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Introduction

As a native user of Auslan, and as an advocate for the language and for the Deaf community, I am thrilled to see a national curriculum in Auslan come to fruition. For the first time, deaf children will have access to a formal first language learner pathway for acquiring Auslan, acknowledging their status and strengths as visual learners and offering a ‘Deaf gain’ perspective to their lives.

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Rationale

The formal study of Auslan contributes to the overall intellectual and social enrichment of both first language (L1) and second language (L2) learners by providing:

opportunities for engagement with the Deaf community and insight into its rich cultural heritage

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Aims

The Australian Curriculum: Languages – Auslan aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to enable students to:

communicate in Auslan
understand language, culture and learning and their relationship, and thereby develop an intercultural capability in communication

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Learning Auslan

Some linguistic features of Auslan are similar to properties found in spoken languages and others are not. For example, the 26 fingerspelled letters of the Auslan alphabet are based on the 26 letters of English.

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Learner diversity and learner pathways

Pathways
There is diversity in the background of learners of Auslan. Learners may be deaf, hard of hearing or hearing, and may be learning Auslan as a first language or as a second language.

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Developing teaching and learning

Sequences of learning
The Australian Curriculum: Languages – Auslan has two learning sequences: one from Foundation to Year 10, and another from Year 7 to Year 10 (Year 7 Entry).

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PDF documents

Resources and support materials for the Australian Curriculum: Languages – Auslan are available as PDF documents.
Languages - Auslan: Auslan glossing conventions and principles
Languages - Auslan: Auslan Glossary
 

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Glossary

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Years F–10 Sequence

The first language learner (L1) pathway is pitched at two of the many types of potential learners in the Auslan cohort:

  • native signing children from Deaf families who have fluent language models to interact with at home and have been exposed to the language since birth
  • deaf children from hearing families with parents or older relatives who have learnt to sign and exposed their children early to rich signing models, for example in bilingual preschools.

There is another significant group of children in the L1 pathway: deaf children who arrive in a signing program in their first few years of schooling. These students begin learning Auslan with limited prior experience of any language, and may have additional disabilities that are hidden because of their language delay. The L1 pathway is appropriate for them since they will be using the language for more hours a week than just in the subject, thus making faster progress with language acquisition; and they have no other language to reference, as in the L2 pathway. Teachers working with students with delayed access to Auslan will need to adapt and differentiate the curriculum extensively to scaffold their learning, particularly in their first years of study. Additionally, hearing children from Deaf families who have Auslan as a first language may also be suited to the L1 pathway of learning.

The population of children who will follow the L1 pathway therefore has great variation in Auslan proficiency. Some will have had extensive access to a range of mature language users in early learning programs, in school and at home. Others will have limited quantity and quality of input in Auslan at home and sometimes even in school, and may not have attended an early intervention signing program prior to school. This pathway is primarily pitched at those students with exposure to Auslan prior to Foundation level; delayed language learners will need extra support to participate in the learning experiences outlined in this pathway.

Typically, L1 programs occur with constant involvement from a variety of fluent signers from the community. A key expectation in the L1 pathway is that students will have opportunities to interact with elders and members of the Deaf community.

Years 7–10 (Year 7 Entry) Sequence

The nature of education of deaf students is such that some learners arrive at high school with a very limited knowledge of English, and little, if any, Auslan. These learners may have come from other countries where they have had no access to schooling for deaf children, or from educational programs overseas or in Australia from which they have learnt only rudimentary speech and language, and not had access to quality signed language models. This group of learners, therefore, comprises students who are learning their first language well beyond the age of typical language development.

As a result, this group of learners are very different from the similarly aged cohort from the F–10 sequence, who have had exposure to quality language since birth or early in life, and who approach high school learning with established fluency in Auslan, which enables them to focus much of their Auslan class time on the development of higher-order skills, such as analysis and evaluation. Learners in the L1 pathway, 7–10 sequence begin learning Auslan with limited prior experience of any language. They may have additional disabilities, sometimes hidden, often caused by their language delay. Auslan is nonetheless considered their first or primary language, due to their lack of fluency in any other language. These learners need intensive support and extensive input from rich language models, especially at the initial stages. They are unlikely to reach native-like levels of fluency in any language, but will benefit greatly from the explicit teaching of Auslan as a subject to support their language acquisition and development.

