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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 5 and 6

Years 5 and 6 Band Description

The nature of the learners

This is a key transitional phase of learning. Learners communicate more confidently, are more self-directed, and self-reference in relation to wider contexts. Response to experience is more analytical and critical, allowing for a reflective dimension to language learning and to referencing cultural frameworks. 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

At upper primary level, learners use Auslan for a widening range of purposes, such as paraphrasing or summarising key ideas; conversing with visitors in formal and informal contexts, contributing their own ideas, questions and opinions; discussing cause and effect; providing instructions for a group activity; planning and conducting an interview; and contributing to discussions by clarifying and critiquing ideas and developing supporting arguments.

At this level, there is focused attention on language structures and systems, and comparisons are made between Auslan and English. Learners’ communicative capabilities are stronger and more elaborate. They draw on a wider range of grammatical and lexical resources to compose and comprehend more complex language. With support, they build increasing cohesion and complexity into their signing in both content and expression. They watch a range of varied input from different sources and build more elaborate conversational and interactional skills. This includes initiating and sustaining conversations, using turn-taking protocols, ‘reading’ language for cultural and contextual meaning, reflecting on and responding to others’ contributions, making appropriate responses and adjustments, and engaging in debate and discussion.

Shared learning activities develop social, cognitive and language skills and provide a context for purposeful language experience and experimentation. Individual and group oral 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, accessing media resources, maintaining vlogs and other web pages, and participating in social networks.

Contexts of interaction

Learners interact in Auslan with each other and the teaching team and with members of their families who can sign, and 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 engage with a growing range of signers and digital signed texts. 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. They also make use of texts from other signed languages that make extensive use of the ‘visual vernacular’.

Features of Auslan use

Learners draw on grammatical and lexical resources to produce and understand more complex language. With support, they build increasing cohesion and complexity into their language production in both content and expression. Learners expand their understanding of Auslan grammatical forms and features, including mastering the range of grammatical NMFs and gaining full control of depicting signs. They increase their pragmatic skills, such as using eye gaze to gain, hold or finish a turn; making constructive comments to keep a conversation flowing; and sharing information and providing context to new participants to a conversation.

They build metalanguage to talk about aspects of language such as grammar, for example, identifying types of verbs in Auslan in terms of how they use space to indicate referents, as well as recognising the types of depiction available in Auslan. They begin learning how signers put these forms of depiction and enacting together into composite utterances. Discussion, reflection and explanation ensure the continued development of learners’ knowledge base and metalinguistic and intercultural capabilities.

Understanding of the relationship between language, culture and identity is developed through guided investigation of how language features and expressions carry specific cultural meaning; through critical analysis of cultural stereotypes, attitudes and perspectives; and through exploration of issues related to personal and community identities. Learners take account of the variability of language use and practice in relation to various factors. They reference themselves in relation to similar variables, reflecting on the relationship between language, culture, identity and intercultural experience through the lens of their own bicultural experiences.

Level of support

While learners are becoming more autonomous and independent at the upper primary years, ongoing support is still incorporated into task activity, including explicit instruction, structured modelling and scaffolding, and provision of appropriate stimulus materials. Additional systematic feedback and review support the interactive process of learning. Learning experiences incorporate implicit and explicit form-focused language learning activities and examples of texts and tasks. Learners are supported to use electronic and print reference resources, such as word banks, dictionaries and translating tools, and are encouraged to adopt a critical approach to resource selection.

The role of English

Auslan is the primary language for classroom routines, discussions, reflections, interactions and language learning tasks, and for explanation of content drawn from other learning areas. English is used for metalinguistic analyses and comparisons, and within the ‘Translation’ sub-strand. English may also be used for researching cultural issues where relevant sources or materials are not available in Auslan.


