South African Sign Language Certificate

General

Program Description

Learn to communicate with the Deaf community


The Wits Language School program is designed to meet the needs of participants who wish to learn South African Sign Language, a visual language that is unlike spoken languages. We provide a dynamic, fun learning environment in which to improve your skills with experienced and competent Deaf trainers. South African Sign Language (SASL) is used by approximately 2 million Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing South Africans. It is a unique and real language recognized as a first language by many members of the Deaf Community in South Africa.

Learning South African Sign Language will expose you to a new cultural and linguistic community, whilst at the same time helping you realize the importance of being able to communicate and understand Deaf people - an employee, a client, a friend, a family member. More and more hearing South Africans are learning South African Sign Language to improve relationships between hearing and Deaf people.

Why Learn South African Sign Language?

  • involving Deaf people in conversations rather than isolating them
  • incorporating the use of Sign Language interpreters or speech-to-text reporters to include Deaf people and promote inclusivity in the workplace
  • educating the public to improve communication with Deaf people so that they stop believing in myths such as shouting louder in order to be understood

Our contribution at the Wits Language School is to advance Sign Language literacy through quality Sign Language training. Through this training, you will learn to communicate with customers and colleagues who are Deaf. South African Sign Language is probably our oldest indigenous language and is the most basic human right of the Deaf Community. It has become widely recognized and protected in various legislative and governmental policies (and is even acknowledged as a language equal in status to the 11 official languages in the country).

1. Public Courses

Our public courses are divided into three levels and each level has two modules (A & B). Each module consists of 40 contact hours and runs for 9 weeks every Saturday from 08h30 - 13h00. Courses are run subject to a minimum number of 10-course participants. If you have some knowledge of the language already, you will be pre-assessed by the SASL academic program coordinator in order to determine your level of proficiency.


Certification and assessment

A Certificate of Attendance is generally issued when Beginner’s Module A has been completed. Thereafter, students may opt for either a Certificate of Attendance or a Certificate of Competence for each module. 75% attendance is required for a Certificate of Attendance. If your aim is to obtain a Certificate of Competence, you will be required to participate in a series of assessments (written and signed). If you pass those tests, you will qualify for a Certificate of Competence. Please note that you must decide beforehand if you wish to complete a Certificate of Attendance or Competence. If you wish to study further, you will need to complete a Certificate of Competence.


What are the courses about?

SASL Beginner’s Module A

This course, the first of two courses at Level 1, provides an introduction to SASL to be used for general, basic communication.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Use limited SASL vocabulary but correct finger spelling and basic sign language structure.
  • Interact in SASL in a simple way using simple phrases to describe, discuss and ask about everyday topics as well as topics associated with areas of immediate need (including greetings, talking about the family, occupations, daily routines, social arrangements).
  • Ask and answer questions.
  • Ask for and give information about dates and time.

SASL Beginner’s Module B

This course is the second part of the Level 1 Beginners course in SASL, to be used for general, basic communication with signers of the language.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe familiar people, places and events, holiday destinations and the weather.
  • Ask about and give personal descriptions of oneself and others.
  • Express likes and dislikes.
  • Ask for and give directions.
  • Request information and permission.
  • Conduct short personal interactions.
  • Deliver a monologue of not less than three minutes on familiar topics, such as personal information, social information, and/or general information about people and things within the person’s own experience, or specific situations or topics which have been well rehearsed.
  • Understand short signed dialogues describing a situation, place or event.
  • Show that they understand Deaf culture in everyday conversations.

SASL Pre-intermediate Module A

This is a pre-intermediate course, the first of two courses at Level 2, to be used in general, simple communication with signers of SASL.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Communicate and maintain short conversations to describe events, people, and objects in simple terms maintain communication that deals with the direct exchange of information, as well as the recounting of a signed conversation.
  • Understand specific predictable information in everyday conversations on a familiar topic.
  • Understand short, simplified signed monologues.
  • Ask questions about a signed monologue on a familiar topic in preparation for paraphrasing it.
  • Summarise the main points of a short simple signed text, using a role shift where necessary.

SASL Intermediate Module B

This is an intermediate course, the second course at Level 2, to be used for general and specific communication with users of the language.

