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British Sign Language - Beginners Plus

(Module 1 & Module 2)

Course aims

To enable learners to understand and use simple BSL phrases, and exchange information in familiar situations, using BSL.

Course length

Beginner Plus - Module 1: 22 hours (11 weeks)
Beginner Plus - Module 2: 22 hours (11 weeks)

Who is this course for?

The course is suitable for anyone who:

  • has completed an ABC Entry 3 Award in British Sign Language
  • has completed a Beginners course in BSL
  • has studied BSL for up to 25 hours

Entry requirements

BSL competence standards include requirements for learners to have sufficient sight, manual dexterity, facial and body movement to produce and receive BSL.

Some literacy, numeracy and IT skills can help you learn a language. We can give you guidance and support to acquire these.

Course content

Beginner Plus - Module 1:

You will be able to:

  • understand signed communication and questions asked in a given range of topics; recognising and finger spelling back;
  • use BSL to communicate on a given range of topics, such as describing people; hobbies and interests of self and others;
  • be able to maintain a basic social conversation in BSL, taking turns in a conversation, using eye  contact and eye gaze
  • produce BSL features correctly (BSL order, placements, referents, enumeration, non-manual features (eyebrows, head shaking/nodding), appropriate facial expressions matching emotions, handshapes and movements, location/position, direction/orientation; sign pace and flow), finger spelling correctly mouthing names,
  • give, ask for and understand information about people, pets, furniture and objects, (size, colour, shape and location);
  • give, ask for and understand information relating to age, time, money and calendar information;
  • give, ask for and understand information about interests and activities of self and others;
  • give, ask for and understand information about food and drink;

Examples of topics which may be explored include: personal information, family, hobbies and interests, work and study, calendar information, holidays, transport, food and drink, public services and the weather. This is not an exhaustive list. Other topics and language functions may be added or replaced according to the needs of the language and the learners.

Beginner Plus - Module 2:

You will be able to:

  • understand another BSL user, and ask/answer simple questions about everyday work or social situations
  • produce BSL features correctly (signing space, signing pace and flow, BSL order, placements, referents, enumeration, non-manual features (eyebrows, head shaking/nodding), appropriate facial expressions matching emotions, handshapes and movements, location/position, direction/orientation;, finger spelling correctly mouthing names for people, places and objects
  • be able to take part in a basic conversation in BSL, taking in turns using appropriate eye contact and eye gaze of 4-5 minutes duration:
  • getting around, give, ask for and understand directions in a building, describing familiar places and buildings, giving and asking for information on travel and transport in relation to everyday activities; work/social sitations;
  • sharing information about people,, everyday life, daily routines;
  • commenting on and describing different types of weather in context with everyday situations,

How will I be assessed?

This course has no formal qualification; however, your work in class will be assessed by your tutor in order to enhance your learning. You will be expected to take these assessments.

You will have opportunities to review your own progress and reflect on how you can further improve your language skills. You will set up your own personal targets (tasks, presentation etc.,) which will be reviewed by your tutor.

Will I gain any qualifications?

Please note that this is a non-accredited course. A certificate of achievement may be requested on completion of the course.

What could this course lead to?

After completing BSL Beginners Plus module 2*, you will be able to join BSL Improvers module 1*.

After completing BSL Improves module 1, you will be able to join BSL Improvers module 2*

After completing BSL Improvers module 2, you will be able to join BSL Improvers module 3*

*Please note that we cannot guarantee that this level will be offered as all courses are planned subject to sufficient demand.

How will I learn?

Interactive hands-on approach using a variety of teaching methods, watching tutor demonstrations, and participating in individual, pair and group work. A variety of IT resources include internet access and watching BSL clips. We aim to match the teaching to a wide range of individual learning styles and to make your learning enjoyable, challenging and rewarding. You will be given homework to complete after each session and you will need to devote some time to practise regularly.

Your commitment as a learner

  • Attend every session of your course. If you need to miss a class, please let your tutor know in advance; Learners should consider their personal commitments and circumstances that may prevent attendance before enrolling on a course as missed classes will affect their learning. Missed classes cannot be taken at another time;
  • Have sufficient time for self-study and completion of homework; In order to maximise your learning, we strongly recommend that you spend at least 15 minutes every day (2 hours per week) on self-study, homework, language practice, watch BSL clips online, etc.,
  • Complete the course
  • Complete all the assessments;

What do I need to bring with me?

You will need to bring a pen, paper, ring-binder and you may be required to purchase a course book. Access to the internet is advisable for receptive skills practice. Public Libraries and all BAES adult education centres offer internet access.

Online information - suggested website links, Deaf clubs and books

It is recommended that you watch BSL clips online, to help with receptive skills practice at home,

Useful websites:
The BAES online course directory:

Deaf clubs:
The Deaf Cultural Centre, Ladywood Road, Birmingham, B16 8SZ
Walsall Deaf people’s Centre, 59a Lichfield Street, Walsall, WS4 2BX
Henry Fry Centre, Hertford Place Coventry, CV1 3JZ
Rycote Centre, Parker Street, Derby, DE1 3HF

Suggested books:
Thompson, Alan, (2003) Easy Way Guide to Signing, Jak Books Limited
Smith Cath, (2005) Let’s Sign Pocket Dictionary: BSL Concise Beginner’s Guide
Communication Link - A Dictionary of Signs - Beverley School for Deaf Children

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