BSL QED Research part 17
As a team there were a number of issues that had to be discussed and a lot of time was spent focusing on various aspects of learning BSL. A number of decisions were outstanding because they were not easy to make and it wasn’t for the team to make final decisions without discussion particularly if they are at odds with other perspectives. So this project does not offer decisions that are final and closed. On the contrary these issues are on going and so it is hoped that discussions around various aspects of learning BSL are open ended and ongoing.
One of the sticking points centres on whether BSL curriculum is to be steered by linguistic elements rather than topic. Although we were very aware that traditionally BSL has been topic led we felt very strongly that it should be linguistics led as it is for modern spoken languages. In the case of modern spoken languages grammar is always the foundation and basis of teaching and from this everything else develops in terms of teaching structure and topics. And so there are a number of perspectives in relation to this and concern has been expressed that if grammar is the central focus then other aspects of BSL, equally important, will be sidelined. This is not necessarily the case since if the curriculum and lesson structure is planned well then teaching should be highly effective. Clearly this is an area in need of more research but for the present time the QED web-site supports the method of a linguistic/grammar led BSL curriculum.
The second contentious issue about which there has been lengthy debate is whether the modern spoken/written language curricula should be seen as completely separate to a BSL curriculum or should there be some merging. There are those who are quite adamant that one simply bears no relation to the other thus this issue should not even be considered. This perspective, of course, warrants due respect and equally, the same respect should be applied to those who feel there maybe some benefits in some sort of cross over or mix.
The QED curriculum includes some parts which reflect a combination rather than only sign language and so the curriculum has broadened out slightly. There may be potential benefits using this method and so it is an attempt to try it out and test the results. Of course users make their own choices as to how much of the curriculum they wish to incorporate into their teaching. What is evident is that this too is a significant area that requires ongoing research looking into whether modern spoken language curricula have a place in sign language curricula or is this something separate.
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