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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 3 and 4

Years 3 and 4 Band Description

The nature of the learners

Learners at this level are developing their cognitive and social capabilities and their communicative repertoire in the language, as well as becoming increasingly aware of their social worlds and their membership of various groups, including the Deaf community. They are more independent and less egocentric, enjoying both competitive and cooperative activities. Learners are able to conceptualise and reason, and have better memory and focus. They benefit from varied, activity-based learning that builds on their interests and capabilities and makes connections with other areas of learning.

Auslan learning and use

Learners in this band engage in a range of activities involving watching and responding to signed texts. They build proficiency through the provision of rich language input from a variety of sources where grammatical forms and language features are purposefully integrated. They develop more elaborate 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.

Learners at this stage express ideas and feelings related to their personal worlds, give and follow directions, negotiate with and persuade others, paraphrase content of texts, form factual questions to request information, check and clarify understanding and participate in play and shared tasks, including planning and rehearsing presentations or performances.

They watch and create short texts on topics relevant to their interests and enjoyment, such as family, pets, favourite activities or food. They 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

Learning occurs largely through interaction with peers and the teaching team in the language classroom and the school environment, with some sharing of their learning at home. Additional enrichment and authentication of learning experience is provided through interactions with elders and other signers in the Deaf community. Access to wider communities of Auslan signers and resources also occurs through virtual and digital technology.

Texts and resources

Learners interact with a growing range of live and digital signed texts. They engage primarily with a variety of teacher-generated materials, stories and games, and with materials produced for young signers, such as storytelling apps. They have access to materials produced for signing children from the BANZSL family of languages as a means of broadening their cultural knowledge and awareness of the diversity of language experience.

Features of Auslan use

Learners recognise and apply elements of Auslan grammar, such as marking manner or aspect on verbs. They use increasingly sophisticated means of showing constructed action, and of using space to track a character or location through a text for purposes of cohesion. They develop metalanguage for talking about language, understanding and using terms such as fully- or partly-lexical signs, entity, handling or SASS depicting signs, constructed action, and adverbs and clauses.

Learners talk about differences and similarities they notice between Auslan and English, and also between cultural behaviours and ways of communicating. 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.

Learning Auslan in school contributes to the process of making sense of the learners’ worlds, which characterises this stage of development. Students 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. This leads them to explore concepts of identity and difference, to think about cultural and linguistic diversity, and about what it means to speak more than one language in the contemporary world.

Level of support

While learners work more independently at this level, ongoing support is incorporated into tasks, and the process of learning is supported by systematic feedback and review. Form-focused activities, particularly those increasing metalinguistic awareness, build 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 polishing rehearsed texts; and provide support for self-monitoring and reflection. The language students see is authentic with some modification. Discussion supports learning and develops learners’ conceptual frame for talking about systems of language and culture.

The role of English

Auslan is the principal medium of instruction in L1 pathway classrooms. English plays a complementary role; for example, it is used when translating, creating bilingual/multilingual texts or comparing and contrasting languages. Discussion in Auslan supports learning, develops conceptual frames and builds metalanguage. The process of moving between languages consolidates the already established sense of what it means to be bilingual or multilingual and provides opportunities for reflection on the experience of living interculturally in intersecting language communities. Auslan is learnt in parallel with English literacy and, for some children, spoken English. The learning of Auslan supports and enriches deaf children’s learning of English, and vice versa.


