Global  

An aspiring teacher went viral teaching British Sign Language online

Video Credit: SWNS STUDIO - Duration: 02:41s - Published
An aspiring teacher went viral teaching British Sign Language online

An aspiring teacher went viral teaching British Sign Language online

An aspiring PE teacher went viral after teaching British Sign Language online - now she wants Boris to change the UK's curriculum. University of Edinburgh undergrad Holly McConnell, 18, is teaching the public how to communicate in British Sign Language (BSL) via YouTube during social distancing. She noticed the British government's daily conferences lacked a BSL translator - something she claims Nicola Sturgeon regularly has.  While making sure her profoundly deaf parents understand the latest coronavirus update, Holly's goal is for BSL to become a normalised mode of conversation. The second-year-student from Kilmarnock said: "On the news when Boris Johnson was talking about the lockdown, he didn't have an interpreter which made me a wee bit annoyed because the subtitles at home weren't working. "Not all deaf people can understand English - the grammar structures in the languages are completely different so that caused issues because we were talking about fines and the law and health and safety. "Luckily Nicola Sturgeon so far has had an interpreter with her, but obviously that's not accessible for people in the UK. "So I initially made a video talking about that - like what Boris Johnson had said. "Then I thought 'well I'm not teaching at the university at the moment - why not just start doing YouTube videos?'"I know a number of my friends wanted to learn and I feel like people should know it."Obviously I want a lot of people to see it so they can maybe become a wee bit more deaf-aware - but I was just expecting my Facebook mates to share it or watch it. "I didn't expect so many people to want to learn and to be interested."Most of the people have been really supportive - hearing people are very, very supportive and there's a big group of deaf people that are also really supportive. "They're all sharing it and telling their hearing friends to go have a look because they want their hearing friends to be able to communicate with them. "There's one or two people that haven't been supportive but that comes along with everything you're doing. "It's just about ignoring them and focusing on the positives, because I do have deaf people supporting me."Obviously it is their language so if they're supporting me then that's fine then - it's the go ahead."My mum has been my main support - she's just really happy because she knows how passionate I am and she knows how much it bothers not only me but her and her friends about the exclusion from society."Holly was scheduled to begin teaching BSL workshops to the University of Edinburgh football teams this term. "I was actually going to be sharing workshops with the sports union at the University of Edinburgh - I was going to start it with the football team and in September go and do the rest. "And I should actually be on placement at the moment but it's cancelled so at least I'm getting some experience this way."Holly, speaking to student news site The Tab, has planned to upload two videos a week to help the public avoid the cost of online courses. "Obviously we don't want to overwhelm people and with things like this, you do need to take it slow."It's not just about watching a video, it is about the practice. "BSL is not about yourself signing, it's also about watching other people signing and understanding what they're saying. "The biggest thing is to watch the videos, like my numbers video is only 15 minutes - so just fit that in, learn it and then in your households or even on FaceTime, try and say things in BSL. "Even on my videos there's a few games and accessories you can do with other people. "It's mainly just the practice, because practice makes perfect - that's the biggest thing, and spreading the word."But she does admit it's not an easy thing to learn, with major differences between spoken English and BSL - the main difference being linguistics. "The grammar and wording is completely different, you don't say words such as 'this'."For 'my name is Holly', in BSL it's 'name me Holly' - so it's very simplified. "And they don't use big words which caused issues with my vocab when I was younger. Explaining how she improved her vocab ahead of attending university, Holly said: "At primary school they would take me out of class - do extra work with me. "But then high school is the place where I found it the hardest - in English there would be all these big words and everyone would know them. "I would be sitting there like, 'i have no clue what is going on here.'"But then as I go through uni, my academic writing is getting much better so at the moment it's mainly just self teaching."Both her parents Shona, 49, and James McConnell, 64, are deaf and so BSL has always been a mode of communication for her. "Both my parents are profoundly deaf, which means they have been deaf since birth. "So it's natural to me - BSL is part of my culture, regardless of what people say. "I use it every day of my life. "Yes I can hear but it's my first language and in my home I only speak BSL - I speak English to my brother who is also hearing, but the main language we use is BSL when we're in family conversations."English is my second language. "I don't remember learning English because I was so young and I also don't remember learning BSL, so if they start at primary school or even nursery - by the time they're in high school, it should be a national exam that they can do because then they'd have their qualification. "I think it should be on the curriculum but it's just about getting there and getting interest."This is just one step to making people aware - for them to realise it should be in schools. "I'm not saying stop doing the likes of French, Spanish, German, Chinese but just put BSL within the language departments."This is just something to help change people's lives a wee bit - I can get a few other people like myself to want this, we can start making a difference and take it to the government."Now people are socially distancing, Holly thinks this is the ideal time for people to fit her videos into their day. "I understand that it can be very difficult for people because of mental health at the moment - an example is deaf people rely on deaf clubs where they meet friends, little things like that."I understand that people are feeling very low but I feel like things like this can keep them busy and empower them, make them feel good about themselves. "It keeps their brain active as well." For her next Youtube installment, Holly's going to teach greetings - like how are you, what's your name. "I've also been asking people to send me videos of them learning - I'm going to make a collaboration of the progress people have made just to show how much it's impacting people's lives and how positive it has been.Holly asks that people send these videos to her Facebook page ahead of this project: BSL with Holly. 

