Sign Language Courses

Broaden your horizons through visual communication

Sign language involves hand, face, body, and head movements to communicate. If you want to interact with the deaf community or hope to work using sign language, browse the selection of sign language courses below.
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Sign Language

Sign language is the language communicated through visual gestures and signs. It involves hand, body, face and head movements to convey meaning. While sign language is primarily used among the deaf community, thousands of people who are not deaf use sign language to communicate with deaf friends and family, interpret sign language, or in any instance of contact with the deaf community.

Many people are surprised to learn that most sign languages have little relation to the spoken language. Indeed, the sign language used in Britain (BSL) has its own grammatical structure and syntax and as a language is not dependent on or strongly related to spoken English. The isolated nature of sign language evolution means that there is even regional variation within Britain, similar to regional accents and colloquialisms in spoken languages. BSL is most closely related to sign languages in Australia and New Zealand, but actually differs from Irish sign language which is more closely related to American or French sign languages.

If you wish to communicate easily with the deaf community, a course in sign language could be right for you.

Sign Language Courses

Sign language courses are delivered at a number of levels, including informal learning, non-accredited qualifications, or accredited qualifications. 

For example, you can learn sign language informally at a deaf club or signing group. You can also study entry level sign language 1, 2 and 3 for an introduction to BLS/Family Sign Language without an accredited qualification. This is ideal for people who do not wish to work in sign language, but want to communicate with loved ones.

Accredited qualifications exist for BSL Levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 and often result in an NVQ. To work as an interpreter, you’ll need a degree of level 6 award in BSL and interpreting.

How Do I Learn Sign Language?

Sign language can be taught in-person by an instructor or can be learned through an online course. Learning in the classroom might involve demonstrations by the tutor, group and pair work, role play, games, and other modes of conversation. 

Online courses can also provide a well-rounded education in the comfort of your own home and in your own time. 

Regardless of the delivery method, students will usually learn the history and culture of sign language and the basics of the language.

Where Can I Find Sign Language Courses?

Many different groups provide sign language courses, such as: 

  • Local colleges
  • Private businesses
  • Charities
  • Volunteer groups

Search by your location to find the most suitable provider in terms of cost, location, speed of learning and course times.

Who Should Take a Sign Language Course?

Anyone who wants to improve their sign language skills should take a course. The most common reasons for studying sign language are:

  • To communicate with deaf friends, family or coworkers
  • To express yourself through body language
  • To challenge yourself and learn a new language
  • To work for an organisation that supports deaf people
  • To work in a school or college as an educational support assistant
  • To work as an interpreter

If any of these sound like you, browse our selection of sign language courses above.

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