British Sign Language for Beginners (Part 1) (FLB1115A)

StaffMiss Emily Wakley - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module is broadly equivalent to A1 Basic User level of the Common European Framework and aims to:

-       Provide students with a solid foundation of the basic grammatical structures of British Sign Language, enabling    students to communicate effectively through Productive Skills, Receptive Skills, and Conversational Skills at an elementary level on a variety of basic day-to-day topics.

-       Enable students to give and understand basic information and to work towards a confident elementary level of  communicative competence in everyday situations.

-       Provide an introduction to Deaf Awareness.


ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate an elementary understanding of the basic grammatical structures of BSL.
  • 2. Comprehend the language through receptive skills and be able to back-channel in conversations to demonstrate understanding of information related to a basic range of everyday situations.
  • 3. Communicate competently on a number of day-to-day topics through signed presentations and conversations.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Understand the principles of learning a new language and organize learning with guidance from the tutor.
  • 5. Use available learning aids in a variety of media, including English texts on BSL, BSL dictionaries and video resources, to consolidate learning.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Communicate at a basic level in BSL
  • 7. Show evidence of self study and research skills used to develop language skills
  • 8. Demonstrate a basic level of Deaf Awareness in communication

Syllabus plan

The course will cover the following grammar and topics across the communication skills of reception, production and conversation: 



Signing space

Signing structure


Non-Manual Features (NMF)

Movement & Direction

Timelines (Past, Present & Future)






Introduction to BSL as a visual language

Introduction to Deaf Awareness

Greetings and Leave Takings

Family and Describing People

Describing the Home


Travel and Transport


Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning Activities33Language Classes
Guided Independent Study117Consolidate learning in class by preparing exercises and activities for class, including presentations in BSL and short written assignments in English. Watching signed clips in BSL to develop receptive skills and develop vocabulary. Learning activities are supported by various media including written English texts, online videos and DVDs.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written assignment500 words1,5,7,8Written
In-class Presentation2 minutes1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In Class Test (Productive Skills)504-5 minutes1,3,4,5,6,7,8Written feedback
In Class Test (Conversational Skills)506-8 minutes1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
In Class Test (Productive Skills)In Class Test (Productive Skills)1,3,4,5,6,7,8Referral/deferral period
In Class Test (Conversational Skills)In Class Test (Conversational Skills)1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Productive Skills Test = 50%

Conversational Skills Test = 50%

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Main English Text:

Rachel Sutton-Spence and Bencie Woll, The Linguistics of British Sign Language: An Introduction, 1998

Recommended Materials:

Cath Smith, Let’s Sign Dictionary, 2nd Edition 2009

Cath Smith, Signs Make Sense: A Guide to British Sign Language, 1990

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

A range of online and DVD video resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date

September 2014

Last revision date


Key words search

BSL, British Sign Language, Beginner