Years 3 and 4 Content Descriptions

Socialising

Communicate with each other and with teachers about aspects of their personal worlds, daily routines, preferences and pastimes

[Key concepts: self, routines, preferences, pastimes; Key processes: expressing, describing, comparing, recounting, persuading] (ACLASFC019 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • sharing feelings about important experiences or events, for example:

    PRO1 EXCITED HOLIDAY SOON
    I am excited about the holidays.
    POSS1 FRIEND CHANGE OTHER SCHOOL PRO1 SAD
    I was sad when my friend moved away.
  • discussing preferences in relation to school or community activities, using comparatives and superlatives

    PRO1 LIKE MATH, SCIENCE BUT POSS1 FAVOURITE ART
    I like maths and science, but my favourite subject is art.
  • comparing routines or activities, using signs for time, sequence and location, such as:

    WHAT TIME PRO2 GO-TO-BED?
    What time do you go to bed?
    EVERY MONDAY POSS1 CLASS LIST-BUOY-1 READING LIST-BUOY2 MATHS LIST-BUOY-3 SWIMMING. POSS2 CLASS G:WELL?
    Every Monday my class has reading, then maths, then swimming. What about your class?
  • telling each other about daily routines or habits showing aspectual marking on verbs to indicate frequency, such as brushing teeth for a long time

  • interacting with younger children or with people who are just beginning to learn to sign, adapting language to suit the situation

  • describing actions and activities using NMFs to show manner, for example, PRO1 WORK versus PRO1 WORK-hard

  • participating in online exchanges such as vlogs to compare daily routines or interests with other deaf children or families

  • using persuasive language in social interactions with each other, for example:

    PLEASE POPCORN GIVE-me++ BEG?
    Please can I have some of your popcorn?
Contribute to class activities and shared learning tasks that involve transacting, planning and problem-solving, using collaborative language

[Key concepts: collaboration, roles, responsibilities, memory; Key processes: negotiating, collaborating, planning, transacting] (ACLASFC020 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • working together in shared tasks such as cooking, craft activities or creating displays, signing questions or statements, for example:

    BOOK WHICH WANT MAKE WHICH? PICK.
    Which recipe do you want to make? You choose.
    PLEASE PRO2 BRING SCISSORS PLUS PAPER?
    Can you please bring scissors and paper?
  • negotiating roles and responsibilities and expressing preferences when working on shared projects, using expressions such as I would prefer to do that; What job do you want to do?

    PRO1 FILM PRO2 QUESTION-her
    I’ll film; you ask her the questions.
  • contributing to the development of a set of class rules

  • engaging in activities such as treasure hunts that involve making choices, solving problems and giving and following directions, for example:

    LIBRARY IN DS:turn-right AUSLAN DICTIONARY DS:fat-book SHELF++ THAT. PLEASE BRING-me
    Go into the library, turn right and the Auslan dictionary will be on the second shelf. Bring that back to me.
  • playing games that involve the exchange or discovery of hidden information, using descriptive language and appropriate questioning, for example:

    HAVE BROWN EYES CURLY HAIR?
    Does he have brown eyes and curly hair
    CAN COOK WITH?
    Can you use it for cooking?
  • checking on understanding when completing learning activities, for example:

    KNOW WHAT PRO1 MEAN?
    Do you know what I mean?
    THIS PRO2 FINISH THIS?
    Do you think that’s finished now?
  • participating in games that involve turn-taking, active watching, memory and information exchange

  • working together in design projects such as short films or displays to demonstrate content knowledge from different curriculum areas, sharing decisions about content, vocabulary and sequencing

Adjusting and responding to language and behaviour for various purposes in the classroom and wider school community, for example by asking and responding to questions, and indicating understanding

[Key concepts: respect, behaviour, protocol, group work; Key processes: clarifying, responding, asking and answering questions, encouraging] (ACLASFC021 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • asking for repetition and clarification, for example:

    WHAT?
    What was that?
    PLEASE AGAIN SIGN
    Please sign that again.
    WHAT MEAN?
    What do you mean?
  • responding to instructions when completing work or preparing for class

  • adopting different roles for effective group or pair-work interactions, such as group leader, note taker or reporter

  • using appropriate protocols when gaining the attention of a group, such as flashing lights, waving, multiple tapping or foot stomping in some contexts, waiting for eye contact or pauses in signing and using language such as EXCUSE or SORRY INTERRUPT or QUICK INTERRUPT when interrupting a conversation

