Published October 2013
Tutor’s work is hands-on
By Anna Smith
A series of taster sessions is under way to offer people the chance to sign up to new skills.
Tutor Debbie Jervis has set up the Hands-On sessions across Northumberland to teach the basics of sign language.
The experienced teacher, who is deaf herself, is offering informal basic tuition at various venues, but learners can also take more advanced Level 1 or 2 British Sign Language courses.
Mrs Jervis teaches using visual displays, but also has an interpreter at hand from Access to Work to help with communication.
She said, “I have been teaching for 20 years and had my own business for three years. I stopped that, but my mother encouraged me to go back to it and the children have grown up now so I thought I would give it a try.
“When I first started doing this it was in 1997 and I was really nervous. At that time I didn’t have an interpreter so there was just me as a deaf person with 16 people in a class. I worked all over the region so I got used to it. Now I’m the only deaf person in Northumberland who is teaching. There are lots of people teaching in the North East, but I’m the only tutor here.
“Sign language is for any age, whether you are hard of hearing or not.”
Sessions are available at Reiver House, Morpeth, today and on October 25, as well as November 1, 8, 14, 22 and 29 and December 6, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.
They are at Morpeth Methodist Church on October 24, November 7 and 14, from 10am to noon, and at Ashington High School every Tuesday, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
The first session is free and others cost £5 each for two hours. For further information visit www.handsonbsltuition.co.uk or call 07534 030419.