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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 9 and 10

Years 9 and 10 Band Description

The nature of the learners

This stage of learning coincides with social, physical and cognitive changes associated with adolescence. Learners at this level are developing their cognitive and social capabilities and their communicative repertoire in the language, although it is likely they are still impacted by their late access to language and possibly by other challenges. As their language develops, so does their ability to conceptualise and reason, and their memory and focus improves. They are more independent and less egocentric, enjoying both competitive and cooperative activities. Learners at this level benefit from varied, activity-based learning that builds on their interests and capabilities and makes connections with other areas of learning. The curriculum ensures that learning experiences and activities are flexible enough to cater for learner variables, while being appropriate for learners' general cognitive and social levels.

Auslan learning and use

Learners in this band engage in a range of activities that involve watching and responding to a variety of signed texts. They build proficiency through the provision of rich language input from a range of sources where grammatical forms and language features are purposefully integrated. Learners build more elaborated conversational and interactional skills, including initiating and sustaining conversations, reflecting on and responding to others’ contributions, making appropriate responses and adjustments, and engaging in debate and discussion. The language they see and sign is authentic with some modification. They follow instructions, exchange simple information and express ideas and feelings related to their personal worlds. They negotiate interactions and activities and participate in shared tasks and games.

Shared learning activities develop social, cognitive and language skills and provide a context for purposeful language experience and experimentation. Individual and group presentation and performance skills are developed through researching and organising information, structuring and resourcing presentation of content, and selecting appropriate language to engage a particular audience. Learners use ICT to support their learning in increasingly independent and intentional ways, exchanging resources and information with each other and with young people of the same age in other signing communities. They access a variety of media resources, maintain vlogs and other web pages, and participate in social networks. They view and create texts on topics relevant to their interests and enjoyment and continue to build vocabulary that relates to a wider range of domains, such as areas of the curriculum that involve some specialised language use. The language used in routine activities is re-used and reinforced from lesson to lesson in different situations, making connections between what has been learnt and what is to be learnt.

Contexts of interaction

Learners interact in Auslan with each other, their teaching team, members of their families who can sign and members of the Deaf community. They have access to Deaf visitors and cultural resources in wider contexts and communities through the use of ICT and through the media. Language development and use are incorporated into collaborative and interactive learning experiences, games and activities.

Texts and resources

Learners work with a broad range of live and digital signed texts designed for learning Auslan in school and for wider authentic use in the Deaf community. They also engage with resources prepared by their teacher, including games, performances, presentations and language exercises. They may have additional access to BANZSL resources created for the Australian, New Zealand or British Deaf communities, such as children’s television programs, websites, music or video clips. In addition, they work with texts from other signed languages that make extensive use of the ‘visual vernacular’. Learners may also have access to community facilities and functions. The Deaf community is the most important resource for learning as it is the origin of most of the texts and communicative situations that learners engage with.

Features of Auslan use

Learners at this level increasingly use conventional Auslan: lexical signs or depicting signs with conventional classifier handshapes, and rely less on their idiosyncratic systems. They learn to modify some indicating verbs for non-present referents and use constructed action to represent themselves or others in recounts. They use a range of NMFs to distinguish questions from statements or negatives, and use more cohesion when signing texts. A balance between language knowledge and language use is established by integrating focused attention to grammar, vocabulary building, and non-verbal and cultural dimensions of language use with communicative and purposeful learning activity. Learners are increasingly aware that various signed languages are used in Deaf communities across the world. As they engage consciously with differences between languages and cultures, they make comparisons and consider differences and possibilities in ways of communicating in different languages. They build metalanguage to talk about aspects of language such as nouns, verbs and constructed action.

