Language of the term
Our language for Term 1 & 2 is
BRITISH SIGN LANGUAGE
Sign language is a way of communicating using hand gestures and movements, body language and facial expressions, instead of spoken words.
The most common form of sign language in the UK is British Sign Language. BSL is a language in its own right and is the preferred language among the Deaf community in the UK.
Saturday 23rd September is International Sign Language Day. You can find a great BBC Newsround article here: International Day of Sign Languages: What is it all about? - BBC Newsround
A signed version of Newsround is available to watch every weekday for children who use British Sign Language. The programme is also subtitled, making it fully accessible to deaf children in the UK. Watch Newsround - signed and subtitled - BBC Newsround
Have a watch and see if you can spot any of the signs that we're learning in school.
Who uses BSL?
There are about 151,000 BSL users in the UK, of whom 87,000 are deaf.
People who are not deaf may also use BSL, such as hearing relatives of deaf people, sign language interpreters, teachers and others who work with people in the Deaf community.
'Baby Signing' uses some signs from BSL. Some parents teach their babies simple signs to help them communicate when they are beginning to understand language but can't yet make the speech sounds.
Some people who have challenges with speech use Makaton, which uses signs at the same time as speech (unlike BSL which is a complete language, with grammar and special word order).
Deaf culture is multi-national, multi-lingual and rich in culture, but there are a few things that most deaf people have in common...
- Eye contact - Hearing children sometimes cover their ears when they don't want to listen to their parents. Deaf children close their eyes tight instead!
- Switching lights on / off to get someone's attention
- Waving hand or stamping feet to get someone's attention
- Flashing lights to accompany doorbell
- Using 'jazz hands' instead of clapping to applaud
What is it like being deaf?
Deaf Strictly Come Dancing competitor Rose Ayling-Ellis' performed a powerful dance routine that featured a silent section halfway through, in tribute to the deaf community.
Fingerspelling is the BSL alphabet
Certain words – usually names of people and places – are spelled out on fingers. Fingerspelling alone isn’t sign language, but it can help you to communicate with someone who is deaf.
Miss Wilson signs the BSL alphabet