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British Sign Language - Improvers (Module 1 & Module 2)

Course aims

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

Course length

Improvers - Module 1: 20 hours (10 weeks)

Improvers - Module 2: 20 hours (10 weeks)

Who is this course for?

The course is suitable for anyone who:

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

Entry requirements

BSL competence standards include requirements for candidates 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

Improvers - Module 1:

  • Understand signed communication and questions asked in a given range of topics;
  • Use BSL to communicate on a given range of topics, such as hobbies and interests of self and others;
  • Give, ask for and understand information relating to age, time, money and calendar information;
  • Describing or giving and receiving information about people, pets, furniture and objects, (size, colour, shape and location);
  • Give, ask for and understand information on food and drink;
  • Produce signs with correct hand shape, location/position and direction/orientation;
  • fingerspell correctly;

Examples of topics which may be explored include: personal information, family, hobbies and interests, work and study, holidays, calendar information, transport, food & 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.

Improvers - Module 2:

  • Understand another BSL user, and ask/answer simple questions about everyday situations
  • To know some basic linguistics and features for communicating in BSL (signing space, correct hand shapes, placements, sign pace and flow, facial expressions, numbers, syntax)
  • Take part in a simple BSL conversation, taking in turns using eye contact and eye gaze of 4-5 minutes duration:
  • getting around, giving directions, describing buildings, travel modes
  • sharing information about everyday life, daily routines or asking and giving information people
  • 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.

Throughout your course, you will be required to complete your Individual Learning Plan (or Personal Action Plan) which includes your learning objectives, long and short term goals.

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 (task, project, etc.) which will be reviewed with your tutor via tutorials on a one-to-one basis.

A certificate of achievement may be requested on completion of the course.

Will I gain any qualifications?

Please note that this is a NON-ACCREDITED course.


What could this course lead to?

After completing BSL Improvers module 1, you will be able to join BSL Improvers module 2* (non accredited)..

After completing BSL Improvers module 2, you will be able to join BSL Lower Intermediate 1* (non accredited).

*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. 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, etc.
  • Complete the course
  • Complete all the assessments;

Our courses are funded by the government on that understanding.

What do I need to bring with me?

You will need to bring a pen, paper, ring-binder for hand-outs). Access to the internet is advisable for receptive skills practice. All public libraries and BAES adult education centres offer this access.

Online Information

A range of online information is available. It is recommended that you watch BSL video clips, to help with receptive skills practice at home:,,,, ABC Awards

Suggested books, websites and Deaf Clubs:

Books: Thompson, Alan, (2003) Easy Way Guide to Signing, Smith Cath, (2003) Let’s Sign Pocket, Dictionary Communication Link, A Dictionary of Signs, Beverley School for Deaf Children


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

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