At the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Hold conversations with Deaf individuals and groups of Deaf people on familiar topics as well as unfamiliar topics and activities.
  • Use a series of correctly structured phrases to describe family and other people, living conditions, educational background and most current or most recent job.
  • Maintain communication that deals with both direct and indirect exchange of information.
  • Explain complex processes to Deaf individuals and groups of Deaf people using SASL.
  • Understand the main point of short, clear visual input such as short signed conversations.
  • Understand specific predictable information in every day signed conversations, as well as short signed monologues that deal with unfamiliar topics.

SASL Upper Intermediate Module A

This course, the first of two modules at Level 3, aims to offer an upper intermediate A course for South African Sign Language to be used for specific sustained communication with users of the language.

At the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Communicate regarding specific concrete and abstract tasks requiring a sustained exchange of information on topics and activities.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of sustained signed conversations relating to areas of general relevance as well as unfamiliar topics that are delivered clearly by first language signers.
  • Use a series of correctly structured phrases to discuss a practical problem and offer a solution and describe and facilitate the completion of complex arrangements with Deaf people using SASL.
  • Use productive functions from the previous level with more accuracy and fluency in signing, express uncertainty, talk about economic, social and cultural aspects of a region, city or country, talk about advantages and disadvantages, report what someone else has said, make suppositions, talk about hypothetical situations, talk about changes in society and talk about looking for work.
  • Practice receptive skills in the topics above, watch extended conversations for personal information and to understand points of view (both predictable and unpredictable).
  • Build on previous knowledge of Deaf culture acquired up to intermediate level, and demonstrate knowledge of technology, services, and education for the Deaf.

SASL Upper Intermediate Module B

This is an upper intermediate B course (the second module at Level 3), to be used for specific sustained communication with users of the language. At this level, the learner has a comprehensive knowledge of the most important language structures.

At the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Ask questions on a signed monologue and a signed text on an unfamiliar event or topic in preparation for paraphrasing and summarising.
  • Paraphrase a signed monologue on an unfamiliar event or topic using a series of correctly structured phrases.
  • Summarise the main points of a signed text on an unfamiliar topic using South African Sign Language.
  • Deliver a variety of prepared presentations relating to an unfamiliar event or topic and answer questions related to these presentations.
  • Narrate a story or relate the plot of a book or film and describe their reactions.
  • Understand the main point of many radio and TV programs on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear.
  • Understand sustained signed conversations and monologues relating to abstract and/or unfamiliar topics or events.

Fees include tuition fees, course material, administration and certificate fees and assumes a class size of a minimum of ten people. For smaller groups, the course fee is calculated according to group size. Private/semi-private classes are also available on request.

2018 SASL Morning Classes: 08:30-13:00
Course fee: R5,700

2018 SASL Evening Classes: Based on demand

Course fee: R6,000


2. Corporate Courses

Our corporate courses are aimed at organizations, private and public, that need to train staff in SASL. The courses are tailored to the language needs of the client and are offered at the client’s premises or at Wits University.


The Program

Courses are structured on a modular basis. In order to complete a level, you are required to attend two courses – Module A followed by Module B.


Program Module Duration

Level 1: Beginner’s Module A - 40 hours Beginner’s Module B - 40 hours.

Level 2: Pre-Intermediate Module A - 40 hours Intermediate module B - 40 hours.

Level 3: Upper Intermediate Module A - 40 hours Upper Intermediate Module B - 40 hours.


Please note the following:

  • Corporate courses are offered on a part-time basis.
  • Certificates and Assessments are the same as for the public courses.


3. Private Tuition and Small Groups

Private classes are arranged for students unable to join regular classes or who have specific language needs not easily accommodated in other teaching settings.

Small classes are for the general public and for corporate clients when regular group classes cannot be arranged. These are particularly suitable for students at higher levels.

The cost of private tuition is made up of tuition, materials, and transport (optional).

Fees are charged per hour and vary according to the number of hours you register for and the number of participants.


Please note: Evening classes will only run if there is enough interest.

Last updated November 2018

About the School

Wits Language School was established in 1997 and is part of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The school offers a wide range of language courses and ser ... Read More

Wits Language School was established in 1997 and is part of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The school offers a wide range of language courses and services, namely: African, Asian & European languages, English as a foreign language, English as a second language, language teacher education and translation & interpreting services and courses. Due to the demand from public and private organizations, the Wits Language School also offers in-house corporate language courses which are designed around an organization’s specific needs. We also provide language policy advising to organizations. Wits Language School takes pride in the quality of its highly-qualified personnel, excellent service and the high standard of its language courses that are based on sound research and academic principles. All language courses are taught by mother-tongue speakers. Read less