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.