Years 7 and 8

Years 7 and 8 Band Description

The nature of the learners

The transition to secondary schooling involves social and academic demands that coincide with a period of maturational and physical change. Learners are adjusting to a new school culture with sharper divisions between curriculum areas. Learners in this pathway have had little or no experience with Auslan, but are learning it with the expectation that it will be their primary language in the future. They have a range of experience with other signed or spoken languages, or a home gesture system, but may not be fluent in any standard language, and may have associated cognitive challenges. A multilevel and differentiated approach to teaching and task design responding to this diversity of prior experience is necessary, including using as much visual support as possible.

Auslan is learnt in parallel with English literacy. Learners in this sequence and pathway have little experience of English and are learning English literacy simultaneously to Auslan. As they have no access to spoken English, this poses particular challenges. The learning of Auslan supports and enriches deaf students’ learning of English.

Auslan learning and use

Rich language input characterises the first stages of learning. Learners engage in a range of activities designed to immerse them in language scaffolded to their level of linguistic and cognitive development. They build vocabulary for thinking and talking about school and home, routines and social worlds. They interact in structured routines and activities with their peers, family members and as many fluent signing adults as possible. They are supported to use Auslan for different language functions, such as asking and responding to questions, expressing wishes, responding to directions, and taking turns in games and simple shared learning activities. Learners may initially need time to watch Auslan without pressure to respond, until they feel comfortable with the situation and context. When they produce Auslan, they use well-known phrases to participate in familiar routines and structured conversations. Over this band, they continue to develop confidence in communicating about the here and now, and gradually begin to talk about the past or future and non-present entities or events.

Contexts of interaction

Learners at this level are given as much opportunity as possible to interact with their peers, the teaching team and members of the Deaf community for additional enrichment and authentication of their language learning. Information and communication technology (ICT) resources provide extra access to Auslan and to the cultural experience of deafness. A key expectation in the L1 pathway is that students will have opportunities to interact with a variety of native or near-native signing models. The familiarity and routine dimension of the classroom context provide scaffolding and opportunities for language practice and experimentation. Language development and use are incorporated into structured collaborative and interactive learning experiences, games and activities.

Texts and resources

Learners engage with a variety of signed texts, live and recorded. They watch the teacher signing, share ideas and join in activities, stories and conversational exchanges. They become familiar with ways of recording Auslan, either through film, photos of signs, line drawings of signs or simple symbols. An important source of texts is the Deaf community and older members of it.

Features of Auslan use

Learners in Years 7–8 can identify the handshape movement and location of signs. Depending on their access to home-sign systems, they make use of varying levels of handling or SASS depicting signs, gradually learning the conventions of Auslan. They learn to use entity depicting signs to discuss movement and location, decreasing their signing space to the conventional area. Learners at this stage use simple clause structures, modifying some verbs for present referents, and begin to understand and ask basic questions.

Level of support

The early stage of language learning is supported by extensive use of concrete materials and resources, gestures and body language. If the student has existing idiosyncratic gestures or home signs the teacher can access, these are used to scaffold their learning of Auslan. Learning is also supported through the provision of experiences that are challenging but achievable with appropriate scaffolding and support. This involves modelling, monitoring and moderating by the teacher; provision of multiple and varied sources of input; opportunities for revisiting, recycling and reviewing; and continuous cueing, feedback, response and encouragement. Use of recounting and retelling assists in establishing early language skills based on real-life experiences. The teacher provides implicit and explicit modelling and scaffolding in relation to meaningful language use in a range of contexts.

The role of English

Auslan is the language of all classroom interactions, routines and activities. Because these students do not have any English, they cannot make comparisons between English and Auslan. Research work in English is not an option for these learners. The students’ learning is focused primarily on developing Auslan capabilities as intensively as possible with a view to progressing to a state of communicative competence as soon as possible.


Years 7 and 8 Content Descriptions

Socialising

Interact with peers and teachers to exchange information about self, family, friends and interests, describe people and objects and express some feelings and preferences

[Key concepts: interaction, communication, introduction, description; Key processes: socialising, expressing feelings, exchanging greetings, asking/responding to questions] (ACLASFC091 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • exchanging greetings, thanks and apologies, for example, HELLO, HOW-ARE-YOU? GOOD MORNING M-R-J-O-N-E-S, THANK-YOU, SORRY

  • expressing feelings using lexical signs and affective NMFs, for example:

    PRO1 HAPPY
    I’m happy.
    PRO3 GRUMPY
    She’s grumpy.
  • using formulaic language to express wishes for particular occasions or events, for example, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GOOD-LUCK

  • making arrangements using simple time-related signs without numeral incorporation, for example, LAST-WEEK, MONDAY and with numeral incorporation, such as THREE-DAYS-AGO, TWO-YEARS-AGO, IN-TWO-DAYS

