Author: Julie-Anne Mackenzie, SCILT
Recently, the third and final event in this series of seminars took place in Victoria Quay in Edinburgh. The events brought together a variety of stakeholders from across the deaf community, Scottish Government, GTC, SQA and Scottish Universities Insight Institute to plan for provision of British Sign Language (BSL) as an additional language taught in Scotland’s schools. BSL is capable of being used to discuss high-level and abstract issues and could sit perfectly alongside the more commonly taught languages such as French, German and Spanish, within a wider range of language learning options.
Following the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015, Scottish ministers “are to promote and facilitate the promotion of the use and understanding of BSL”. This, along with the 1+2 Approach, has provided an unprecedented opportunity for BSL to play a part in language diversity in mainstream schools, for example as an L3. It will also allow schools to benefit from the expertise of BSL users who have not previously been part of mainstream education.
The key message is that learning BSL as a language is beneficial for both deaf and hearing children. For members of the deaf community, this is a huge step forward in formalising BSL teaching and learning, and working towards ensuring high standards across BSL provision.
The optimism and enthusiasm for what might be possible was obvious to all and a clear plan for all parties was discussed and debated. It is a very exciting time for BSL users as the profile of the language continues to be raised, understanding is increased and provision is improved.
Please look at the Scottish Universities Insight Institute webpages, Teaching BSL in schools, for further information.
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