  • responding appropriately to impromptu or more formal class and school announcements, such as assembly procedures

  • indicating understanding, for example:

    RIGHT-YEAH
    Aaah, right.
  • clarifying points of information, for example by asking:

    PRO2 MEAN…?
    Do you mean …?
    THAT RIGHT?
    Is that right?
    …RIGHT PRO1?
    … am I right?
  • using eye contact and clear signing with peers, teachers, visitors and community members

  • using an increasing range of interaction skills, such as initiating, maintaining and changing topics, remaining on task and taking turns in conversations

  • understanding how to walk between signers engaged in conversation without interrupting

  • developing appropriate conversational behaviours such as sharing ideas, acknowledging and extending others’ contributions and making use of discourse markers, fillers and NMFs, such as:

    SURPRISE
    oooh (with appropriate intonation)
    INCREDIBLE
    No way!
    WOW
    Wow!
    UM
    um
  • understanding and producing phrases to encourage and praise each other, for example, GOOD, EXCELLENT, CONGRATULATIONS

Informing

Collect, classify and paraphrase information from a variety of Auslan texts and sources used in school and in the Deaf community

[Key concepts: information, facts, vocabulary, findings; Key processes: recalling, paraphrasing, interviewing, surveying, recording, presenting] (ACLASFC022 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recalling specific points of information in signed classroom instructions or descriptions and responding to comprehension questions in Auslan

  • paraphrasing the content of selected community texts, such as public service or promotional announcements on the Deaf Emergency Info website

  • conducting an interview with a member of the Deaf community and reporting back to the class on key points

  • using factual questions to request information about planned events or activities, for example in relation to details such as place, time or cost

  • surveying peers about interests, preferences or routines, presenting findings in formats such as profiles, charts or graphs

  • locating, organising and presenting information from Auslan resources related to other learning areas, such as science materials or cooking demonstrations, for example, Sign & Cook for Kids (Auslan Storybooks)

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

Conveying information about aspects of school, culture and community, using knowledge of the intended audience to modify content

[Key concepts: school, cultural events, games; Key processes: conveying information, explaining, planning, rehearsing] (ACLASFC023 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • assembling an information pack about their school to support newly arrived deaf students using Auslan and visuals, including a signed glossary of the most relevant signs

  • conveying information about cultural events, for example a digital report about a Deaf visitor for a school newsletter or a class website

  • presenting factual information related to cultural activities and significant events such as Deaf festivals or sporting events, using visual supports such as a timeline

  • explaining a favourite computer game, sport or playground game to a younger audience, highlighting key terms and supporting the information with pictures, gestures and demonstrated actions

  • planning, rehearsing and delivering short presentations on chosen topics that take into account the particular purpose and intended audience

  • relaying messages between different members of groups/teams during different stages of a group activity such as a cross-country or relay event, noting any changes in meaning or content at the end of the process

  • signing a weekly informative text such as announcements, news updates or weather forecasts for the school website

Creating

Engage with imaginative texts such as stories, games, poems or cartoons, to demonstrate comprehension and express enjoyment

[ Key concepts: story, emotion, expression, humour; Key processes: identifying, expressing emotion, re-enacting, experimenting, shadowing] (ACLASFC024 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • viewing a signed story that involves progressive action, tension and resolution

  • identifying how signers use space to track a character or location throughout a text

  • viewing and responding to a range of Deaf poetry for children, for example by creating an alternative ending or extra verse

  • using NMFs to express changing emotions such as anticipation, fear or relief in response to elements of live or recorded signed stories

  • viewing and responding to short recorded skits, for example by re-enacting favourite elements and modifying manner or aspect to provide additional emphasis or expression

  • freezing cartoons or video clips of people/animals in amusing situations, signing a commentary on what has just happened and predicting what might happen next

  • experimenting with different Auslan parameters to create and perform examples of gestural humour, as modelled in performances by companies such as the Hong Kong Theatre of the Deaf

