You may have noticed that the site has been offline for a few days and now it’s back, with a new theme.
Unfortunately the reason for this, is that the theme I had installed before was prone to malicious attacks and my site was brought down for a few days.
I’m glad to say we’re all back up and running with a copy of all the blogs and comments back online. However I haven’t had the chance to sit down and look for a new theme properly, so this one is here temporarily until I find something else I like!
In the mean time, check back over the coming weeks and I’ll try and get some more BSL content on here.
Unfortunately it looks as though my Level Three BSL qualification is going to have to wait, as it seems there wasn’t enough uptake on the course I was enrolled in.
I’m not too down about it, but I am going to try and get to more BSL events and keep up my practice until another course starts.
I was in two minds about the course, but enrolled because it fitted in with my Uni time-table and my budget! Though it seems it wasn’t meant to be, as I’ve taken the cancellation as a sign I should concentrate on other things right now.
As an alternative to BSL during my second year of my IT degree, I’ve decided to campaign for the post of Communications Officer at the Student Union. Hopefully this position will enable me to be more in touch with the Deaf community at the college and get to know a few more people who I can practice with.
In the mean time, there may not be much to blog about on here, but I keep another blog about my endeavours outside of BSL over at www.oodelallyd.com
So this week I’ve been working in a computer shop in Blackpool, covering for a member of staff who is away on holiday. When I first went to the shop I noticed a sign for foundation BSL courses on the till, being run by Fylde Coast BSL. When I asked who put the poster up, I found out that Jan (my level two teacher) was actually a regular at the shop!
Today, Jan came in with a bit of a problem with some ink cartridges, and it really highlighted to me how rusty my signing has become in such a short space of time.
I really struggled with basics like “how long” and “how much” and even my numbers!
Since finishing level two I’ve signed maybe once or twice, but have been signing along to songs but only in my head.
Trying to hold a general conversation today I’ve realised I definitely need to practice with other people and not just in front of a mirror in order to try and increase my vocabulary and keep my eye in!
I’m starting level three later on this month so hoping to make it along to a few sign sessions before then, either at The Crown coffee mornings, or at the Devonshire Arms. I might even eventually make it along to BSL karaoke!
Really looking forward to getting back into my signing with level three, even though I’m a bit worried I won’t be as good as the others in my class! Hopefully it will all come flooding back soon!
I’ve been a huge fan of singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran since seeing his SB.TV debut on YouTube over a year ago and having seen him live twice this year I can’t proclaim his brilliance much more than I already do. However, I was recently blown away by the video for his next single, coming out in September called You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.
The video focuses on a young black guy (Matthew J Morgan) signing the lyrics to the song. Obviously as it’s a music video there are other aspects to the final product, however much of the song can be seen in BSL. The guy signing has a brilliant intensity which I feel draws you into the lyrics of the song. It’s a really powerful tune, and I think Ed and his team did an amazing job in producing such a power yet uncomplicated video.
You can watch the video online on Ed Sheeran’s YouTube page as well as much more music from Ed.
So the last you heard I was about to appeal my level two, 203 exam results, which was my conversation about food and drink a while back.
Thankfully, I recieved a call last week to say that the decision had been made and my appeal was successful, meaning I only needed to pass 202 (the presentation) and I would be getting my level two qualification.
I meant to blog a while back saying that I got my 202 results and passed, but evidently I forgot in the excitement of it all, as I was pretty sure I’d failed that exam miserably!
So yeah, looks like I’ve successfully completed my level two BSL qualification! Thanks to Michelle and Jan at Fylde Coast BSL for helping me to get my qualifications and believing in me during the appeal process! It really means a lot.
I’d love to continue onto Level 3 BSL, but I’m not sure I will be able to handle it with my other commitments. I learned today that I have also been successful in passing my HND Computing course, with a commendation from the exam board and a majority of distinctions across the two years of study. I’ll be going back to Uni in September to top up to an ordinary degree, and from there hopefully an honours and PGCE! The long term goal is to be qualified to teach young adults IT, and maybe even sign language if I can keep up my practice.