Years 5 and 6 Content Descriptions

Socialising

Interact with people for different purposes, using descriptive and expressive language to give opinions, talk about themselves and show interest in others

[Key concepts: experience, opinion, values, ideas; Key processes: comparing, socialising, discussing, summarising, identifying] (ACLASFC037 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • comparing personal experiences and opinions and expressing agreement or disagreement in a respectful manner, for example:

    AGREE YES or PRO1 AGREE
    Yes, I agree.
    PRO1 KNOW WHAT MEAN, BUT…
    I know what you mean, but …
    DOUBT
    I’m not sure
    AGREE-NOT
    I don’t agree …
  • using NMFs and eye gaze to gain, hold or finish a turn when communicating in pairs or groups

  • discussing school experiences or events, for example:

    THEATRE GOOD, LONG-really
    I liked the theatre performance but it was soo long.
    SCHOOL SWIMMING RACE, GOOD BAD, PRO2 THINK WHAT?
    What did you think about the swimming carnival?
  • using interactional strategies such as paraphrasing, questioning and interpreting non-verbal cues when communicating with their peers or teacher

  • participating in online exchanges such as vlogs with deaf Auslan users in other contexts to discuss topics of shared interest, such as peer pressure or family expectations

  • exchanging views with their peers to identify values that they hold as important, for example, caring for the environment or providing support resources for the deaf community such as subtitles on TV/movies

Collaborate with peers to plan and conduct shared events or activities such as performances, presentations, demonstrations or transactions

[Key concepts: negotiation, perspective, design; Key processes: planning, suggesting, organising, presenting] (ACLASFC038 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • working in teams to plan an event such as a performance for a younger audience or a presentation for school assembly

  • negotiating roles, responsibilities and priorities in activities such as cooking or science experiments, making suggestions such as:

    PRO2 THINK BEST THIS FIRST, FINISH, NEXT THAT
    Do you think we should do this first and when that’s done, that next
  • and using conditional language such as:

    IF FINISH, CAN NEXT++, IF NOT-YET HEADSHAKE
    If we finish this we can go on to the others; if we don’t, we can’t.
  • organising activities such as excursions, using questions such as:

    WE2 MEET WHERE?
    Where are we meeting?
    TIME MEET?
    What time should we get there?
    ARRIVE HOW?
    How are we getting there?
  • using digital technologies to prepare a humorous, dynamic perspective on a controversial proposition, such as ‘Homework should be banned’ to present to teachers or parents

  • playing games that involve working competitively within groups to categorise or classify information

  • problem-solving in teamwork activities, using language such as:

    HOW FIX SOLVE?
    How can we solve this?
    WHAT DO?
    What can we do next?
  • planning, rehearsing and producing a performance for school assembly or parent open night

  • working in a group to plan a visual story to present to a younger group at school or via video

  • planning and conducting an interview with a deaf visitor to class, using questions to elicit extra information

  • working on collaborative tasks that involve negotiation and shared decision-making about content and design, for example, designing a class garden, creating digital picture books for ‘buddy’ classes, or promoting a school event

  • conducting, recording and presenting observations and findings of collaborative science experiments

Contribute to discussions and shared learning activities by asking and responding to questions to clarify or indicate comprehension, managing interactions and monitoring and evaluating their learning

[Key concepts: discussion, conversation, participation; Key processes: supporting, managing, clarifying, reflecting (ACLASFC039 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • helping to manage discussion, for example by asking specific questions to check meaning, making constructive comments to keep conversation moving, reviewing ideas expressed and conveying tentative conclusions

  • using strategies that support effective participation in shared learning activities, including signing clearly, pausing for others to respond, asking pertinent questions, rephrasing, repeating and linking their own contributions to those of others

  • exploring and clarifying others’ ideas and summarising their own, and reporting back to a larger group

  • engaging in conversations and discussions with guest speakers, using active watching behaviours and contributing their own ideas, questions and opinions

  • reflecting on their learning experiences, checking on their own and each other’s progress and providing each other with feedback, advice or reminders

  • sharing information and providing context for a new participant joining a conversation

  • contributing to discussions by clarifying and critiquing ideas and developing and supporting arguments, using statements such as:

    I FEEL YOU RIGHT TALK OVER …. BECAUSE…
    I think it’s good you are talking about …., because…
  • making connections between ideas, actions and effects, using reflective language such as:

    FAIL WHY? BECAUSE THAT DS:length WRONG, FAIL
    Because this happened … then …
    IF LIE++, HAPPEN TRUE, PEOPLE STILL DOUBT.
    If you always lie, when you tell the truth, people will still doubt you.