0
shares
ShareTweetSavePostSend
 

An aspiring PE teacher went viral after teaching British Sign Language online - now she wants Boris to change the UK's curriculum.

University of Edinburgh undergrad Holly McConnell, 18, is teaching the public how to communicate in British Sign Language (BSL) via YouTube during social distancing.

She noticed the British government's daily conferences lacked a BSL translator - something she claims Nicola Sturgeon regularly has.

While making sure her profoundly deaf parents understand the latest coronavirus update, Holly's goal is for BSL to become a normalised mode of conversation.

The second-year-student from Kilmarnock said: "On the news when Boris Johnson was talking about the lockdown, he didn't have an interpreter which made me a wee bit annoyed because the subtitles at home weren't working.

"Not all deaf people can understand English - the grammar structures in the languages are completely different so that caused issues because we were talking about fines and the law and health and safety.

"Luckily Nicola Sturgeon so far has had an interpreter with her, but obviously that's not accessible for people in the UK.

"So I initially made a video talking about that - like what Boris Johnson had said.

"Then I thought 'well I'm not teaching at the university at the moment - why not just start doing YouTube videos?'"I know a number of my friends wanted to learn and I feel like people should know it."Obviously I want a lot of people to see it so they can maybe become a wee bit more deaf-aware - but I was just expecting my Facebook mates to share it or watch it.

"I didn't expect so many people to want to learn and to be interested."Most of the people have been really supportive - hearing people are very, very supportive and there's a big group of deaf people that are also really supportive.

"They're all sharing it and telling their hearing friends to go have a look because they want their hearing friends to be able to communicate with them.

"There's one or two people that haven't been supportive but that comes along with everything you're doing.

"It's just about ignoring them and focusing on the positives, because I do have deaf people supporting me."Obviously it is their language so if they're supporting me then that's fine then - it's the go ahead."My mum has been my main support - she's just really happy because she knows how passionate I am and she knows how much it bothers not only me but her and her friends about the exclusion from society."Holly was scheduled to begin teaching BSL workshops to the University of Edinburgh football teams this term.

"I was actually going to be sharing workshops with the sports union at the University of Edinburgh - I was going to start it with the football team and in September go and do the rest.

"And I should actually be on placement at the moment but it's cancelled so at least I'm getting some experience this way."Holly, speaking to student news site The Tab, has planned to upload two videos a week to help the public avoid the cost of online courses.

"Obviously we don't want to overwhelm people and with things like this, you do need to take it slow."It's not just about watching a video, it is about the practice.

"BSL is not about yourself signing, it's also about watching other people signing and understanding what they're saying.

"The biggest thing is to watch the videos, like my numbers video is only 15 minutes - so just fit that in, learn it and then in your households or even on FaceTime, try and say things in BSL.

"Even on my videos there's a few games and accessories you can do with other people.

"It's mainly just the practice, because practice makes perfect - that's the biggest thing, and spreading the word."But she does admit it's not an easy thing to learn, with major differences between spoken English and BSL - the main difference being linguistics.

"The grammar and wording is completely different, you don't say words such as 'this'."For 'my name is Holly', in BSL it's 'name me Holly' - so it's very simplified.

"And they don't use big words which caused issues with my vocab when I was younger.

Explaining how she improved her vocab ahead of attending university, Holly said: "At primary school they would take me out of class - do extra work with me.

"But then high school is the place where I found it the hardest - in English there would be all these big words and everyone would know them.

"I would be sitting there like, 'i have no clue what is going on here.'"But then as I go through uni, my academic writing is getting much better so at the moment it's mainly just self teaching."Both her parents Shona, 49, and James McConnell, 64, are deaf and so BSL has always been a mode of communication for her.

"Both my parents are profoundly deaf, which means they have been deaf since birth.

"So it's natural to me - BSL is part of my culture, regardless of what people say.

"I use it every day of my life.

"Yes I can hear but it's my first language and in my home I only speak BSL - I speak English to my brother who is also hearing, but the main language we use is BSL when we're in family conversations."English is my second language.

"I don't remember learning English because I was so young and I also don't remember learning BSL, so if they start at primary school or even nursery - by the time they're in high school, it should be a national exam that they can do because then they'd have their qualification.

"I think it should be on the curriculum but it's just about getting there and getting interest."This is just one step to making people aware - for them to realise it should be in schools.

"I'm not saying stop doing the likes of French, Spanish, German, Chinese but just put BSL within the language departments."This is just something to help change people's lives a wee bit - I can get a few other people like myself to want this, we can start making a difference and take it to the government."Now people are socially distancing, Holly thinks this is the ideal time for people to fit her videos into their day.

"I understand that it can be very difficult for people because of mental health at the moment - an example is deaf people rely on deaf clubs where they meet friends, little things like that."I understand that people are feeling very low but I feel like things like this can keep them busy and empower them, make them feel good about themselves.

"It keeps their brain active as well." For her next Youtube installment, Holly's going to teach greetings - like how are you, what's your name.

"I've also been asking people to send me videos of them learning - I'm going to make a collaboration of the progress people have made just to show how much it's impacting people's lives and how positive it has been.Holly asks that people send these videos to her Facebook page ahead of this project: BSL with Holly.





Tweets about this