Deaf Awareness Week: Introducing British Sign Language

Image shows a woman on a video call using sign language

Student Engagement Ambassador, Lara, discusses her experience completing a BSL Course and how we can all be more inclusive to the deaf community.

This week (2nd-8th May), is Deaf Awareness Week. By 2050 nearly 2.5 billion people are estimated to have some degree of hearing loss. With this projected to be 1 in 10 people, it is important the deaf community feel comfortable and included in every situation. With a few key changes I believe this to be achievable. 

Over lockdown my family saw the ‘Introducing British Sign Language’ course advertised, where they were running a promotion to learn for only £3. We all signed up and completed the first course in our own time. With all the stages available to us at any time to was accessible and a perfect qualification to achieve in lockdown. We also achieved a certificate for this initial course which leads nicely onto further courses which are on offer. 

This promotion has now been extended where students and those who can’t afford the course can pay £3 where the remainder is paid from contributions from other users. The guide price shows £15 to cover the full course price where there is also an option to pay £25 which is the normal cost of enrolment and supports other learners to study BSL and the development of further resources. These price brackets mean this is accessible to everyone to allow everyone to learn sign language. 

To sign up follow the link:

You can access Introducing British Sign Language whenever you like on your desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile. You can access the course for 2 years, where the course is designed to be studied over approximately 16-20hrs which can equate to 1.5 – 2hrs/week. One particularly useful part to learn is the finger spelling chart, as if you haven’t learnt the word yet it can be used to spell it out. Have a look at it and see how long it takes you to remember it all! See if you can spot any patterns?  

(hint: look at the vowels) 

Image shows the BSL Alphabet and directs users to go to

How can we be more inclusive to the deaf community in everyday life? 

With the major growth of technology, the inclusivity aspect of this technology has also developed. With access to subtitles or enclosed captions there are often multiple contact methods for deaf users. Although this is not always the case, it is worth bearing in mind when posting to social media or setting up a website. 

Most people with hearing loss rely on 360-degree spatial awareness to navigate, so rooms with opaque or frosted glass can be implemented into architectural design. This can mean shadows and movement can be used to anticipate when people are coming or going. For meetings and gatherings, it is always worth considering being in a circle for inclusivity and speaking clearly will allow deaf people to lip read more easily. 

Many of these things are simple but crucial changes for those in the deaf community to feel welcome and comfortable. Although Sign Language isn’t a requirement in the curriculum it is a great skill to have and means communication with the deaf community is increased significantly. I found it surprisingly easy to pick up and fun to learn as a break from writing essays for uni! 

2 thoughts on “Deaf Awareness Week: Introducing British Sign Language

  1. torres says:

    I was reading a blog post the other day on british sign language, and I learned some amazing new details from it. The author had written quite well, and I found myself going to other sites and blogs for learning more about British Sign Language. There are some great online courses out there that can help you learn this subject as well.

  2. Torres says:

    There are many reasons why British Sign Language (BSL) is important. For one, it is the native language of a large number of people in the UK who are deaf or have hearing impairments. BSL is also a vital form of communication for people who may not be able to speak openly, such as those who are shy or have speech impairments. It can also be used as a form of visual communication in noisy or crowded environments where spoken language would be difficult to hear or understand. BSL is also an important part of deaf culture and helps to promote social inclusion. In general, BSL is an important tool for communication and should be respected as a legitimate language. Read another amazing blog:

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