BLOG: Dominic, British Sign Language (BSL) Lecturer

British Sign Language (BSL) is the first or preferred language of over 87,000 deaf people in the UK. We caught up with Dominic, a native BSL user to find out about his life as a BSL Lecturer.

Hi Dominic! Why did you decide to pursue a career in BSL and how did you get there?

I started tutoring in 1997, mostly teaching Deaf Awareness and as a native BSL user I was pleased to already have the language skills needed. However, for many years I have worked in retail and still do.

As a BSL tutor I support adults and young adults to reach their potential. Following the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015, and of course Rose being on Strictly, there has been much interest in learning BSL and I have enjoyed being able to support students to achieve this.

I have enjoyed working with different organisations and like all languages I have needed to adapt to the various geographical regions I have worked within. British Sign Language has many regional variations, similar to English having colloquialisms. England and Scotland also have different assessments processes, so I have had to work with numerous processes and keep up to date with these as they change over the years.

Are there any key skills required to do your job effectively?

Native knowledge of British Sign Language, Deaf Awareness, Deaf Cultural Awareness and Hearing Awareness, and of course a good sense of humour.

What does your typical work day look like?

My typical day involves an early start and driving to Moray College UHI to prepare for the day ahead. Once the lecture starts I work with students to increase not only their understanding of BSL but also their production and receptive skills in using the language appropriately. After a fun class, I have some further paperwork to complete, and preparation for the next lecture.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best thing about my courses is my enthusiasm to ensure that all reach their full potential. I want all students to pass! It is fantastic working with young adults and seeing them achieve so much. They are quick to learn and apply this knowledge which is really encouraging to see.

What are the benefits of learning BSL?

The benefits of learning BSL is that you learn a different language. A new skill, potentially can become a second or other language.

Additionally, as a BSL learner, if in the future you meet another person who is a BSL user, you are able to communicate with them. You never know what the future holds, you may meet a BSL user through work or leisure.

Can you provide an overview of the types of roles available once students graduate?

Once students graduate from the Introduction (SCQF Level 3) or Intermediate 1 (SQCF Level 4) course they can choose to continue on to further study. Future roles of those that continue in the career path of BSL can include working alongside Deaf BSL users in the workplace or even working towards becoming a BSL/English Interpreter.

Lastly, If you were a super-hero, what type of powers would you have?

I would have the powers to make everyone use fluent British Sign Language.

You can begin your BSL journey with our SCQF Level 3 British Sign Language Introduction course and study up to our more advanced Intermediate 3 courses and beyond.

Watch Dominic's Schools class signing Jingle Bells below!