Informing

Identify, summarise and compare information obtained from different types of Auslan texts or from their own data collection

[Key concepts: informative text, topic, data, analysis; Key processes: interviewing, surveying, collating, analysing, summarising, presenting] (ACLASFC040 - Scootle )

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

  • viewing live or recorded interviews or informal conversations between Auslan users in different situations and contexts, summarising key points and topics covered

  • collating and analysing information obtained from Auslan media reports on people or events, organising the information visually in a mind map

  • surveying a range of hearing and deaf people on an issue of shared interest, analysing and presenting results through short signed presentations or in chart, graph or table form

  • interviewing a deaf adult about their educational experiences and comparing these with their own

  • summarising and contrasting information contained in two differently sourced Auslan texts on a selected topic

  • summarising key ideas and information provided by deaf visitors using active watching behaviours and contributing questions and responses

Present information to describe, explain, persuade or report on different experiences or activities in ways likely to engage the intended audience

[Key concepts: report, audience, intention, technique; Key processes: instructing, informing, persuading, reporting] (ACLASFC041 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • providing step-by-step instructions to peers, for example directions to a location or explanations of how to build a model

  • creating signed announcements that use persuasive techniques to inform others about upcoming events, for example a Deaf theatre performance or National Week of Deaf People

  • reporting in digital form on their experiences of shared events such as school camps or concerts to send as feedback to the organisers

  • creating a video report of an event in Deaf history as a contribution to a shared e-book resource

  • developing a signed news report or public announcement to inform or alert an imagined audience of a recent or impending natural disaster

  • providing instructions for a group activity such as a maths or computer game

  • creating a digital clip or social media post that presents information on a selected issue in ways designed to persuade or dissuade the intended audience, for example an anti-smoking post or a clean-up-the-environment appeal

  • engaging with deaf visitors from different groups and backgrounds by creating a vlog about the visits and their responses to different identity stories

  • explaining a new concept encountered in content areas such as geography or history, such as erosion or revolution

  • preparing a short signed presentation for their peers drawing on information obtained from library resources or media texts on topics related to other curriculum areas such as visual arts or history

Creating

Engage with different types of creative and imaginative texts by identifying important elements, discussing ideas, characters and themes and making connections with their own ideas and experience

[Key concepts: emotion, manner, visual expression, theatre conventions; Key processes: comparing, responding, expressing, creating] (ACLASFC042 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • comparing their reactions to imaginative texts that evoke positive or negative emotional responses, making connections with experiences in their own lives that have produced similar feelings

  • 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

  • drawing comparisons and making connections between their own experiences and those of fictional characters in popular television series or films

  • comparing the use of rhyme in written verse with the repetition of handshapes and movement paths in signed poetry performance

  • identifying cultural conventions of Deaf theatre, such as maintaining eye contact and positioning of characters

  • identifying key messages or values conveyed through folktales, myths or legends, for example by creating mind maps to show relationships between concepts such as courage, loyalty, love

  • describing the shape and sequence of a shared story or skit, identifying elements such as setting the scene, climax and resolution

  • considering how different modes of creative expression, such as theatre or visual arts, influence personal response to texts

  • tracking and reflecting on the experiences of deaf dancers and choreographers, for example as contestants in shows such as So You Think You Can Dance

  • viewing and responding to sign poetry from around the world, for example by comparing responses to differences and similarities in ‘visual vernacular’

Create live or filmed performances that engage specific audiences and present imagined experiences, people or places

[Key concepts: suspense, humour, dramatic structure, stimulus; Key processes: creating, performing, narrating, reinterpreting, improvising] (ACLASFC043 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • working collaboratively to create a filmed episode of a pilot for a new Deaf sitcom, incorporating elements such as conflict, suspense or humour

  • creating and performing imaginary scenarios that reflect experiences in their own lives