  • stating likes, dislikes and preferences using associated NMFs, for example:

    PRO1 LIKE TV
    I like TV.
    DON’T-LIKE DRAWING
    I don’t like drawing.
  • introducing self and family and explaining relationships using possessive pronouns, for example:

    POSS1 NAME X, PRO1 12-YEARS-OLD
    My name is X, and I’m 12 years old.
    PRO3 POSS1 BROTHER
    He’s my brother.
  • asking and responding to questions about a familiar topic such as their family, a hobby or an interest, or a recent event, for example:

    PAST WEEKEND, YOU GO WHERE?
    Where did you go last weekend?
    FAMILY PRO1 GO PLAY SOCCER
    My family and I went to play soccer.
  • referring to family members and classmates by fingerspelling a name or by using a sign name and describing their appearance or characteristics, for example:

    POSS1 SISTER TALL SKINNY HAVE BLACK HAIR
    My sister is tall and thin and has black hair.
  • describing what they are doing in class activities using plain verbs, for example, PRO1 WRITE, PRO1 READ

Participate in guided group activities such as signing games and simple tasks using repeated language structures, non-manual features and gestures

[Key concepts: game, learning activity, instruction, role-play, task; Key processes: participating, following instructions, classifying, exchanging, transacting, collaborating] (ACLASFC092 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • participating in games or activities that involve repeated signs, gestures and NMFs, for example, I went to the market and I bought …

  • following instructions by locating or moving classroom objects in activities that involve concepts such as space, place and memory, such as by hiding a marker pen and playing ‘hot/cold’ to find the pen

  • participating in activities that involve exchanging or classifying objects and attributes such as by shapes, colours and amounts

  • using questions and affirmative and negative answers when participating in role-plays that involve transactions such as ordering food at the tuckshop

  • participating in barrier games and other information-gap activities

  • working together in collaborative tasks such as craft or cooking activities

  • attracting attention or asking for clarification or help to complete a task, for example:

    WHAT MEAN?
    What do you mean?
    PLEASE AGAIN SIGN
    Please sign that again.
Develop communication and interaction skills such as asking and responding to simple questions and statements and following protocols for participation in Auslan classes and engaging with the Deaf community

[Key concepts: protocol, greeting, signing space, visual applause; Key processes: recognising, following instructions, gaining attention] (ACLASFC093 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • recognising and using fingerspelled names for roll call and games

  • exchanging greetings with peers and teachers and stating the day and date

  • following instructions for class routines, such as:

    DS:line-up PLEASE
    Line up, please.
    PLEASE WITH-2++ DS:sit-opposite
    Please find a partner and sit opposite each other.
  • asking for help or permission, for example:

    PLEASE HELP-me?
    Can you help me, please?
    CAN++?
    Can I?
  • gaining someone’s attention, for example by waving or tapping a shoulder or table

  • stopping activities and paying attention when lights are flashed or hands are waved

  • using NMFs such as focused eye gaze, nodding and head shaking to show affirmation and negation

  • keeping appropriate signing space between themselves and others

  • using visual applause to show enjoyment of entertainment or commendation

Informing

Locate specific points of information from signed texts about familiar topics and use the information in new ways

[Key concepts: information, topics, directions; Key processes: identifying, responding, following directions] (ACLASFC094 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • responding to signed information such as class messages or short introductions, for example, by identifying names, numbers or times

  • identifying and applying specific information in signed texts using visual pictures and props to complete guided tasks such as craft activities

  • gathering information from peers about topics such as family members or favourite foods

  • identifying information in simple texts that relate to properties such as colour, size, shape or amount, for example when interacting with materials and concrete objects

  • following directions for simple activities involving visual cues such as a treasure hunt, for example:

    DS:turn-left DEAD-END DS:turn-right
    Go left, then at the end turn right.
  • identifying and categorising signs appearing in simple texts according to handshape

  • watching short Auslan texts about topics such as hobbies or sports, recording key points of information using tables or graphic organisers

Present factual information about familiar topics using signs that have been modelled

[Key concepts: description, procedure, recount; Key processes: describing, demonstrating, recounting, reporting] (ACLASFC095 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • describing an object, space, animal or person using modelled lexical signs and short phrases, for example, describing the layout of key items in the classroom

  • contributing to a digital presentation such as a class video by signing a basic description of their own family members

  • demonstrating simple procedures such as getting ready before school in the morning, using gestures, objects and buoys

  • recounting an experience they have shared, sequencing events through the use of modelled signs and photos

  • reporting on aspects of their daily routines, using modelled signs and visual prompts, for example outlining a travel route home from school

