BSL Level 6 course or Level 6 Certificate In British Sign Language enables you to develop and understand complex language when using BSL. This is an advanced course so you will need to have regular contact with native sign language users or Level 6 BSL users to complete the course. The course is aimed at learners who intend to use BSL at a professional level.
Learners need to show competence in both receptive and productive BSL skills across all the topics that make up the Level 6 qualification. You will need to complete 360 learning hours to achieve the qualification
Signature BSL Level 6 Certificate
There are 4 main modules that need to be covered on the Level 6 curriculum. You can find the full details on the Signature website. Below is a summary of those details:
- Using receptive and productive skills to engage in all types of complex social interaction. For example, you should be able to adapt and respond to opinions, attitudes and feelings.
- Using and understanding complex language, and maintain fluency, grammatical accuracy and coherence in sustained contributions containing complex language.
- Understand sustained signed discourse containing complex language.
- You should be able to use reference sources to confirm or clarify the meaning of signs
BSL is explored for professional and informal settings so you will develop language skills to meet the needs of deaf people in a range of environments.
You will cover several complex topics including:
- Medicine e.g. dealing with medical jargon. You are also likely to cover topics such as the medical model vs the social model of deafness
- Employment and Business e.g. Access to Work
- Current news
- Politics & law
- Society e.g. social exclusion
- Science and technology
Your skills will be assessed in various ways, and you will be expected to participate in a range of activities such as presentations, discussions, and group debates. Some course providers give students the opportunity to take part in discussions with Deaf community members.
Assessments and evidence
BSL level 6 involves collecting a portfolio of evidence to show you can use BSL competently in a variety of situations. There are 6 assessments that are collated together as evidence:
Assessment 1 is an informal discussion showing your abilities to use persuasive e.g. persuading a friend to join a gym
Assessment 2 is an informal group debate showing your ability to provide a consistent line of reasoning on a topic you have researched.
Assessment 3 is a formal group meeting e.g. a business meeting. This assessment allows you to show your ability to use the appropriate language for negotiating an agreement.
Assessments 1 – 3 are internal assessments. Assessment 4, 5, and 6 are marked externally by Signature:
Assessment 4 is a formal discussion showing your ability to discuss and critically analyse topics you have researched.
Assessment 5 is a formal presentation. Again, this allows you to show your critical analysis skills on a topic you have researched.
Assessment 6 is a receptive skills task
Level 6 Certificate in British Sign Language Studies
The Level 6 Certificate in Sign Language Studies is offered by the Institute of British Sign Language (iBSL).
Level 6 is divided into 3 modules:
IBSL6AUN: Understand complex BSL in a wide range of work situations
IBSL6ASN: Use complex BSL in a wide range of work situations
IBSL6ALN: BSL linguistics: theory and practice
Unfortunately, iBSL do not share their qualification specification or their assessment process which means you as a learner cannot do a fair comparison between awarding bodies. However, iBSL requirements to create a portfolio is similar to Signature and the collection of evidence is likely to follow a similar procedure. IBSL also indicate that you need to complete 360 learning hours to achieve the qualification.
You can find iBSL registered course providers on the iBSL website.
Centres offering BSL Level 6
Below is a list of course providers who are currently advertising BSL Level 6 courses:
Other factors to consider
The key to success with a BSL Level 6 course is having regular contact with the deaf community. Meeting deaf people on a regular basis helps with practising discussion topics that are covered on the BSL level 6 course. Some course providers help students gain the practise they need by asking native BSL users to visit classroom sessions
BSL interpreting courses
Once you have completed your BSL level 6 qualification, you will be able to progress to the Level 6 Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting. Once you start your interpreting course, you can register as a trainee Sign Language Interpreter (TSLI).
TSLIs are allowed to work as interpreters but trainees are limited in the type of work they can do. For example, you would not be able to attend police interviews or mental health appointments If you would like to find out more about what it’s like to be a fully qualified interpreter you can check out our post on becoming a sign language interpreter. Don’t forget to look through our other study guides such as our list of BSL books and other learning resources you will need to complete your course.
The BSL Level 6 course takes a lot of time to complete. This is because the topics you cover are more complex and more relevant to the everyday lives of the deaf community. There are lots of bona fide course providers to choose from so finding a level 6 course is actually quite easy to do.
Are you considering a BSL Level 6 course? What information will help you make your decision? Leave us a comment below and let us know your thoughts!