a 100% pass rate. She is soon to add BSL Level 3 to her classes. It was not just her teaching that caught the eyes of the judging panel at award hosts Signature – she has become a Teaching Fellow at the University so will be able to continue her research into deaf issues.

Amanda also worked hard to improve the social life of deaf students away from the classroom. She integrated BSL users from both York St John University and the local area and helped to organise the York St John Sign Café, which is now being run as a society of the Students’ Union.

Commenting on her award Amanda said:

“I am absolutely thrilled to receive this prestigious award. I have worked hard with the students to achieve their Signature exam pass and feel so proud for them.”

The Signature awards recognise individuals and organisations who have made a significant contribution toward achieving a society in which deaf and deafblind people have full access. The teacher of the year award identifies those who through their drive and enthusiasm, classroom commitment and high-quality teaching have expanded provision, improved access or achieved consistently outstanding results in qualifications.

Jim Edwards, Signature Chief Executive said:

“Amanda’s teaching style is particularly inspirational – she keeps up momentum in the classroom, engages students in role play, organises trips to nearby deaf clubs and even puts on celebratory meals to mark success at the end of term.

“She makes learning fun, which in turn gives students the confidence to go out and engage in BSL conversation with other people under their own steam. The pass rate speaks for itself – these qualifications require hard work but with the right support and in the right environment, very impressive results can be achieved.”

Diana Wetherell Terry, Deputy Dean of York St John Business School, added:

“This achievement is testament to Amanda’s persistent hard work and dedication in providing an exceptional student experience. She is an outstanding, creative and innovative teacher who strives and achieves excellence in all she does. The Business School are delighted to have Amanda recognised through this impressive Signature award.”

For further information please contact Amy Hall, PR & Communications Officer on T: 01904 876466 or E: a.hall@yorksj.ac.uk

 

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