  • producing a series of signs for peers to complete a simple action-based activity such as a sign circle game

Creating

Participate in the viewing of recorded or live imaginative signed texts, responding through drawing, miming, gesture or modelled signs

[Key concepts: story, imagination, Deaf art, gesture, mime; Key processes: viewing, drawing, responding, mimicking, shadowing] (ACLASFC096 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • viewing narratives in Auslan, for example, from the Auslan Storybooks website, demonstrating understanding through drawing, gesture and modelled signs

  • responding to short expressive texts that involve the movement of people, animals or vehicles, demonstrating understanding through drawings or familiar signs

  • responding to key elements of short signed stories, for example by mimicking facial expressions or repeated signs

  • participating in interactions in Auslan that involve imaginative responses to stimuli such as cartoons using gestures, handshapes, facial expressions and simple signs to suggest what happens next in the story

  • engaging with different forms of Deaf art, such as handshape creations, and responding by creating their own piece of art on a similar theme

  • shadowing NMFs in short Auslan poems or narratives

  • retelling favourite events of an Auslan story using modelled signing

  • engaging in imaginative interactions that involve the creation of mood or momentum through repeated use of signs, handshapes and facial expressions to modify manner or intensify adjectives

  • responding to performances of Deaf poetry that evoke emotions such as sadness, fear or excitement, for example by indicating enjoyment or different personal feelings

Express imaginative ideas and visual thinking through the use of mime, gestures, drawing and modelled signs

[Key concepts: story, animation, constructed action; Key processes: re-enacting, depicting, constructing, representing] (ACLASFC097 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • re-enacting individual short stories or wordless animations using gestures, actions and modelled signs

  • depicting the movement of people, animals or means of transport by using handshapes in creative ways

  • creating amusing sequences of signs using a fixed handshape, such as point in PRO2 THINK PRO1 SHY

  • using gestures and modelled signs to create their own short stories or mimes

  • creating an imaginative scenario that features the movements and characteristics of a particular animal through the use of constructed action

  • participating in storytelling games or imaginative activities, such as the joint construction of a humorous story

  • working with classmates to represent objects using combined bodies and hands in amusing or creative ways

  • changing elements of familiar narratives to create their own versions, with a focus on varying manner or constructed action

  • adapting an element of a familiar cartoon or story to achieve a different outcome

Translating

Translate familiar words and phrases from Auslan to English and vice versa, noticing similarities and differences in meaning

[Key concepts: meaning, interpretation, translation; Key processes: translating, interpreting, identifying, comparing, recognising, paraphrasing, summarising] (ACLASFC098 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising that every language uses words or signs to make meaning

  • identifying aspects of Auslan which are the same in English, such as the fingerspelled alphabet

  • participating in shared reading of age-appropriate high-interest, low-readability books containing images and plain English text, asking and answering questions about unfamiliar words and phrases, working collaboratively to produce an Auslan version of the text

  • comparing key signs used in Auslan versions of familiar and simple texts, such as stories from the Auslan Storybooks site, to words used in written English texts, and noticing how signs can convey rich, multilayered meaning, which might not have a direct match in English captioning

  • playing matching-pair games with Auslan sign flashcards and English word cards, matching cards in each language associated with concepts such as weather or animals

  • identifying examples of words and signs that seem to have direct matches/equivalents in Auslan and English and examples of those that do not, such as GO-TO in Auslan requiring more than one English word

  • finding and using phrases that have direct sign-for-word translations between Auslan and English, such as Goodnight, Happy birthday and Happy New Year and others that do not, such as None of your business!

  • identifying challenges associated with Auslan–English translation, such as multiple meanings for words like run, the fact that meaning is not always literal and that sign translations of a word will vary according to the meaning in context

  • paraphrasing and summarising short Auslan texts containing familiar content, providing simple translations in written English, and following the reverse process working from texts in written English into Auslan

Create different types of bilingual texts to support their classroom learning

[Key concepts: bilingual, meaning, translation, equivalent; Key processes: translating, labelling, developing, creating, captioning] (ACLASFC099 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • using images of Auslan signs and equivalent words in English to name and label familiar objects, classroom items or school resources, using posters and digital glossaries with captions

  • developing a handshape dictionary using palm cards or digital means, including equivalent English terms

  • using photos of family members to create a family tree or chart, captioning and labelling in English each family member with corresponding images of Auslan signs

  • creating bilingual texts for younger children, such as a mini Auslan–English dictionary of school-specific signs

