A new way to learn
For the last eight weeks I have been learning the basics of British Sign Language (BSL). Looking back I am not entirely sure I knew what I was getting myself into at the time, in fact between you, me and the laptop, had I known at the time I might not have signed up! That said, as with a lot of my best learning experiences, sometimes it is a good thing just to do it and see what happens.
You can imagine that at Graeae (yes, of Paralympic Opening Ceremony fame) it is important we all understand the importance of what we have come to call the aesthetics of disability. I refer to aesthetics in its true meaning, of knowing through the senses, and what it might mean when those senses are configured differently to others. As part of the etiquette of our training we are asked not to verbalise and this means that much of the training is conducted in near silence. I have never experienced anything like this before and it has been extraordinary. Don’t worry I’m not going to go on and say it has given me new insights into how it must be to be Deaf or hard of hearing for that would plainly be a nonsense.
What I mean is that it has taught me something about me, what I rely on, how I learn, and how important it is to come out of my comfort zone from time to time.