Level of support

While learners work more independently at this level, ongoing support is incorporated into task activity and the process of learning is supported by systematic feedback and review. Form-focused activities build students’ grammatical knowledge and support the development of accuracy and control in Auslan. Opportunities to use this knowledge in meaningful activities build communicative skills, confidence and fluency. Tasks are carefully scaffolded: teachers provide models and examples; introduce language, concepts and resources needed to manage and complete learning activities; make time for experimentation and for polishing rehearsed texts; and provide support for self-monitoring and reflection. Discussion supports learning and develops students’ conceptual frame for talking about systems of language and culture. Learners are encouraged to engage more with resources such as websites, dictionaries, translating tools and other materials designed to enrich their receptive and productive language use.

The role of English

Auslan is the language of all classroom interactions, routines and activities. As these learners are in the unique position of not having acquired a first language until very late in life, time spent developing their Auslan must be maximised. While these learners are simultaneously developing English literacy skills, use of English is limited to the translating thread and to small amounts of research with source texts in simple English.


Years 9 and 10 Content Descriptions

Socialising

Describe activities and experiences and share and respond to ideas and feelings about people they know, their daily lives, social worlds and school community

[Key concepts: idea, feeling, description, experience; Key processes: recounting, describing, interacting, comparing] (ACLASFC109 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • recounting classroom events using indicating, plain and depicting verbs, for example:

    MONDAY PRO1-plural DS:many-people-go-to SPORT DAY. PRO1 ENJOY
    We all went to a sports day on Monday. I enjoyed it.
  • describing the appearance of people, objects and places using SASS depicting signs and spatial location

  • recounting personal experiences using specific time-related signs and conjunctions, such as:

    LAST HOLIDAYS PRO1 CAMP
    Last holidays I went camping.
  • describing activities they have completed using some verb modifications to show manner, for example:

    PRO1 WRITE-carelessly
    I wrote it very quickly.
  • interacting with members of the Deaf community to share details of their personal world

  • describing relationships between themselves and members of their school community, for example:

    PRO3 POSS1 BEST FRIEND
    She’s my best friend.
    M-R-S S-M-I-T-H POSS1 SCIENCE TEACHER
    Mrs Smith is my science teacher.
  • recounting events involving more than one person using constructed action

  • describing events that they have experienced and how they made them feel, for example:

    MONDAY DEAF PERSON VISIT SCHOOL PRO1 EXCITED MEET
    On Monday a Deaf visitor came to school. I was excited to meet them.
    MOVIE SCARY BUT PRO1 LIKE
    The movie was scary but I liked it.
  • comparing attributes or characteristics of classmates or classroom objects, for example:

    S-A-M RUN FAST C-H-R-I-S WORSE FAST SPEED
    Sam runs fast but Chris runs the fastest.
    THAT BEST COMPUTER
    That’s the best computer.
  • comparing weekend or holiday routines, interests and activities, using signs associated with time, sequence and location, for example:

    REGULAR SUMMER PRO1-plural GROUP-MOVE-TO COUNTRY STAY++ TWO WEEK
    We go to the beach for three weeks in summer.
    WEEKEND PRO1 GO-TO-AND-BACK++ CAMP
    I go camping on weekends.
Participate in shared learning activities that involve planning, transacting and problem-solving, using simple signed statements, questions and directions

[Key concepts: planning, role, responsibility, support, information exchange; Key processes: negotiating, encouraging, describing, expressing preference] (ACLASFC110 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • negotiating roles and responsibilities in shared learning activities, using expressions such as:

    PRO2 TYPE PRO1 WRITE
    You type and I’ll write.
  • understanding and using expressions of support, encouragement or praise during shared activities, for example, EXCELLENT, THAT GREAT

  • playing games that involve detailed information exchange, such as a ‘murder mystery’ type game, asking for and supplying descriptions about the suspect, for example:

    PRO3 HAVE GLASSES?
    Does he have glasses?
  • working collaboratively to plan an event such as a handball competition, using expressions related to place, time and numbers, for example:

    BEST PLAY WHERE?
    Where will we play?
    TEAM+ HOW MANY?
    How many teams are there?
  • following and giving directions for outdoor activities such as an obstacle course