  • making their own bilingual dictionaries with English labels, Auslan sign images and simple descriptions of signs, identifying and categorising signs according to handshape

Identity

Explore the concepts of identity, social groupings, relationships, community and place and space, and deaf people’s visual ways of being and negotiating these networks

[Key concepts: identity, self, relationship, community, Deafhood, visual ways of being, place, space, reciprocity, responsibility; Key processes: identifying, discussing, exchanging] (ACLASFC100 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • identifying themselves as members of different groups and describing their relationships with deaf, hard of hearing and hearing students, family members, the larger Deaf community and wider ‘hearing’ world

  • identifying and describing physical markers of identity among deaf people, such as the use of sign language and/or hearing devices such as hearing aids, cochlear implants and FM systems

  • creating a poster depicting their own family and labelling immediate and extended family members as deaf/hearing

  • identifying and discussing family names, given name/s and name signs for themselves and for others

  • exchanging views on how their individual biographies, including family origins, traditions, beliefs, communicative practices, interests and experiences, shape their sense of identity and impact on their ways of communicating

  • building an understanding of the concept of Deafhood and how each individual’s journey of identity development contributes to social relationships and to the formation of community, for example, by creating an individual identity map or a hand map

  • discussing visual ways of being, including interacting, transmitting and receiving information and behaving according to Deaf cultural values, and how these influence group learning and information sharing among Deaf people

  • investigating Deaf cultures around the world and how they shape visual ways of being, for example by considering how Deaf people from different countries and ethnic groups express shared group identity through practices such as gathering formally as a national or international community via opportunities such as Deaf film festivals; performing arts events, for example, Deaf Way; theatrical events; art exhibitions; or sporting events such as ADG, Deaflympics

  • responding to deaf people from different groups and backgrounds who visit and present about their education, families, social networks and sense of community/identity, for example by discussing similarities and differences between visitors’ reported experiences and their own lives

  • identifying the importance of place and space in the Deaf community, exploring why some places and spaces make deaf people feel comfortable or promote a sense of belonging, for example by identifying factors that make a classroom ‘Deaf friendly’, such as U-shape seating, minimisation of window glare/reflection, good lighting and acoustics, flashing lights, suitable interpreter location

  • identifying examples of deaf people’s visual orientation towards the world (‘people of the eye’), such as waving in space or using flashing lights to gain attention, visual applause

  • identifying their own stories, history, roles, responsibilities and links to the Deaf community and considering how these relate to their sense of identity

  • recognising that signed language is a birthright which establishes their identity with respect to the Deaf community and its traditions

  • viewing and creating accounts of their own and each other’s experience and roles in the Deaf community and identifying examples of the different ways of being deaf that they describe

  • discussing behaviour associated with cultural practices and traditions, for example, by discussing the concept of reciprocity as a manifestation of how community members share responsibility for each other’s wellbeing

Reflecting

Reflect on ways in which Auslan and associated communicative and cultural behaviours are similar to or different from other language(s) and forms of cultural expression

[Key concepts: intercultural experience, ways of knowing and being; Key processes: comparing, analysing, discussing, reflecting] (ACLASFC101 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • comparing aspects of their lives as young deaf people with those of young hearing people as represented in digital images, video clips and narratives, for example, ways of engaging in different games and activities, exchanging stories and interacting socially at school, at home and in the community

  • discussing changes or adaptations they make to their communicative style when communicating with non-signers

  • reflecting on similarities and differences between ways of communicating in Auslan and in Australian English in different social situations, for example, ways of greeting/leave-taking, introducing people and using body language, facial expression and eye contact

  • reflecting on the need for sustained eye contact when using Auslan in order to understand a message and before teacher instructions can proceed, and considering how this may differ for hearing students in a spoken language environment

  • reflecting on language differences in forms of address in signed and spoken language, for example, using a person’s name when addressing them directly in Australian English but not in Auslan

  • examining general misconceptions that deaf people may have about hearing people and culture, for example, that hearing people hear and understand everything, or that hearing people can hear from a distance

  • reflecting on and providing possible explanations for assumptions hearing people might have about deaf people or about signed languages

Systems of language

Identify and describe all elements of sign production, including handshape and its orientation, movement, location and non-manual features and understand that signs can look like what they represent

[Key concepts: handshape, orientation, movement, location, hand dominance; Key processes: identifying, recognising, describing, understanding] (ACLASFU102 - Scootle )

  • realising that meaning is communicated through the use of signs, pictures, written or spoken words or miming

  • identifying the handshape of a sign, for example, COCKATOO (hs:5, palm left) and SOCCER (hs:fist, palm towards signer) and identifying signs of a particular handshape

