BSL QED Research part 7

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BSL QED Research part 7

The team were also able to identify problem areas.  It appeared that the way the subject of the order in BSL was taught in relation to grammar and topic was rather haphazard and this area lacked specific attention.  There was no uniformity which of course is not surprising since there is no established national curriculum available to teachers.  This is a long term project and hopefully funding can be obtained for the purposes of researching in to the order of sign language and how best to teach this to learners.


Spoken languages have had the benefit of many years of research and work in order to agree on the most appropriate grammatical order of sentences produced in a particular language.  Each language such as French, Spanish or German have there own linguistic rules about order and they are all different.  This means that there is a particular way that the subject of order is taught for each language so that learners learn to speak the language correctly.  Each language is different and so that explains why so many variations in the rules of linguistic order exist.  For some language grammar maybe less complicated that in another language and so the rules will naturally differ.   These rules have been established as a result of research and the same needs to happen in BSL.  We need to see the emergence of curriculum commonalities in those linguistic features such as order which are central to the acquisition of sign language.  


Although teaching about Deaf culture was taking place it was only to a certain degree or level.  There was no real depth in what was being taught and especially how cultural issues profoundly influence the way sign language is produced and understood.  A curriculum needs to be developed that incorporates Deaf culture in most aspects of language learning.  Deaf culture needs to be embedded into the teaching of BSL ensuring the learners simultaneously learn how to produce BSL and learn about Deaf cultural issues.


The team also noticed that Curricula, in general, lacked evidence of learning outcomes which showed that when the curriculum was being developed it was not underpinned by learning outcomes which is what is expected.  Universities have their own established learning objectives and assessments and so when courses are designed the curriculum will, as a matter of course, be designed with learning objectives and assessments in mind.  


Although centres had their own assessments this was also identified as a weakness as the procedures were too varied at times did not reflect learning objectives.  It is fine to run your own assessments and exams.  This is what universities do.

It was also observed that some curricula were too ‘area specific’ which meant that the course lacked a wider range of domains.  This was opposed to other courses who offered a wider curriculum.  Some courses were rather old fashioned which was to be expected considering they had been running for a number of years.  Some courses don’t use any technology and there is no expectation to use technology whilst other courses include the use of technology.  This is fine since curriculum can be modified in order to use technology or not. 

Expectations vary in relation to the different levels learners expect they will reach and this can lead to difficulties because of the lack of uniformity the levels being taught.


Sometimes there is too much reliance upon English.  This can be understandable and ways should be found in order to reduce this reliance upon English and English text that is often provided.  Finger-spelling also was used too much on some courses.  Finger-spelling is a very important part of sign language but students need to be taught about all aspects of sign language.  Primarily they need to acquire skills to help them habitually think visually when using sign language.  Of course finger-spelling has a role and should be used as and when necessary but it shouldn’t be the central part of a discourse.


Identifying difference and making comparison was an extremely helpful part of the process and equipped the team to mover forward with developing the project curriculum.

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