  • participating in games that focus on modifying manner or aspect for effect

  • viewing a theatre performance designed for a deaf audience and sharing their reactions to the experience of viewing a theatre performance designed for a deaf audience

  • engaging with different examples of Deaf humour or Deaf jokes and comparing them with examples of humour in spoken English or in silent films or mime

  • shadowing signed elements of theatrical or cinematographic texts that use handshapes, such as the scene with hand-faces in the film Labyrinth

  • comparing two signed versions of a story such as ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’ and indicating their preference for one version over the other

  • responding to elements of signed stories such as refrains or exclamations, for example by shadowing repeated signs, movements or facial expressions

Create or adapt imaginative texts and expressive performances that feature favourite characters, amusing experiences or special effects

[Key concepts: emotion, humour, performance, character; Key processes: creating, performing, adapting, dancing] (ACLASFC025 - Scootle )

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

  • adapting an element of a familiar cartoon or story to achieve a different effect, for example by varying the use of manner

  • adapting a signed advertisement for a product popular with their age group to create a change in effect, for example by inserting additional elements, mood or characters

  • signing stories or participating in play-based activities that require the use of constructed action to represent other people’s actions, thoughts, feelings or attitudes

  • adapting key elements of a popular picture book to create a short signed performance suitable for younger children being introduced to Auslan

  • experimenting with the genre of storytelling, adapting the use of signing space and signing techniques and changing perspectives according to character

  • performing an adaptation of a humorous story with two or more characters, using elements of constructed action such as shifting eye gaze and head orientation

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

  • choreographing and performing music-less dance, focusing on matching timing, beat and rhythm

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

  • playing with light and shadow, handshapes and movement, for example in shadow puppet performances

Translating

Translate high-frequency signs/words and expressions in simple texts such as repeated lines in a story or captions, noticing similarities, differences and instances of equivalence

[Key concepts: literal, difference, meaning, equivalence; Key processes: comparing, matching, identifying, translating] (ACLASFC026 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • comparing key signs in Auslan used in versions of children’s stories, for example, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, to English words used in written 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 both languages associated with concepts such as weather or animals

  • discussing the types of words/signs that seem to have direct matches/equivalents and those that equate to chunks of English in a single sign, for example GO-TO meaning to travel to/to attend/to go to in English

  • identifying the iconicity of some signs, such as RAINBOW or DRINK, and how similar they are to the object/referent, and discussing how this transparency might help ‘translatability’ of concepts for non-signers

  • identifying a list of gestures used by deaf people that might be easily understood by hearing people, for example, head nodding and shaking, pointing to the wrist for time, shrugging shoulders for don’t know

  • creating a class signed translation of repeated lines in familiar children’s stories, such as I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down and filming segments of such stories to screen to younger children in story reading sessions

Create bilingual versions of different types of texts, such as captioned recordings of Auslan phrases or classroom resources such as posters and digital displays

[Key concepts: bilingualism, meaning; Key processes: creating, identifying, categorising] (ACLASFC027 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • creating captions in English for basic recorded signed texts, for example, a ‘welcome to the school’ video

  • creating bilingual texts for the classroom or school community, such as posters including signed images or digital library displays, and discussing how to represent meaning in different languages for different audiences

  • creating cards for use by younger children that contain pictures, labels and signs, for example, cards relating to different forms of transport

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

Identity

Consider how individual and community relationships combine to create family and social networks, influence social behaviours and contribute to a sense of belonging and identity

[Key concepts: identity, relationship, belonging, place, behaviour, ways of interacting; Key processes: exploring, sharing, describing explaining] (ACLASFC028 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • creating individual family trees and identifying deaf and hearing family members

  • interacting with Deaf elders to discuss visual ways of being, interacting and behaving associated with identity