  • identifying and demonstrating signs with a change in handshape, for example FIND or BEST

  • identifying and demonstrating signs with a change in orientation, for example CAN-NOT or HOW

  • noticing the path movement of a particular sign and identifying signs associated with the major types of path movements, for example, THROUGH (forwards) or FULL (down to up)

  • describing how the movement changes between groups of related numbers, for example, 5, 15, 50, 5th)

  • noticing the five major locations of signs on the body or in space, and identifying signs associated with each, such as SEE (head/face), SAY (mouth/chin), WHY (chest), TALK (hand) and ONE (signing space)

  • understanding that NMFs are important in sign language for showing feelings of the signer or others

  • identifying single, double and two-handed signs, and recognising which hand is dominant (the pen hand) and which is non-dominant (paper) within two-handed signs

  • thinking of body-anchored signs, such as HEAD or WHY, and signs that are not body anchored, such as HAVE or STOP, and recognising that non-body anchored signs can be located in space around the signer

  • understanding that signs can be organised by handshape, for example in Johnston’s Auslan dictionaries or localised handshape dictionaries in schools, and that this is useful if an English word for a sign is not known

  • recognising that some signs are iconic, that is, provide a visual image of a referent, for example, HOUSE, TREE, DRINK, ELEPHANT, and that some are not, such as SISTER, WHY, SIMPLE

  • experimenting with different methods of capturing the signed language, such as: a class-invented script, drawing pictures, videoing, English glosses or ASL-phabet

Recognise and restrict signing to the standard signing space, and understand that particular signs, depicting signs, some verbs, enacting and pronouns make use of spatial relationships

[Key concepts: signing space, function of points, verb modification, depicting signs; Key processes: noticing, recognising, describing, comparing, distinguishing] (ACLASFU103 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • describing the range of signing space in normal signed discourse

  • recognising that non-body-anchored nouns can be located in the signing space and identifying instances of this

  • noticing that Auslan pronouns are different from English because they don’t show gender but they can show the location and a specific number of referents, for example, WE2 (inclusive) and WE3 (inclusive) or WE2-NOT-INLCLUDING-YOU (exclusive)

  • noticing that a point can refer to a person, place or thing

  • noticing that enacting a role or modifying the beginning and end locations of some verbs can show the referents involved, for example:

    PRO1 ASK PRO3 versus PRO1 ASK-her
    PRO3 ASK-me CA:I-was-shocked
  • identifying what sorts of things can be represented in a DS by a particular handshape, for example a distant person, pole or tree can be represented by a point handshape, and a cylinder can be traced by a C handshape

  • distinguishing between entity, handling or SASS DSs by looking at what the handshape represents in each type:

    • entity: the handshape is an object or person
    • handling: the handshape represents a person’s hands touching or moving another object
    • SASS: the handshape traces the shape or size
Recognise and use elements of clause structure, such as noun groups/phrases or verb groups/phrases and using conjunctions to shape structure

[Key concepts: sign class, nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, clause; Key processes: recognising, observing, distinguishing, understanding] (ACLASFU104 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • categorising noun signs into those for people, animals, places or things

  • learning that proper nouns can have a sign name or be fingerspelled

  • recognising different nouns in clauses, including those that are shown with a pointing sign, such as GIRL READ versus PRO3 READ, or VISIT FRIENDS versus VISIT PRO3

  • knowing that adjectives describe nouns in different ways, such as how they look (BIG or RED), feel (SOFT or HOT), smell (SMELLY) or sound (LOUD)

  • understanding that changes in mouth patterns and movement of signs can intensify adjectives, for example, RED-really, PLEASED-really, TALL-really

  • identifying verb signs (SIT, EAT, FEEL, WONDER, HAVE) and recognising that they are central to a clause

  • noticing that some signs modify the meaning of verbs, such as WORSE as in WORSE OLD and that these are called adverbs

  • contributing examples of signs that tell:

    • when a verb happens (IN-2-WEEKS PRO1 HOLIDAY or WANT LUNCH NOW)
    • where a verb happens (PRO3 RUN FAR or COME HERE)
    • how a verb happens (FAST or SLOW or PRO2 QUICK FINISH)
  • understanding that a clause is one or more signs expressing a single idea and that a clause has at least one verb, but often one or more nouns as well, for example:

    CALL-him
    I called him.
    MAN THERE GO-TO POSS3 HOUSE
    That man went to his house.
    BIG MONSTER SCREAM
    A big monster screamed.
  • distinguishing between clauses that are statements and those that are questions