  • expressing preferences in relation to roles and responsibilities in shared learning activities, using NMFs and statements such as:

    HANDWRITING PRO1 DON’T-LIKE RATHER TYPING
    I don’t like handwriting; I prefer to type it
  • working with peers to plan for a visit from a Deaf community member, prioritising and sequencing tasks

Communicate clearly in different classroom interactions and contexts, demonstrating appropriate protocols when communicating with each other, teachers and deaf people

[Key concepts: instruction, interaction, protocol; Key processes: responding, negotiating, indicating, initiating, interrupting] (ACLASFC111 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • responding to multistep classroom instructions, for example:

    IN YOUR COMPUTER FINISH CLICK-ON ELAN
    Log in to your computer and then click on ELAN.
  • asking for repetition or clarification, for example:

    THAT RIGHT THAT?
    Is that right?
    PRO1 DON’T-UNDERSTAND
    I don’t get it.
  • negotiating turn-taking by using visual or tactile methods in taking or yielding a turn, for example:

    PRO2 FIRST NEXT-TURN-around-circle
    You go first then we’ll take turns around the group.
  • using NMFs such as raised eyebrows to indicate interest, or head tilt to indicate lack of understanding

  • initiating protocols within the classroom such as:

    • gaining group attention through flashing lights, tapping, foot stomping and waving
    • maintaining eye gaze and back-channelling
    • positioning seating to keep visual communication clear, for example, sitting across from signers when communicating
  • following protocols and using appropriate language when using or accessing an interpreter, for example:

    SIT THERE PLEASE CAN YOU?
    Can you sit there, please?
  • following protocols for interrupting others, such as waiting for pauses in conversations and eye contact, or by using language such as:

    HOLD
    Hold that thought.
    QUICK INTERRUPT
    Can I just interrupt you quickly?

Informing

Identify, paraphrase or compare information obtained from a variety of signed texts or from their own data collection and present the information in different forms

[Key concepts: information, likes/dislikes, interests, preferences; Key processes: retelling, recording, organising, identifying, surveying, categorising] (ACLASFC112 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • retelling key points of multistep information used in classroom interactions, such as announcements or directions for a task

  • watching signed texts that show people expressing likes and dislikes and recording and organising their observations in table form

  • watching a presentation by a teacher or peer, identifying specific points of information, such as where they went for a holiday or what activities they did

  • surveying peers in relation to their interests and preferences, categorising and comparing findings in charts or graphs

  • following the steps of a signed demonstration of procedures, such as how to cook something or play a new game

  • learning new Auslan vocabulary and language structures through interacting with Deaf visitors, teachers and mentors, recording the new language in personal sign dictionaries

  • viewing live or recorded interviews or informal conversations between deaf people in different situations and contexts, identifying key points and topics covered

  • viewing different types of signed texts, such as instructional sports videos or science demonstrations, showing understanding by responding to questions

Convey factual information and opinions in signed texts

[Key concepts: routine, event, hobby, procedure; Key processes: describing, reporting, explaining, presenting, instructing] (ACLASFC113 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • describing home and school routines in the correct sequence, for example, weekend activities or their school timetable

  • reporting to the class about a shared school event such as Deaf Sports Day or school camp

  • creating signed texts to explain a hobby or interest using visual supports such as photos or props

  • presenting descriptions of school equipment such as those used in woodwork, science or sports and giving simple signed explanations of how they work

  • instructing the class in a procedural text such as a simple recipe, using props

Creating

Engage with different types of creative texts, identifying and discussing characters, events and personal responses through the use of familiar signs, actions and artwork

[Key concepts: performance, character, personal response, creativity; Key processes: viewing, responding, participating, comparing] (ACLASFC114 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • participating in Auslan games using simple clauses in creative ways, for example, a freeze tag game, building on a text

  • viewing creative performance texts and identifying characters and events from Auslan narratives, poems and theatre performances, such the Australian Theatre of the Deaf