  • designing visual representations such as concept maps, posters or captioned slide presentations to show individual and group connections within the Deaf community such as friendship, family or sporting groups, or state and national Deaf community associations, discussing how these contribute to a sense of identity

  • exploring the concept of ‘family’ as it relates to the Deaf community, considering how it extends beyond the traditional concept to include broader social networks

  • explaining how deaf families play a key role in language maintenance and shared sense of identity across generations

  • exploring how name signs are created and form part of an individual identity, for example by providing contemporary examples such as signs for their peers, teachers and Deaf elders

  • using a vlog journal entry to discuss how having peers who share the same language develops social bonds, personal confidence and a sense of shared identity

  • responding to presentations by Deaf visitors to the classroom who share their experiences of education, family life, social networks, community and sense of identity, for example by discussing similarities and differences to their own lives

  • sharing views on why certain places have special significance to the Deaf community, evoking a sense of belonging and pride and representing particular bonds between people, place and experience, for example, Deaf schools or sites of historic significance such as original Deaf Society/Mission buildings or other former meeting places

  • identifying how deaf people share modifications to space to maximise visual attention, such as adjusting seating or removing visual obstacles

Reflecting

Describe some ways in which Auslan and associated communicative behaviours are similar to or different from wider community spoken languages and forms of cultural expression

[Key concepts: language, culture, values, similarity, difference, communication; Key processes: noticing, comparing, describing, explaining, questioning, reflecting] (ACLASFC029 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • reflecting on their observations of similarities and differences between ways of communicating in Auslan and in Australian English in different social situations, for example, when greeting/leave-taking, introducing people or using body language, facial expression and eye contact

  • considering the impact of the increased use of Auslan among their hearing peers when members of their school community are learning Auslan, and reflecting on their experience of interacting with these learners

  • comparing their own and each other’s reflections on the experience of learning and communicating in English as a second language

  • reflecting on similarities and differences in communication that relate to culture, such as the extent of incidental learning available to hearing children compared to deaf children through interaction with their external environment, for example by overhearing conversations or news on the radio

  • 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 differs for hearing students in a spoken language environment

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

Systems of language

Identify and demonstrate how the formational elements of handshape and its orientation, movement, location and non-manual features can be arranged in signs which may be iconic, and explore ways of recording Auslan

[Key concepts: orientation, hand dominance, iconicity, non-manual features, recording language; Key processes: identifying, recognising, comparing, distinguishing, comparing, describing, decoding] (ACLASFU030 - Scootle )

  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • noticing the orientation of handshapes in signs

  • 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

  • distinguishing between single, double and two-handed signs, and identifying which hand is dominant and which is non-dominant in 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 NMFs can also be an element of a sign and can show emotional states such as a happy expression or grammatical information, for example, a frown to mark a negative

  • comparing iconic signs that provide visual images of referents, such as DRINK, ELEPHANT, with English words that map to the sound images of the referents, such as animal noises, or words for sounds such as bang

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

  • learning to film themselves and analyse the video or to read simple glosses produced by the teacher, and understanding that the English word used is often not an exact match for the meaning of the sign

Observe that signers can include different information, including gestural overlays, within a single sign, and identify examples of signers using space grammatically through points, depicting signs and constructed action

[Key concepts: space, function of points, indicating verbs, depicting signs, constructed action; Key processes: recognising, identifying, discussing, comparing] (ACLASFU031 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising that Auslan has fully-lexical signs that are in the dictionary and have a standard handshape, movement and location, and partly-lexical signs that cannot be listed in a dictionary in all forms as they change their form each time they are signed, such as DSs

  • noticing that fully- and partly-lexical signs can include grammatical information not included in a ‘citation’ form, for example, the sign TELL -me is not listed separately to TELL (towards neutral space) and GO-TO includes GO-TO -often

  • discussing the functions of different pointing signs, such as pronouns, determiners and locatives

  • understanding that some verb forms in Auslan indicate who is involved in a verb by changing the direction of the movement or orientation of the handshape

