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Sign of the times as Ballinspittle video goes viral

June 3rd, 2020 5:45 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Pupils from Ballinspittle National School have made a ISL relay video

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A FUN ISL (Irish sign language) alphabet relay video made by pupils from Ballinspittle National School is highlighting the importance of being able to sign.

The school is already well versed in ISL as it has been taught there for almost six years, and ISL has come into its own in recent months during the daily Covid-19 briefings aired on television as the public become more aware of it.

School principal Tommy Gunning – who teaches ISL – told The Southern Star that he came up with the idea to make a fun video as part of their distance learning during the Covid-19 lockdown.

‘We sent them all out a letter about the idea so they all made their own videos and sent them back and we put the 26 videos together to create one video,’ said Tommy.

He said that since the lockdown they have also come up with a weekly challenge for all the students which they have wholly embraced.

‘However, this video was for the ISL ambassador group in the school who will go back to their classrooms to teach ISL to other students.’

Tommy said that ISL – which became officially recognised as a third language in Ireland in 2017 – is necessary if you want to  communicate with anyone who has a hearing deficiency and about six of his staff are trained in ISL now.

‘We’ve been involved in ISL for a long time and I suppose we are unique in that respect as most schools wouldn’t go down that road. It’s a visual language and it appeals to different pupils as well, some who may not have an interest in other languages and it’s of huge benefit to anyone who can sign.’ Tommy’s hope is that ISL will one day be introduced into secondary schools and even be introduced as a Leaving Cert subject.

To view the video on YouTube search for ISL alphabet relay Ballinspittle NS

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