  • viewing and expressing personal responses to creative visual texts such as handshape art and art produced by/about Deaf people, Deaf culture or signed languages, for example, paintings by Nancy Rourke and animations by Braam Jordaan

  • comparing versions of creative signed texts and indicating preferences, for example, between different Auslan versions of the same story signed by different deaf people

  • responding to signed poems and ‘visual vernacular’ descriptions of a character’s appearance by shadowing, mimicking and drawing, for example, work by Frédéric Vaghi

  • participating in performance activities such as unscripted response-to-stimulus role-plays, recognising how characters’ feelings and attitudes are expressed through NMFs and manner

  • viewing and comparing expressions of Deaf experience through different visual art forms, such as painting, photography or sculpture, comparing with their own use of visual forms of expression of feelings and experience

Create or adapt imaginative texts and live or filmed expressive performances that involve imagined experiences and feature different characters, amusing experiences or special effects

[Key concepts: appearance, character, audience, animation, emotion, manner; Key processes: depicting, creating, presenting, re-enacting, reinterpreting, choreographing, performing] (ACLASFC115 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • participating in games and activities that focus on depicting the appearance and characteristics of people, animals or objects and their relationships

  • working collaboratively to create and present signed skits to entertain a targeted audience

  • re-enacting individual short stories or wordless animations that include two or more characters and their interactions through the use of constructed action

  • reinterpreting creative texts for effect, for example by changing emotions or movements through the use of NMFs and manner

  • using ‘visual vernacular’ to enact short scenarios involving imaginary characters, contexts and objects, by employing a range of depicting signs and constructed action

  • choreographing and performing a creative text (dance, signed song, poem), incorporating Auslan and focusing on matching timing, beat and rhythm

  • performing stories for a live audience with a focus on the visual communication of emotion and humour

  • creating the next scene, a new character or an alternative ending for a signed fable, short story or cartoon

  • creating original handshape poetry to present at a school assembly or community festival

  • creating a video record of an imagined formal or informal interview, incorporating elements of humour or tension and building character and mood through the use of NMFs and pauses

Translating

Translate and interpret different types of familiar short texts, demonstrating awareness of individual interpretations of meaning

[Key concepts: equivalence, translation, meaning, interpretation, ethics, culture; Key processes: translating, interpreting, comparing, researching, shadowing, explaining] (ACLASFC116 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • translating the school song into Auslan with support, identifying words or phrases that do not easily translate and finding suitable equivalents in Auslan that match the English concept

  • shadowing online Auslan translations and captioning, such as the Catching Fire series of safety videos or the emergency disaster preparedness videos

  • comparing their own translations of short familiar texts with those of their classmates, noting discrepancies or variations and discussing possible reasons for these

  • observing and interacting with deaf guests to the classroom who use different signed languages, such as ASL or a traditional signed language used by deaf Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, identifying differences between the languages and acting as interpreter with support

  • creating basic translations of song lyrics or simple poems from English to Auslan

  • translating and explaining the meaning of words or expressions associated with figurative language use in Auslan, such as train gone, sorry and comparing these to some common English idioms

  • conducting sight translations of plain, high-interest, low-readability English texts such as short news articles that are written for their age group

  • comparing existing translations in Auslan of narratives, such as fairytales or short stories, to their own ideas of how they would translate specific segments of these texts

  • explaining the role of accredited Auslan–English interpreters and that of Deaf interpreters, demonstrating through role-play correct protocols for working with interpreters

Create bilingual texts such as notices, displays or newsletters for use in the wider school community

[Key concepts: translation, meaning, bilingualism, information; Key processes: translating, composing, comparing, creating, contributing] (ACLASFC117 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • creating captions for pre-recorded signed texts to be used in a variety of school contexts, for example, a translation of the Auslan version of the school song or a ‘welcome to the school’ video

  • creating bilingual texts for use in the school community, such as informative posters that include signed images or digital library displays about Auslan, considering how to represent meaning in the two languages for different audiences

  • composing bilingual texts for class or school assembly performances, events or displays, for example, NWDP announcements