  • creating a performance for a class or school talent show, such as a signed song, skit or humorous retelling of an anecdote

  • signing different versions of a familiar short story, changing perspectives according to different characters

  • creating original stories or short plays for younger learners of Auslan, incorporating scene-setting, action/conflict and resolution, and including opportunities for audience participation

  • 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

  • creating additional dimensions or changing the focus of a fictional experience by varying the use of manner, constructed action, space and aspect

  • participating in a class storytelling competition, conforming to conventions of character perspective and relationship with audience

  • creating amusing reinterpretations or spoofs of traditional fairytales, using exaggerated elements of sign and gesture

  • improvising spontaneous responses to a stimulus such as 'Sixty Seconds to Make the Audience Laugh, Cry …'

Translating

Translate a variety of familiar school and community texts from Auslan to English and vice versa, identifying which words or phrases may not readily correspond across the two languages

[Key concepts: equivalence, meaning, culture-specific concepts; Key processes: identifying, interpreting, translating, determining, predicting, creating, comparing, explaining] (ACLASFC044 - Scootle )

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

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

  • conducting sight translations of simple English texts such as short news articles

  • translating short texts such as children’s fairytales, simple song lyrics or a short poem 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 English idioms

  • determining the meaning of technical English words used in other curriculum areas, for example, natural disasters or global warming, demonstrating how they would translate or explain them in Auslan

  • translating the school song into Auslan, identifying lexical challenges and finding suitable Auslan equivalents to match the English concept

  • identifying and explaining signs that are not easy to translate into English because of culture-specific meaning and history, for example, signs such as Deaf school

Create their own bilingual texts and learning resources to use themselves or to share with others, such as Auslan–English dictionaries, posts to websites, digital newsletters or school performances

[Key concepts: equivalence, bilingualism; Key processes: composing, creating] (ACLASFC045 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • composing bilingual texts for class or school assembly performances, events or displays, for example, National Week of Deaf People announcements

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

  • constructing and co-maintaining a bilingual website with a Deaf school

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

Identity

Consider the influence of the Deaf community on identity development, focusing on language, social systems and sense of space and place

[Key concepts: identity, relationship, community, place, space, story, social mores, history, Deafhood, Deaf gain; Key processes: identifying, describing, investigating, discussing, explaining] (ACLASFC046 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • identifying markers of social and cultural identity that may be important across cultures as well as in the Deaf community, for example, elements of language or behaviours associated with family, community, location, age or gender

  • building a basic understanding of the concept of Deafhood and of how individual journeys of identity contribute to social relationships and community, for example, by describing their own journey of identity development, including elements such as family, the influence of Deaf role models, significant life events or personal connections with the local Deaf community

  • working with elders to map relationships and connections within their community, for example by identifying links between notable deaf families, and by considering how personal connections with the community contribute to their sense of identity

  • investigating the historical origins of signs linked to identities, for example, the signs for LIBRARY and ADELAIDE were derived from original name signs for people

  • considering how the relationship between language and identity plays a role in contributing to individual, peer group and community wellbeing

  • exploring how different technologies are used by deaf people to support social networks and strengthen their sense of shared identity

  • explaining the significance of stories linked to Deaf social history and the responsibility of the Deaf community to convey shared experiences that relate to Deaf space, for example through stories about school days by past pupils

  • exploring the role of personal narratives in teaching and supporting deaf children to develop strategies to navigate a hearing world, such as carrying paper and pen or smart phone to type notes

  • learning from Deaf elders about roles and responsibilities with respect to caring for their culture’s places and spaces and preserving a sense of shared identity, for example, by maintaining and passing on artefacts, images and stories, creating new uses for Deaf places or participating in Deaf festivals, fair days and National Week of Deaf People activities

  • recognising that their first language is a birthright that contributes to their identification with the Deaf community and its traditions

  • identifying examples of deaf people who have been recognised for different reasons in the wider society, for example, Alastair McEwin, and discussing whether such recognition contributes to their own sense of identity and belonging