So there we have it. It’s likely that I’m going to take a break from blogging over the summer, and come September when I know more about the Degree workload I’ll make a decision about starting Level 3 BSL.
Thanks for all your lovely comments and support through level two, and I’ll be blogging one final post before I have a break in response to a comment from Beth soon.
Best of luck to anyone waiting to take exams or get their results!
So. I failed.
I received a phone call last week to let me know that I didn’t pass my 203 BSL exam, which was the conversation on Food & Drink.
I was completely shocked when I found out, as I’d practiced as much as I could, wasn’t nervous or anxious about the exam before hand and felt over all that the conversation went really well. Obviously I was mistaken.
My exam results came back to show that I lost a lot of marks for lack of facial expression and BSL order, which I thought were some of my strongest assets!
Anyway, every cloud has a silver lining, or so they say! My tutor has decided to appeal the decision about my grade after watching the video again. I believe one other person in my class is in a similar situation, again someone who I did not expect to fail the exam!
Fingers crossed the appeal decision is a pass and then I can get back to worrying about my 202 result!
Also want to congratulate those of my classmates who did pass the exam and wish the best of luck to those who are going to re-take. Let’s hope I don’t have to join them though!
So, I took the last of my level two exams on Monday night. A 3-4 minute presentation on one of three topics from your chosen theme (my theme was Travel & Holidays and my topic was “Being Lost”). I have to say, I found the entire experience completely horrific! I was suddenly extremely nervous when I sat down in front of the camera, and it took me an inordinate amount of time to compose myself and be ready to start filming! I did manage to get in all the necessary criteria, which included one or more role shifts, four finger spellings and a multi-channel sign, as well as the usual expectations like strong BSL order and hand shapes. However what I fell down on, was my flow. It was practically non-existant!
I really struggled to string together the different aspects of my story, and it felt very jumpy in places, flitting from one topic to the next and then back to the first as I’d forgotten to include something that I’d planned to say. Altogether it felt like a complete disaster and I’ll be extremely surprised if I pass. Although if I don’t, I’ll just re-take that exam and at least then I’ll know how to prepare a bit better.
I’m also waiting on my 203 exam results, which hopefully will arrive in the new week or two, although I’m fairly confident I did well in that exam, and struggled no where near as much as I did with this one.
The 202 exam marks the end of my Level Two learning experience. I’m reluctant to start level three at the moment, as I really struggled with level two, and found my enjoyment of learning sign less than during level one.
I’m also coming to the end of my other qualification – HND Computing, which I will graduate from in July, and in September should be starting the 2nd year of an Honours degree course. I think I’m going to at least wait to see what the work load on the degree course is like before thinking about going any further with BSL.
I’m hoping to keep up my skills by attending Sign Club as often as I can over the summer, and practising with friends. I’ve recently started trying to sign along to music, so hopefully that’ll keep my confidence up until I can start level three!
In the mean time, I’ll update the blog when I recieve my exam results and hopefully my Level Two certificate!
So I took my second Level Two BSL exam last night, the topic was Food and Drink (others were Travel & Holidays or Shoppping & Spending) and the theme for my exam, which consists of a 6-7 minute conversation in BSL with my tutor, was “Trying new food and drink”. There were 2 other themes to choose from, “Eating at a cafe, fast food outlet or restaurant” or “Healthy and unhealthy food”.
The reason I chose to talk about new food and drink was because I felt I had the most real life experience with the topic and wouldn’t have to make things up on the spot, just for something to say. I think the exam went well, my tutor seemed positive after I’d finished, and the results should hopefully be in within two or three weeks, so I’ll let you know how I got on.
I’m interested to see which themes the rest of my classmates chose and how they found the exam experience. Fingers crossed for them all too!
Just a quick update on my previous blog, to say that I passed 201 with 12/12! I’m really proud of myself for doing so well, and want to congratulate my other class mates who passed with me. Now to prepare for 202 and 203!