  • using bilingual online dictionaries and electronic tools to compose bilingual texts such as an online Auslan–English version of a school newsletter

  • contributing items of signed news and information to a bilingual school website or web page associated with their class, school or local community

Identity

Identify and analyse ways in which deaf people behave and relate within society as a distinct social group as ‘people of the eye’, demonstrate responsibility for connections between the Deaf community and the wider ‘hearing’ society, and for culturally rich and appropriate places and spaces

[Key concepts: identity, relationship, Deafhood, advocacy, society, place, Deaf space, Deaf gain, responsibility, guidance; Key processes: identifying, discussing, comparing] (ACLASFC118 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • using a vlog journal entry to discuss how having peers who share the same language provides a social bond and builds confidence

  • identifying characteristics of deaf people’s visual awareness, such as good observation of body language and heightened alertness to hazards in the environment while walking/driving and signing

  • comparing strategies used by deaf and hearing adults to negotiate physical environments, for example, different behaviours at a bank of lifts, identifying how deaf people draw on additional perceptual resources in ways hearing people are unaware of

  • exploring technologies used by deaf people to communicate visually, such as videoconferencing apps, to support social networks and to strengthen a sense of individual or shared identity

  • investigating ways in which a sense of confidence in relation to identity influences awareness and a capacity for advocacy for Deaf rights, for example in relation to issues such as the provision of interpreters or captioning

  • discussing how their sense of identity may shift according to context and situation, and how as people mature they learn to manage ‘multiple identities’ in relation to different elements of experience, such as background ethnicity and culture and Deaf identity culture

  • identifying strategies used by deaf people to negotiate the hearing world, such as travelling with paper and pen or smart phone to take notes

  • using the concept of Deafhood to map and communicate their own journeys of identity development, for example, their identification with particular Deaf role models, and considering the role identity plays in contributing to individual, peer group and community health and wellbeing

  • engaging with deaf visitors from different groups and backgrounds about their experiences in the Deaf community, for example by interviewing the visitors and recording their responses

  • using drawings, photos or presentations to describe characteristic features of Deaf spaces beyond the classroom, such as removal of visual obstacles to signed communication, circles or semicircles for meeting and learning spaces, open-plan areas, lighting and window placement to maximise visual access to information

  • documenting and discussing places of importance to the Deaf community, such as Deaf schools, and understanding the value of these based on stories by elders and excursions to sites of significance

  • responding to elders' guidance on how cultural values, beliefs and traditions are connected through shared life experience and visual ways of being, and how they are demonstrated in community behaviour and interactions with the wider community

  • describing ways in which they can take responsibility for increasing others’ awareness of their communication and learning preferences, for example in the classroom and with extended family

  • exploring the concept of ‘Deaf gain’ and identifying examples of how wider society may ‘gain’ from the Deaf community, for example, benefits of captioning for other sectors of the broader community, such as elderly people or newly arrived migrants

  • discussing their sense of responsibility for each other as members of the Deaf community, and the need to support younger deaf individuals in the community

Reflecting

Reflect on the experience of learning and using Auslan in and out of school, and ways in which their understanding of intercultural communication has developed

[Key concepts: intercultural communication, perspective, insight, self-reflection, making meaning, discrimination; Key processes: comparing, analysing, explaining, reflecting] (ACLASFC119 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • describing how it feels to use Auslan to communicate outside their inner circle or school, or to watch Auslan being used by others, responding to prompts such as What are the main differences you notice when observing a conversation between deaf people and one between hearing people?