  • distinguishing between yes/no questions, wh- questions and statements and their corresponding NMFs

  • knowing that signing involves either telling with signs or showing with DSs and periods of CA, for example,

    MAN WALK SLOW
    DS(point):man-walks-slowly
    CA:man-swinging-arms-nonchalantly
Recognise similarities and differences in language features of different types of texts, and notice how signers build cohesion in texts

[Key concepts: text, textual features, referent tracking; Key processes: recognising, identifying] (ACLASFU105 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising that texts are made up of one or more clauses, which have one or more signs in them, which together make meaning

  • looking at short recounts or narratives in Auslan and identifying information necessary to communicate with others such as who was involved or when and where the event happened

  • recognising that different signed texts serve different purposes and discussing and comparing these purposes, for example, a procedure is to explain how, a narrative is to entertain

  • identifying how signers use space to track participants through a text, for example by pointing back to an established location to refer to a noun referent

  • identifying the many ways signers can refer to the same referent in a text, for example by using DSs, points or list buoys, and noticing how such strategies help maintain interest and support understanding

Language variation and change

Recognise that there is variation in in how Auslan is used depending on context, environment and influences of other signed languages

[Key concepts: language variation, influence, word-borrowing, change; Key processes: exploring, identifying, classifying, describing] (ACLASFU106 - Scootle )

  • exploring different ways to show the same concept, for example though a picture, a spoken word, a sign, a home sign or a gesture

  • exploring similarities and differences in the two main Auslan dialects, the northern dialect used in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, and the southern dialect used in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, for example through building webcam relationships with other schools or by identifying and collecting signs that differ in the two forms

  • noticing different ways that English words are borrowed into Auslan, for example, the use of fully fingerspelled words, such as D-U-E, N-O-U-N, the fingerspelling of the first letter of corresponding English words, for example TOILET, FATHER, or abbreviations of English words, for example, state names: S-A, N-S-W, V-I-C, T-A-S, and organisation names: N-A-B-S, W-A-A-D, N-S-W-A-D, D-C-S-S-A, and lexicalised fingerspelling, such as HOW, BUT, ABOUT, FOR

  • noticing the variation in ‘handedness’ between signers in relation to signs and to fingerspelling: right handers using their right hand as their dominant (main) hand; left handers doing the opposite

  • considering adaptations to language use when communicating in different physical environments, such as in video chats, across a large yard, or when one or both hands are occupied, for example choice of vocabulary, size of signing space, clarity of signs, use of fingerspelling and NMFs

Language awareness

Develop awareness of the sociocultural context, nature and status of Auslan and of the Deaf community in Australia and the impact of this on language change

[Key concepts: communication, transmission, accessibility, language vitality; Key processes: identifying, describing, recognising, investigating, discussing] (ACLASFU107 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • identifying where and when different people learnt to sign and whether they are from deaf or hearing families

  • exploring and providing possible explanations for variation in Auslan fluency among their classmates and members of the Deaf community

  • understanding the nature of the transmission of Auslan, for example, how in most cases Auslan is not passed on from parent to child, but from child to child (horizontal language transmission) or to children by deaf adults outside the family

  • investigating the use of digital technology/communication by Auslan users, for example, social media, SMS/texting and NRS and VRS, discussing how these modes of communication impact on accessibility and communication for members of the Deaf community

  • considering ways that Auslan is evolving due to different influences, including the capacity for new technologies to store, record and share sign languages

  • discussing the degree to which their classroom/school is an Auslan-accessible and Deaf-friendly environment, and how this might be further enhanced

  • investigating how Auslan and Deaf culture are promoted in the wider community, for example through the influence of organisations such as Deaf Australia, high-profile individuals such as activists or actors or events such as NWDP, Deaf festivals, Australian Deaf Games or Deaf art exhibitions

Role of language and culture

Explore connections between language, identity and cultural practices, values and beliefs and the expression of these connections in Auslan

[Key concepts: language, culture, identity difference, transmission; Key processes: recognising, exploring, understanding, identifying] (ACLASFU108 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • recognising that people from different places and backgrounds may use different languages and have ways of living and communicating that differ from their own

  • appreciating that culture and cultural difference means that people may value different things or live differently, noticing observable examples of ‘difference’, such as ways of greeting (bowing versus shaking hands) or conveying information (through words versus signs)

  • recognising how they as deaf people live in ways that may be different from how hearing people live and that these ways are primarily visual, for example by responding to prompts such as: Compare how deaf and hearing people get the attention of someone on the other side of the room; and How do deaf and hearing people make sure they wake up at a particular time in the morning?