  • interviewing local Deaf elders about their experiences in Deaf schools and other Deaf places and discussing how their experiences create a collective sense of identity

  • discussing the concept of ‘Deaf gain’ in relation to their personal identity, for example, in using a visual language and being able to communicate from a distance

Reflect on how different language and cultural backgrounds and experiences influence perceptions of Auslan and of the Deaf community and also of the hearing community

[Key concepts: influence, perspective, self-reflection; Key processes: composing, comparing sharing, monitoring, identifying, analysing, explaining, reflecting] (ACLASFC047 - Scootle )

  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • reflecting on and providing possible explanations for assumptions that hearing people might make about deaf people or about signed languages

  • examining some misconceptions about hearing people and culture held by members of the Deaf community, for example, that hearing people hear and understand everything, or that hearing people can hear from a distance

  • identifying how various emotions and attitudes, such as respect, shyness, exuberance or embarrassment, are expressed and may be perceived across different languages and cultures, comparing their experience of such differences in their own interactions with speakers of English or other spoken languages

  • explaining how their assumptions about users of other languages and ways of understanding the world are changing as a result of intercultural language and experiential learning

  • reflecting on language and cultural differences in forms of address in signed and spoken languages that need to be taken into account when interacting interculturally, for example, the frequent use of a person’s name when addressing them directly in Australian English but not in Auslan

  • reflecting on the role of personal storytelling in teaching and supporting deaf children to navigate a hearing world

Systems of language

Describe the elements of sign production, including non-manual features, and explore the processes of annotating Auslan with multimedia software and/or glossing or transcribing signed texts on paper

[Key concepts: types of iconicity, annotation, transcription; Key processes: identifying, recognising, annotating, describing, understanding] (ACLASFU048 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • describing a sign’s form in terms of handshape, hand arrangement, orientation, movement and location

  • identifying some iconic signs and considering how they are iconic

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

  • noticing that, in a stretch of connected signing, a sign will often be produced differently to the way it is shown in a dictionary

  • understanding that many features of signed languages occur simultaneously, compared to spoken language features which typically occur sequentially

  • recognising that some signs can occur with a standard mouth gesture and that these are sometimes called multi-channel signs

  • identifying and classifying examples of DSs and CA in a video text using video annotation software, for example, ELAN

  • ‘reading’ a glossed text, including interpreting the markings that show how a sign is modified in space, NMFs, DSs and examples of CA

  • glossing a text with support, identifying what signs are used, any NMFs, and using a system of recording handshapes when describing DSs

Identify different types of verbs based on their ability to integrate space into the sign, and recognise types of depiction available to a signer, namely, entity, handling and SASS depicting signs and constructed action

[Key concepts: establishing a spatial location, types of depicting signs, function of constructed action; Key processes: identifying, distinguishing] (ACLASFU049 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • identifying where and how a signer has established a location in space, for example through the use of points, non-body-anchored signs or fingerspelled words

  • distinguishing, with support, between directional and locational indicating verbs, and noticing that verbs differ depending on whether modification of movement happens at the start, end or start and end of a sign

  • identifying examples of DSs in an Auslan text, and recognising that handshape and movement represent different things in each type of DS, for example:

    • entity DSs: the handshape is an object or person, and the movement is the movement or location of that object or person
    • handling DSs: the handshape represents a person’s hands touching or moving another object, and the movement shows how the hands move
    • SASS DSs: the handshape and movement outline the shape or size of something
  • 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 that the starting point of a clause gives prominence to the message, that clauses can be linked equally or unequally with conjunctions and connectives, and that signers can show as well as tell about an event to provide more detail

[Key concepts: gestural overlays, clause conjunction, variable sign order; Key processes: recognising, distinguishing] (ACLASFU050 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising that quantifiers such as FEW or THERE are also types of adjective signs

  • recognising that some adverbs modify adjectives, not verbs, for example VERY and that these modifications to adjectives can also be expressed with NMFs, for example changes in mouth patterns and movement of signs can intensify adjectives, for example, RED -really, PLEASED -really, TALL -really

  • 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)

