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Learn a New Skill


Number 28 on my 30 Things to do before I’m 30 list is to: Learn a new skill.

After debating what this new skill might be, I realised that the answer was glaring obvious to me. Learn British Sign Language (BSL).

It’s helpful in everyday life, it’ll be helpful at work and the reason it’s so obvious is my family.

My brother-in-law and two nephews are deaf. They are able to verbally communicate easily enough and can hear you when you talk to them – as long as there’s not too much background noise – so it’s not been something that as a wider family we’ve needed to learn. My sister (the wife and mother) of course is fluent.

As I’m not too bothered about having a ‘qualification’ in BSL, I’m teaching myself using fantastic DVD resources borrowed from the College Learning Resource Centre where I work. It’s an extra challenge to teach myself but also more of a buzz.

I’m not really wanting to be fluent – but if I’m better able to communicate with my nephews as they learn BSL too then it’s all for the best.

So far I’m finding it pretty straightforward but I’m sure that’ll change – like most things – when being used in the real world.

I think it’s important to learn a new skill from time to time. To keep your mind active and to broaden your horizons. A new skill can be anything from drawing/painting, to knitting, to learning how to drive, how to swim or ride a bike, to learning how to fix a bicycle or a car engine, to cook or to bake or a new language or playing a musical instrument – pretty much anything you can think of!

Why not give it a go? It doesn’t have to take up much time at all. I sit for an hour or two a week and learn new signs and phrases, and practice them through repetition whenever I have a free moment – even just a couple of minutes – like waiting for the kettle to boil, or for the computer to stop updating and finally switch itself on. Give it a go. Learn a new skill. And see where it’ll take you.

You can teach yourself, or join a group or learn with friends or family.


Keep Calm and Sign BSL

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