College criticised for belittling BSL with lecturer job advert
Pembrokeshire College has come under fire for advertising for a British Sign Language (BSL) lecturer post requiring only a level one qualification in sign language.
Although the advert has been live for nearly two weeks, it began to draw criticism once it was shared on social media, specifying that the applicants need only hold a Level 1 BSL qualification, which is the equivalent of a GCSE grade D-G.
The advert calls for someone to deliver level one lessons in BSL for 2-4 hours a week and is open to individuals with or without a formal teaching qualification.
According to the Association of British Sign Language Teachers & Assessors, the professional body representing BSL teachers in the UK, the recommended minimum requirements for teaching BSL are “Level 6 in BSL, to have attended a Linguistics or BSL course and a teaching qualification, the minimum being PTLLS (Preparing to teach in lifelong learning sector)”
Olivia-Retter Maria-Dimech who is a freelance BSL/English interpreter responded to the advert on Facebook saying: “How on earth can you advertise teaching BSL requiring a minimum of Level 1 – share with fluent BSL users. Impossible to be Level 1 and fluent!! It’s like advertising a post to teach English with only an Entry Level in the language!! This would never happen. In my view it’s a disgrace. Please re-think what you’re asking here.”
Penelope Beschizza, who is a Deaf campaigner, added “This is a mix-up! Teachers who work with Deaf children – ‘minimum BSL L1’ are not Lecturers in BSL. These roles expect a minimum of BSL L3 & L6, plus Sign Linguistics!! And best be a DEAF professional.”
On Twitter “Alison”, a Deaf person and BSL user said: “This should be obvious, but it seems not, you cannot be a ‘Lecturer in British Sign Language’ if you have BSL Level 1. I am pretty sure they would not employ a Lecturer of English or Welsh for someone with GCSE grade D to G. Yet this is what is happening with BSL”
Dr Rob Wilks who is a Deaf lecturer and solicitor and leader of the law course University of South Wales tweeted “Would you employ someone with only a low grade in GCSE Welsh to teach Welsh? No, of course not. Why is it ok to do that for BSL then? Very short-sighted of you and I hope you will pull this advert and have a serious rethink.”
As well as the criticism of the advert itself, the misspelling of the word ‘language’ did not go unnoticed.