Schools, businesses and individuals are being invited to take part in one of the biggest online Sign Language lessons ever held during Sign Language Week 2021.
New Directions Education already has more than 5,000 attendees signed up to its Biggest Ever Online Sign Language Lesson, which takes place free of charge on Thursday, 18th March. The lesson, suitable for adults and children studying in Year 3 and upwards, will be delivered online via Microsoft Teams by accredited trainer Derek Tune.
Derek has taught an introduction to Sign Language to thousands of children and adults for over 20 years. He also forms part of an accredited training team within New Directions Education who delivers free Sign Language and first aid training to children in schools, and just before the pandemic they had taught over 10,000 children the basics of sign in just one year.
It was following a near-fatal vehicle crash, where the individual who saved Derek’s life that day was deaf, that Derek understood the importance of increasing the awareness of Sign Language, and he was determined to make a difference to people’s lives.
Derek said: “It was during my rehabilitation from an accident in 1994 that I decided to learn sign. I saw others around me who were struggling to communicate after their own injuries and illnesses, and therefore the experience led me to learn the basics of sign. I also developed a new single-handed communication technique for those who may have suffered strokes or other debilitating illnesses too.
“For me, it is essential for children and adults to understand Sign Language just as much as any other language. With further awareness and use of sign, we can create all sorts of opportunities and open every door possible to those with communication difficulties, as well as those with hearing disabilities.”
Gary Williams, Director of New Directions Education, said: “Whilst we are still delivering socially distanced Sign Language lessons in schools, things are undeniably different at the moment.
“We therefore wanted to do something extra special and take our sign lesson online so that everyone could join in and mark Sign Language Week 2021 simultaneously. Derek spends an hour going through the basics of sign and then concludes with everyone signing a song together – it really is such a wonderful lesson.”
Gary continued: “With over 5,000 people of all ages booked on so far, it’s certainly our biggest event to-date and dare I say we’re even looking into the possibility of it being a worldwide record!”
Mrs Morgan, Head Teacher at Birchgrove Primary School in Cardiff said: “We’ve had Derek and the New Directions Education training team come to the school a number of times to deliver their Introduction to Sign Language and First Aid lessons, and I have to say these lessons are fantastic. They really do make the children’s and our day. The Sign Language lesson in particular is really special – a treat for everyone taking part in on 18thMarch.”