  • reflecting on similarities and differences in language and communication access, such as the extent of incidental learning acquired by hearing children through interaction with their external environment, for example by overhearing conversations or news on the radio

  • reflecting on similarities and differences between signed language and spoken language users when joining interactions, taking turns, using names, or passing between people who are communicating with each other

  • identifying and comparing how various emotions and different attitudes such as respect, shyness, exuberance or embarrassment are expressed across different languages and cultures

  • reflecting on the experience of interacting with hearing people in various domains online or face to face, such as after-school sports clubs, analysing these experiences in terms of their own perceptions, understandings or attitudes

  • reflecting on social attitudes and on their own reactions to observed responses to differences in behaviours or communicative styles, such as their feelings when hearing people fail to make eye contact with them during interactions in the wider community

  • reflecting on how their own ways of communicating may be interpreted when interacting with hearing people, and on how they may need to modify elements of their behaviour, such as the use of eye contact, facial expression or body language, and to consider other communication strategies such as the use of notes or gestures

Systems of language

Explore various types of non-manual features, types of iconicity in signs and the use of software to transcribe signs

[Key concepts: transcription, iconicity; Key processes: identifying, noticing, understanding] (ACLASFU120 - Scootle )

  • understanding that NMFs are important in sign language for marking forms such as questions

  • identifying, demonstrating and describing the various types of NMFs: movements of the eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth, cheeks, shoulders and body

  • identifying the NMFs in statements, yes/no questions, wh- questions, and negatives

  • noticing that in signed languages meaning can be expressed through signs or through fingerspelling

  • understanding that signs can be iconic in a number of ways, such as representing a whole object or part of an object

  • identifying signs with different levels of iconicity, for example, those that are fully transparent, translucent or arbitrary

  • exploring, with support, software such as ELAN to annotate signed texts

Understand that signs can include different information, including a gestural overlay, and identify how signers establish spatial locations, types of depicting signs and ways of showing constructed action

[Key concepts: spatial location, grammatical use of space, constructed action, depicting signs; Key processes: noticing, identifying, recognising] (ACLASFU121 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • noticing that meaning is created in Auslan from fully-lexical signs, partly-lexical signs and non-lexical signing and gesture

  • understanding that fully-lexical signs are in the dictionary and have a standard handshape, movement and location, and partly-lexical signs can be changed to show information such as location or who is involved in indicating verbs

  • noticing that single-digit numbers can be separate lexical items or merged into other signs (numeral incorporation) such as those for ages, for example, 5-YEARS-OLD or adverbs of time, for example, 3-WEEKS-AGO or pronouns, for example, WE3, WE4

  • identifying where and how a signer has established a location in space (through pointing, modifying the movement of a verb, or locating a non-body-anchored noun sign)

  • recognising that signers must make explicit which referent is associated with a location

  • recognising that signers can set up referents in the signing space close to them (viewer space), for example, using a bC handshape (use of non-dominant hand) to indicate putting a glass on a table or distant (diagrammatic) for example, using 5claw in two locations to represent two houses

  • identifying independently instances of DSs and their type

  • learning that the function of CA is to represent the words, thoughts or actions of a protagonist in a text, either themselves or another

  • knowing that in CA a signer can shift into the role of another, or themselves at a different time, through eye gaze change, body shift, head orientation change, and matching facial expressions

Understand and control additional elements of Auslan grammar, such as the use of non-manual features for topicalisation, negation or question forms, and develop awareness of how signers use constructed action and depicting signs

[Key concepts: topicalisation, negation, composite utterances; Key processes: recognising, distinguishing, understanding] (ACLASFU122 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • noticing that sometimes Auslan signers have information about how a verb happens through NMFs not separate signs (for example WRITE-carelessly)

  • distinguishing between the citation form of a sign and the adverbial NMF overlaid and what meaning each part carries, for example: MAN-SPRINT (base form), MAN SPRINT-fast (manner added)

  • understanding that, in terms of meaning, a basic clause represents: a happening or a state (verb), who or what is involved (noun or nouns) and the surrounding circumstances (adverb or adverbs)

  • noticing that clauses can be made more vivid by integrating CA or DSs to show with body or hands or by showing adverbial or adjectival meanings

  • recognising how conjunctions such as PLUS, IF or BUT are used to join clauses and create cohesion