  • recognising the importance of facial expression, eye gaze and non-manual features in conveying information in a visual-gestural language and culture

  • understanding that culture is more than the visible aspects of people’s lives, that it also includes invisible elements such as beliefs and values, how people think about themselves and others, how they relate to their social and physical environments; and considering how this understanding applies to themselves as users of Auslan

  • recognising that in each culture there are general rules for what to say and do, when, where and with whom, and that these rules differ from culture to culture, for example, the Deaf culture places greater importance on eye contact than cultures that communicate through spoken languages

  • identifying the importance of signing space and proxemics in Auslan, particularly in relation to a person passing between two signers, or the positioning of communication partners

  • recognising that shared experiences shape cultural values in Auslan and in other cultures, for example, the experience of deaf children being excluded from family and social discourse during dinner table conversations or social events gives rise to the value placed in the Deaf community on sharing information with each other

  • considering how some spaces make deaf people feel comfortable, for example, open-plan spaces with long sight lines allowing easy visual access


Years 7 and 8 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 8, students interact with the teaching team, class visitors and each other to share information about themselves, their families, friends, routines, pastimes and experiences. They refer to family members and classmates using fingerspelling or sign names as appropriate, and use lexical adjectives and some SASS depicting signs to describe people’s physical appearance and characteristics, for example POSS1 SISTER E-M-M-A, PRO3 SHORT RED HAIR. They use entity depicting signs to discuss movement and location. They recount shared and personal experiences, using simple clause structures, modifying some verbs for present referents or single absent referents for example PRO1 LIKE TV. They ask and respond to simple questions and distinguish between statements and questions using grammatical non-manual features (NMFs). They express likes, dislikes and feelings using lexical signs and affective NMFs, such as DON’T-LIKE DRAWING. They follow directions for class routines and instructions of two or more steps, using directional terms or depicting signs such as DS:turn-left DEAD END DS:turn-right. Students follow culturally appropriate protocols, such as responding to and using attention-gaining strategies such as flashing lights, waving or tapping a shoulder or table, using voice-off while signing and observing appropriate distance between signers. They identify specific points of information in signed texts, for example, colours, numbers, size or time. They present factual information about familiar topics, using modelled lexical signs and formulaic constructions. They demonstrate simple procedures using known signs, gestures, objects and list buoys. They recount and sequence events, using familiar signs and visual prompts and time markers such as 3-YEARS-AGO, IN-TWO-WEEKS or LAST NIGHT. They restrict signing to the standard signing space. They view short imaginative and expressive texts, such as poems and stories, demonstrating understanding through drawing, gesture and modelled signs. They create simple imaginative texts and retell wordless animations, using familiar signs, gestures, modelled language and visual supports, modifying NMFs and lexical signs to indicate manner. They translate high-frequency signs/words and expressions in simple texts. Students identify themselves as members of different groups and describe their relationships with deaf, hard of hearing students, family members and the larger Deaf community and also with the wider ‘hearing’ world. They consider how these different relationships contribute to their sense of identity. They identify places that are important to the Deaf community and describe how such places evoke a sense of belonging and pride. They recognise that one of the most unifying features of the Deaf community is the use of Auslan.

Students know that Auslan is a language in its own right, different from mime and gestures used in spoken languages, and that eye contact is necessary for effective communication. They know that meaning is communicated visually through the use of signs, fingerspelling, NMFs and non-conventional gestures. They identify and describe the handshapes, movements and locations of signs. They identify some signs that link to visual images, for example HOUSE, DRINK, and demonstrate signs that are body anchored, such as HUNGRY or SLEEP, and non–body anchored, such as HAVE or GO-TO. They identify how signers use space to track participants through a text, for example by pointing back to an established location to refer to a noun referent; and they identify ways signers refer to the same referent in a text, for example, by using DSs, points or list buoys. They know that signs can be displaced in space for a range of purposes, such as to show locations or to indicate participants in a verb. They know that signing involves telling, depicting or enacting. Students recognise variation in the use of Auslan, such as regional dialects and differences in signing space. They understand different ways that English words are borrowed into Auslan and how these become lexicalised. They recognise variation in how Auslan is used, for example by recognising regional dialects and differences in signing space and explain the nature of transmission of Auslan. They identify different ways Deaf community members communicate with each other and with members of the wider hearing community; and describe how digital forms of communication, such as social media, SMS/texting and NRS, have improved accessibility for the Deaf community and contribute to the vitality of Auslan. They recognise the importance of facial expression, eye gaze and NMFs in a visual-gestural language and culture.