Last summer I completed my British Sign Language Level 1, and despite at the end not expecting to sign up for Level 2, here I am, getting ready to go up a stage with my signing. Last night was my first class, they're shorter 2 hour sessions, rather than the full days I did for my intensive level 1, and a lovely small class of 5 (only 4 attended last night, so who knows what happened to our extra member). Such small classes are clearly amazing for language learning, as you can't hide at the back, or stay shy.
I was concerned about my loss of language, since completing the first course, I've not practised it or kept up with it, and it's always so embarrassing being the person who clearly is behind, but luckily I was reassured when I discovered my classmates had done their level 1's much longer ago than me. Phew.
As before, there is a strict "voice off" policy in class, which is always the best way to learn a language - immersion. Our teachers push us hard, as we have to sit standardised exams, and they don't want anyone to fail, but I always feel supportive, so the nerves soon go. Almost!
Even after one session, I'm really glad I decided to head to level 2. When you first start learning any language it's always frustrating that you have to learn lists of vocabulary, and having basic conversations, that are more natural just remain out of grasp. Level 2, started with learning some of the connecting words, like 'can, can't, should, shouldn't, will, won't', which seem so small, but really felt like a huge step forward, and the type of signs I'm excited to learn.
It's a long course of 25 weeks, ending with 3 assessments; a presentation, a written exam watching a video, and a conversation. Oddly, when my teacher explained this, I was relieved! Level 1 had 3 conversations as its 3 assessments, and they're pretty stressful!