  • recognising that the element of a clause that a signer wants to focus on most in Auslan is sometimes moved to be signed first and that this process of topicalisation involves particular NMFs

  • recognising that signers may include both linguistic and gestural elements in a clause, that is, signers can tell, show or do both in a composite utterance

  • realising that in many clauses signers ‘tell’ with lexical signs at the same time as ‘show’ with DS, CA and other gestural elements

Explore the relationship between particular text types, audience, purpose and context and analyse language features used by signers to create cohesion and achieve the purpose of the text

[Key concepts: audience, purpose, convention, coherence; Key processes: noticing, identifying, analysing] (ACLASFU123 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • identifying differences in different types of texts, for example by looking at a monologic recount compared to a dialogic one, and noticing differences such as the use of back-channels or hesitations

  • conducting an analysis of a selected sign text, taking into account audience, purpose and topic to explain language choices made by the signer

  • noticing how signers can compare or contrast ideas by locating things in the same or opposing sides of signing space

  • noticing how signers achieve textual cohesion and coherence through the use of connectives that create links between clauses, for example BUT and G:WELL

  • identifying where signers have established referents in locations in a text and noticing how this helps the audience to recognise who or what the referents are (actor and undergoer)

  • noticing how signers construct cohesive and coherent texts through the use of text connectives such as lexical signs NEXT or G:WELL or NMFs and pausing

Language variation and change

Explore the concept of language flexibility, variation and change in relation to the use of Auslan across different contexts and times

[Key concepts: language variation, standardisation, change, language borrowing, adaptation; Key processes: researching, interviewing, comparing, identifying, analysing, discussing] (ACLASFU124 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising that there is a greater degree of flexibility and variability in ‘oral’ languages such as Auslan that only exist in face-to-face form, compared to spoken languages that are written down and that are passed on from parents to children

  • understanding that other signed languages such as BSL, ISL and ASL have influenced Auslan over different periods of time

  • recognising that languages constantly expand to include new words, signs and expressions due to influences such as changing technologies and digital media, for example, COMPUTER, COMPUTER-MOUSE, INTERNET, FACEBOOK, WIFI, SELFIE

  • interviewing older members of Deaf families or Deaf communities and reporting back to the class about any differences in signing they noticed, such as more use of fingerspelled words, less use of NMFs and depicting signs, or the use of different signs, such as FILM (old sign), TOILET (old sign)

  • understanding that greater contact between signers internationally has led to increased borrowing between sign languages, for example, signs that refer to different nation states and cities around the globe, or the vehicle handshape in depicting signs

Language awareness

Understand the range of factors that influence the profile, diversity and distribution of Auslan use in the wider Australian society, and consider the concept of Auslan vitality in comparison with that of other languages

[Key concepts: influence, transmission, language documentation, language vitality; Key processes: recognising, identifying, describing, exploring] (ACLASFU125 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • understanding that strong and healthy languages are those used by many people across generations in most domains to communicate about most topics

  • mapping the distribution of Auslan users across Australian states and demographics, using data from censuses and other sources to present findings in graph/visual representation forms

  • exploring the vitality of different languages by obtaining information from the UNESCO interactive online atlas and/or Ethnologue to compare numbers of speakers/signers of different languages

  • recognising that some languages have no written form and have historically been passed on face to face/orally, making them less well recorded and documented

  • understanding that some languages used in Australia, such as English, have large numbers of users, while others, such as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, are endangered or in the process of being revived or reclaimed

  • describing the role religion has played in influencing the usage and spread of Auslan, for example, through religious orders, early Deaf Societies and Bible translation projects

  • reflecting on the role of Auslan interpreters in raising awareness and understanding of Auslan in the wider community, and considering ways in which they influence the function and nature of Auslan, for example by the introduction of neologisms

  • identifying language documentation tools, such as ELAN, as important ways of recording, transmitting and maintaining the vitality of a language

  • recognising that languages may be perceived as ‘weak’ or ‘strong’ based on community values and the existence of documentation and literature in the language