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

  • recognising that clauses can be linked equally, for example:

    STUDENT BORED, TRY FOCUS
    The student was bored and tried to focus.
  • or unequally, where one clause depends on another, for example:

    I-F BORED, OPEN-BOOK READ
    If you are bored, read a book.
  • 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

  • noticing that word order within a clause is freer in Auslan than in English and that parts of a clause can be signed simultaneously, making it hard to establish word order

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

  • recognising that some nouns are not signed overtly in a clause, for example in the clauses below, the noun (the swimmer) is given in the first clause but not repeated in the second

    PRO2 SWIM DETERMINED SWIM, NOT WIN
    You swam really hard but you didn’t win.
Identify structures, language features and cohesive devices used in different types of texts, recognising that language choices reflect purpose, context and audience

[Key concepts: referent, cohesion, space; Key processes: identifying, noticing] (ACLASFU051 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • examining different examples of an Auslan text type (for example, one to inform or one to persuade) and identifying choices signers made, for example the amount of fingerspelling they used

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

  • annotating in ELAN or similar software where a signer is using established locations to refer to a noun referent

Language variation and change

Explore variation in terms of the impact of other languages on Auslan across contexts and over time

[Key concepts: influence, language borrowing, style shifts; Key processes: noticing, recognising, explaining] (ACLASFU052 - Scootle )

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

  • creating lists of fingerspelled words which have become lexicalised, for example, HOW, BUT, ABOUT, FOR, and looking at how this process has changed the form of words over time

  • recognising that Auslan includes loan signs from Signed English, some of which were invented for Signed English (for example, TOY or DAD) and some that were from the southern dialect and incorporated into Signed English, for example, YELLOW

  • looking at style shifts in domains where English is in closer contact with Auslan, such as the use of more English-like structures in formal and educational settings

  • explaining the influence of other signed languages such as BSL, ISL and ASL on Auslan over different periods of time and discussing reasons for such influence

Language awareness

Explore the current status and profile of Auslan and of the Deaf community in contemporary Australian society, considering issues such as language transmission, usage and documentation

[Key concepts: diversity, representation, language transmission, documentation; Key processes: describing, discussing, investigating, representing] (ACLASFU053 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • discussing the diversity of Auslan users in the Australian community, including people who are deaf, those who are hard of hearing and hearing people such as CODAs and interpreters

  • investigating the signed languages used by deaf and hard of hearing members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

  • exploring variation in Auslan fluency among classmates and members of the Deaf community, considering the relevance of factors such as where and when individual users learnt to sign and whether they are from a Deaf or hearing family

  • mapping sign language use around the world using data from Ethnologue, for example by identifying and labelling countries with correct naming of the sign language used, such as France = LSF: Langue des Signes Française; Germany = DGS: Deutsche Gebärdensprache

  • finding representations of signing deaf people in the media or in literary texts, and evaluating how they and the language are represented

  • investigating the profile and distribution of members of the Deaf community, for example across states of Australia or by age or gender, using data from censuses and other sources to summarise and represent information in graph/visual forms, and to suggest possible explanations of patterns or statistics

  • understanding the role and function of Auslan–English interpreters and Deaf interpreters and the access and opportunities they provide to language users

  • recognising that many languages are well-documented, strong, healthy and widely used by many people across generations while others are less documented and robust

  • recognising that some languages have no written form and have historically been passed on face to face/orally, which means that they are less well recorded or documented

  • recognising language documentation as an important means of recording, maintaining, transmitting and revitalising a language

  • understanding the nature of transmission of Auslan, for example, that in most cases Auslan is not passed on from parent to child but from peers, or is learnt by children from adults outside the family, and that some deaf people learn Auslan later in early adulthood

  • describing how Auslan has been transmitted across generations and how it has been recorded, investigating reasons for the ‘oral’ tradition language transmission

  • using the UNESCO atlas to map the world’s minority languages and those that are in critical endangerment and to document the vitality of signed languages

Role of language and culture

Reflect on how communities’ ways of using language are shaped by and reflect cultural values and beliefs, and how these may be differently interpreted by users of other languages