On a separate note, I went to Blackburn on Friday afternoon, navigated their shocking one way system amidst various roadworks and diversions to find that V. Fresh was closed with a “Closed until further notice” sign. I was so disappointed, not just because it was closed, but also because there’s no sign of when it might be re-opening which is a shame.
In lieu of V. Fresh I went to Sign Club at the Devonshire Arms in Blackpool instead and was part of a volunteers meeting being organised by some of my fellow students from around the Fylde. Hopefully in the coming weeks/months some BSL students will be available for drop in sessions for the deaf community on Whitegate Drive in Blackpool, offering services like “Basic IT training”, “CV improvements” and “Confidence building”.
Hopefully I can blog more about the project over the coming months, with information about the services being offered and how people can get involved.
So once again, let me apologise for neglecting the blog for so long, but study seems to take up a disproportionate amount of my time of late, hopefully it’s all worth it!
So a few things that I’ve recently thought “I’ll blog about that” and never got around to include the following;
The child in my class (no not me!)
There’s a young girl in my Level Two class, I think she’s 10 or 11, I’m not positive. Two observations about this; firstly that the level two qualification equates to at least a GCSE, which in my opinion is material too advanced for a child of this age (although if they’re one of those super kids who do A Levels at age 5, maybe not) unless that child has extensive experience in the language, for example is deaf or has deaf relatives who they have been signing with for a long time. I wonder if it’s just me who feels this way, I don’t talk to many of my classmates about the subject as I don’t want to come across as being mean. I think it’s great that someone so young is interested in sign language and knowing more, but I think the material on level two is just that bit beyond what an 11 year old can comfortably comprehend.
Secondly, the atmosphere in the lessons is noticeably different depending on whether the young lady is with us or not, the atmosphere feels a lot more relaxed and indeed more “adult” topics of conversation are covered in her absence. I can’t decide how I feel about that, whether I think it has a negative impact, or is simply something to accept. However I wondered if anyone else has had similar experience with a young person in their class and how you felt it impacted your learning experience? How I see it is, I’m paying for these lessons and I want to gain as much as possible from each and every lesson I attend, and if that is being held back by a younger class mate, is that fair on the rest of us? Obviously, I have no experience of level two with a class of just adults, so have nothing to draw comparison from, so any comments on the topic would be greatly appreciated!
Level Two – 201 exam
So I took my 201 exam on 7th February and it was much better than I was expecting. The exam involves watching a person signing a story in four sections, and blocks of four multiple choice questions at the end of each of the four sections. In preparation for the exam we watched some example videos which were extremely fast paced and included some regional signs I had never seen before! However on the day of the exam we were lucky enough to get a signer from the North West, in fact just up the road from Blackpool in Lytham St. Anne’s and additionally a topic which we had covered recently so the signs were fresh in our memories! Not quite sure how we came to be so fortunate, but I’m definitely thankful, and hopefully got at least the 9/12 you need to pass. I’ll keep you posted.
BSL Log Book
Something that I’ve found particularly difficult about this course is the number of hours required as part of the qualification. Level Two includes at least 30 hours of “practice” which can be anything from watching signed TV, clips on YouTube, theatre, guided tours or conversations with Deaf or Hard of Hearing people.
To date I have 13 hours, which is mostly television and internet. I watched an hour long video on Diabetes the other day, just so I could put it in my log book! I also attend a local Sign Club, which runs fortnightly at the Devonshire Arms in Blackpool, but I’m struggling to get more exposure to deaf people in my local area.
I’ve decided that tomorrow I’m going to visit the V Fresh Cafe in Blackburn which has some Deaf employees, in order to get another hour or so for my log book, but I’d love to hear any other suggestions for how to get hours with the community in? Someone recently suggested trying out oovoo which is a video messaging client which a lot of Deaf people apparently use, so maybe I’ll give that a go if I find some friends to add!
So there we are, some of the topics I’ve failed to blog about since the new year! Hopefully you found them interesting to read, and I’d really appreciate your comments on any part of the post, so feel free to add your thoughts.