Mary Jones teaches British Sign Language for Adult Learning Wales, a role that she’s had for over 15 years.
As a Deaf person, Mary has adapted creative ways of teaching, allowing her to connect with her learners. She teaches classes of parents, carers, and families of children who are Deaf or have autism. Mary says, “Widening access to BSL opportunities is important to me and knowing that my role has made a difference to people’s lives, keeps me motivated. I love teaching and I want every learner to enjoy their time with me.”
Mary is always looking for ways to update her teaching skills and keep her learners fully engaged. During the pandemic she adapted her courses to deliver them online, using new learning platforms, and finding different ways to deliver BSL.
The online courses were a great success with not only existing learners but attracting new learners as well. Many of the courses are linked to employment opportunities with some learners going onto work in schools to support autistic children.
BSL communication is essential for families with children who are Deaf, it has a huge impact on their family life, their ability to develop to progress at school and to feel connected.
Mary is now looking forward to retirement, she says, “I’m now 70 and I’ve decided it’s time to retire – I’ll miss it. I’m not sure what I’ll do next, but I will always encourage people to take up new interests and develop their skills. I really do believe that we should keep learning whatever stage of life we are at. It’s so good for our health and wellbeing.”