[Key concepts: cultural expression, transmission, values, beliefs; Key processes: observing, making connections, discussing, investigating] (ACLASFU054 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • explaining the role of Auslan and Deaf culture in maintaining, reflecting and strengthening the Deaf community and its networks and significant places

  • understanding that knowledge about past and present Deaf people and cultural experience and values is embodied in and transmitted through Auslan, for example ways of producing the sign for SIGN reflects cultural values placed on fluency

  • identifying the cultural importance of different elements of communication, such as the use of signing space and proxemics by Auslan users, particularly in relation to a person passing between two signers or the positioning of communication partners

  • identifying cultural differences between the use of personal names in Auslan and other languages, such as the fact that Auslan signers do not use a person’s name when addressing them directly as do users of many spoken languages

  • recognising that different types of expressive and imaginative performance in Auslan carry cultural as well as linguistic information, for example, a film or theatrical performance that represents typical miscommunication experiences

  • 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

  • exploring ways in which deaf people’s art incorporates sign language motifs and images as forms of cultural expression

  • analysing stories about deaf people’s history for the ways in which they embody cultural values and information, for example accounts of Thomas Pattison, FJ Rose and William Thomson establishing the first schools for deaf children


Years 5 and 6 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 6, students use Auslan to interact with people for a range of different purposes. They use descriptive and expressive language to share and compare experiences, ideas and opinions, such as THEATRE GOOD, LONG -really, LONG-really. They participate in class discussions and show interest and respect for others, for example by using active watching behaviours, signing clearly, pausing for others to respond, asking pertinent questions, making constructive comments, rephrasing, repeating and linking their own contributions. Students use non-manual features (NMFs) such as eye gaze to gain, hold or finish a turn when communicating in pairs or groups. They provide context for a new participant joining a conversation, PRO1 TALK-OVER MATH TEACHER. They use action-oriented language to make shared arrangements, organise events and complete transactions, negotiating roles, responsibilities and priorities and taking into account the views of others. Students locate, summarise and compare information from a range of sources. They present information on selected issues to inform, alert or persuade people, for example, by creating announcements to inform about an emergency or about a clean-up the environment appeal, or instructions for a computer game. They use a range of connectives to create textual cohesion. They view and compare expressions of Deaf experience through different visual art forms, such as painting, photography or sculpture. They view and respond to different types of creative and imaginative texts, discussing ideas, characters and themes; and they identify how a signer has referred to the same referent in different ways, for example with a lexical noun then with a depicting sign (DS). They create and perform their own short imaginative texts based on a stimulus, concept or theme using space to track a character or location throughout a text. They translate a variety of familiar school and community texts from Auslan to English and vice versa, identifying which words/signs/phrases require interpretation or explanation. They create bilingual texts and resources for their own language learning and to support interactions with non-signing people. They describe their connections with the Deaf community and how these contribute to their sense of identity. They reflect on differences between how signed language and spoken language users may be perceived, for example in relation to different protocols when joining interactions, taking turns, using names, or passing between people who are communicating with each other.

Students describe a sign’s form in terms of all the elements and how they are put together, including types of NMFs. They recognise when a signer has established a location in space in a text and describe how this was done, for example through the use of points, non-body-anchored signs or fingerspelled words. They distinguish between the three types of DSs and what they represent and how they are used in clauses. They identify and describe how constructed action (CA) can be shown in different ways, for example, through a change in eye gaze, body, or head orientation, and by matching facial expressions and reference to another character. They identify how signers use space to track a referent through a text, for example by pointing back to an established location to refer to a noun or by modifying indicating verbs. They understand different ways that English words are borrowed into Auslan and identify connections between Auslan and other signed languages, for example, BSL, ISL and ASL. They recognise the diversity of Auslan users in the community, including people who are deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people such as CODAs or interpreters. Students recognise how Auslan has been transmitted across generations and describe different ways it has been documented and recorded. Students reflect on the ways culture is differently interpreted by others, for example by identifying how stereotypes about deaf and hearing people influence perceptions.