  • noticing the relationship between the location of referents and the direction of some indicating verbs

  • recognising who is the actor and undergoer of the verb in a clause

  • identifying with support examples of DSs and becoming familiar with the terms entity, handling and SASS DSs

  • comparing English adjectives with SASS DSs

  • knowing that signers can reconstruct/act out their own or another’s talk and/or actions and that this is called CA

Understand that clauses can be enriched through the use of adjectives and adverbs (when, where, how), often produced with non-manual features

[Key concepts: verb types, adverbs, clause structure, questions; Key processes: recognising, exploring] (ACLASFU032 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • exploring different semantic types of verbs in a text, for example by showing how:

    • doing (WALK, WRITE) and saying (TELL, CALL-OUT, ANNOUNCE) verbs in narrative texts give information about a characters’ actions
    • sensing (SEE, THINK) or possessing (THAT’S-TYPICAL-OF-THEM, OWN) verbs indicate what characters think, feel or own
    • relating verbs identify or describe a noun (for example, HAVE in PRO3 HAVE LONG-HAIR)
  • noticing that some signs modify the meaning of verbs, such as READ CAREFUL 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)
  • noticing that sometimes Auslan signers have information about how a verb happens through NMFs rather than separate signs, for example, WRITE -carelessly

  • 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

  • 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)

  • distinguishing between yes/no questions and wh- questions and noticing that each type of question has different NMFs

Understand how signers make different language choices in different types of texts depending on the purpose and intended audience, and explore how space is used in Auslan for purposes of textual cohesion

[Key concepts: textual features, similarity, difference, cohesion; Key processes: identifying, examining, comparing] (ACLASFU033 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • noticing that differing purposes in the creation of Auslan texts result in differing types and amounts of signing, for example, the use of more CA in narratives

  • comparing a short text in Auslan with an equivalent type of English text (for example, a recount in both languages) and noticing similarities and differences in structure and language features

  • identifying with support, examples of signers associating non-present referents with locations in signing space

  • identifying examples of signers pointing to an established location to refer to something

  • identifying how signers establish locations and noticing how this helps the audience to recognise who or what the referents are (actor and undergoer)

Language variation and change

Recognise that there is variation in Auslan use, for example in different locations or physical environments

[Key concepts: variation, adaptation; Key processes: identifying, recognising, exploring, considering] (ACLASFU034 - Scootle )

  • exploring similarities and differences in Auslan dialects through building webcam relationships with other schools or through identifying and collecting signs that differ in the ‘northern’ (NSW, Qld and ACT) and ‘southern’ (Vic., SA, WA, NT and Tas.) dialects, such as DINNER or AFTERNOON

  • recognising that variation also occurs in spoken languages and noticing some different words for the same thing in English, such as cossie/cozzie, togs or bathers

  • identifying Auslan signs or informal home signs that might be different from signs used by other people

  • considering adaptations to Auslan 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, variations in vocabulary, size of signing space, clarity of signs, use of fingerspelling and NMFs

  • recognising variation in adaptation of signing between different users of Auslan, for example, people who are deafblind use hand-over-hand signing and tactile fingerspelling

Language awareness

Develop awareness of the social and cultural nature and context of Auslan and other sign languages, of their different modes of expression and of the related issue of language vitality

[Key concepts: communication, culture, language vitality; Key processes: identifying, describing, recognising, understanding] (ACLASFU035 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • identifying different ways Deaf community members communicate with each other and with members of the wider hearing community, including face to face or via technology such as NRS or VRS, through social media, the use of English or the use of interpreters

  • describing the visibility and use of Auslan in the wider community, for example in television programs; on the news; at community events, sporting fixtures; and in emergency announcements

  • recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ use of signed languages is culturally determined and shaped by their beliefs and values

  • exploring the vitality of Auslan and other spoken and signed languages, appreciating that a language with strong vitality is one used by many people in the home and other domains, across generations, to talk about most topics