Role of language and culture

Understand that Auslan and Deaf culture are interrelated, that they shape and are shaped by each other, that their relationship changes over time and across contexts, and that they may be differently interpreted by users of other languages

[Key concepts: knowledge, value, transmission, reciprocity, responsibility, stereotype; Key processes: reflecting, exploring, understanding, identifying, considering] (ACLASFU126 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • appreciating distinctions between Deaf cultures and other cultural minorities, such as the fact that most deaf people are born to hearing parents and acquire Deaf culture in addition to the culture of their families of origin from peers and other Auslan users in school or as adults in the Deaf community

  • exploring ways in which language choices reflect attitudes towards certain topics, such as oralism or cochlear implants, identifying examples of sign choices that reflect particular attitudes or views

  • understanding that knowledge about past and present Deaf people and about Deaf cultural values is embodied in and transmitted through Auslan, for example, ways of producing the sign for SIGN embody cultural meaning, regarding distinctions made and values placed on fluent or awkward signing

  • identifying differences between the use of personal names in Auslan and in other languages, for example, Auslan signers not using a person’s name sign when addressing them directly, in contrast to the practice in many spoken languages

  • considering cultural explanations for conversational strategies used by Auslan signers to avoid conflict and to maintain privacy, such as changing signing space and style, and using indirect language such as signing lower or under the table, or fingerspelling instead of signing overtly

  • appreciating the cultural value and importance of festivals and other events in the Deaf community, such as NWDP, as celebrations of language, history, culture and identity

  • reflecting on the ways that culture is interpreted by others, for example by identifying how stereotypes about deaf and hearing people influence perceptions among members of either community

  • understanding that ‘sound’ is accessed differently in Deaf culture, that the meaning and importance of sound in deaf people’s lives is usually not the same as in hearing people’s experience


Years 9 and 10 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 10, students use Auslan to share information, experiences, interests, thoughts and feelings in relation to their personal and immediate worlds. They describe the appearance of people, objects and places using SASS depicting signs and spatial location, for example, HAVE DS: round-oval DS: located HERE NEXT-TO HAVE BUILDING BIG. THERE. There’s an oval there and next to it is a big building. It’s there. They participate in shared learning activities and experiences that involve planning, transacting and problem-solving, using simple signed statements and asking for repetition and clarification when required. They follow protocols when interacting with each other, with interpreters or Deaf visitors to the classroom, for example, waiting for eye contact or pauses to walk in-between signers engaged in conversation without interrupting them. Students increasingly use conventional Auslan signs or classifier handshapes in depictions and rely less on their idiosyncratic systems. They modify some indicating verbs for non-present referents and use constructed action to represent others in recounts. They make explicit which referent is associated with location, for example, BROTHER THERE HAVE OWN IPAD. They recall and retell specific points of information from texts such as class messages, directions, procedures, introductions and ‘visual vernacular’ descriptions. They create textual cohesion through the use of connectives such as lexical signs NEXT or G:WELL, or non-manual features (NMFs) and pausing. They create bilingual texts such as notices or digital displays and resources for the classroom. They reflect on how their own ways of communicating may be interpreted when interacting with hearing people, and on how they adapt their ways of communicating and behaving when interacting with them. They reflect on the experience of communicating in a visual world and on the challenges and advantages experienced by deaf people in a hearing world.

Students describe how constructed action (CA) can be shown in different ways, including eye gaze, head orientation change or body shift. They identify where and how a signer establishes location in space, and they distinguish between real and abstract space. They build metalanguage to talk about aspects of Auslan, for example, using terms such as SASS, NMFs, CA, depicting signs; and they make connections with terms they use in learning English, such as verb, adjective, noun. They know that different languages and cultures influence and borrow from each other and identify connections between Auslan and other signed languages, for example, BSL, ISL and ASL. They make comparisons between Auslan and signed languages in other countries. Students know that Auslan plays an important role in the expression and maintenance of Deaf culture and in assuring the rights of every deaf person.