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

  • understanding that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander signed languages arise from specific needs, for example, certain cultural restrictions on speech, or the presence of deaf people

  • identifying behaviours, rights, roles and responsibilities in relation to the ownership and maintenance of Auslan, and identifying how this ownership rests with the Deaf community and is determined by traditional social groupings/families, place, history and stories

Role of language and culture

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

[Key concepts: language, culture, symbol; Key processes: exploring, understanding, noticing, recognising, questioning, making connections] (ACLASFU036 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • exploring culture as an essential part of human life, understanding that it is shared and passed on between generations and is closely connected to language and to identity

  • 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 how these understandings apply to themselves as users of Auslan and members of the Deaf community

  • 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

  • recognising that language reflects values and beliefs, such as in expressions of personal identity or in the recognition of others (sameness and difference), for example by identifying deaf family members as part of introductions, and by relaying cultural information about background and context and shared knowledge when interacting with others

  • appreciating the social and cultural nature of deaf humour in a visual language


Years 3 and 4 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 4, students communicate with each other, the teaching team and others about aspects of their personal worlds, daily routines, preferences and pastimes at school and in the Deaf community. They show aspectual marking on verbs to indicate frequency when communicating about daily routines, for example pro3 tap-shoulder-repeatedly, and use modifications to show manner when describing actions and activities. They initiate and maintain interaction by using discourse markers such as fillers, checking and clarifying their understanding. They contribute to class activities and shared learning tasks that involve transacting, planning and problem-solving, for example, by giving and following directions, LIBRARY IN DS: turn-right AUSLAN DICTIONARY DS: fat-book SHELF++ THAT. PLEASE BRING-me, expressing preferences, asking for clarification and using persuasive language PLEASE POPCORN GIVE-me++ BEG? They use appropriate cultural protocols in different situations, for example, to gain the attention of a group, such as flashing lights, waving, multiple tapping or foot stomping in some contexts, waiting for eye contact or pauses in signing and walking between signers without interrupting them. They paraphrase information from a variety of Auslan texts and sources used in school and in the Deaf community. They recall specific points of information and recount main points in correct sequence EVERY MONDAY POSS1 CLASS LIST-BUOY-1 READING LIST-BUOY-2 MATHS LIST-BUOY-3 SWIMMING. They plan, rehearse and deliver short presentations about topics such as cultural activities or events in the Deaf community, with the support of materials such as photos, props, timelines or maps. They take into account the purpose and intended audience of a text. They view imaginative texts such as stories, poems and theatre performances, identifying how signers represent their own or others’ actions through constructed action (CA). They create simple imaginative texts of their own, using CA to represent their own or other people’s actions, thoughts, feelings or attitudes. They create signed class translations, for example, of repeated lines in familiar children’s stories, and simple bilingual texts for the classroom or school community, such as posters or bilingual picture dictionaries. Students identify places that are important to the Deaf community and describe how such places evoke a sense of belonging and pride. They recognise that the single most unifying factor of the community is the use of Auslan; and they describe ways in which Auslan and associated communicative and cultural behaviours are similar to or different from wider community spoken languages and forms of cultural expression.

Students demonstrate how the formational elements of handshapes and their orientation, movement, location and non-manual features can be arranged in signs, identifying, for example, whether a sign is body anchored or not, or is single, double or two-handed. They know the functions of different pointing signs, such as pronouns, determiners or locatives; and can identify examples of signers using a location to refer to a previous referent. They use metalanguage to talk about Auslan, using terms such as constructed action, depicting signs, indicating verbs, non-manual features, pointing signs and clauses. They recognise variation in how Auslan is used, for example by recognising regional dialects and differences in signing space. They identify different ways that Deaf community members communicate with each other and with members of the wider hearing community, for example, face to face, via technology, social media and interpreters. They know that culture is closely related to language and to identity and that it involves visible and invisible elements.