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Introduction

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

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Rationale

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

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

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Aims

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

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

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Learning Auslan

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

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Learner diversity and learner pathways

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

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Developing teaching and learning

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

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PDF documents

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

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Glossary

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Years F–10 Sequence

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

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

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

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

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

Years 7–10 (Year 7 Entry) Sequence

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

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

Years 7 and 8

Years 7 and 8 Band Description

The nature of the learners

The transition to secondary schooling involves social and academic demands that coincide with a period of maturational and physical change. Learners are adjusting to a new school culture with sharper divisions between curriculum areas. There is a need for continuity through change in relation to their language learning. Learners at this level may find themselves in classes that include learners with a range of previous experience with Auslan. A multilevel and differentiated approach to teaching and task design responds to this diversity of prior experience. For bilingual learners at this level, such as deaf students who also use spoken English, the duality of living between languages and cultural frames impacts on the process of identity construction.

Learners at this level bring a range of learning strategies to their language learning. They are increasingly aware of the world beyond their own and are engaging with broader issues related to youth and society, land and environment, education and identity, while establishing a balance between increasing personal independence and social responsibilities. They are considering their future pathways and choices, including how their own language could be part of these.

Auslan learning and use

Auslan is used for classroom interactions and transactions, for creating and maintaining classroom relationships, for explaining and practising language forms, and for developing cultural understanding. Learners use a range of grammatical structures and language features to convey more complex ideas and experiences. They use descriptive and expressive language to create particular effects and to engage interest, and expand their vocabulary to domains beyond their personal experience and interests. They use language to dramatise narratives, follow detailed directions, demonstrate and explain activities, evaluate events and ideas, debate and give presentations that take account of different perspectives.

They are increasingly aware of the nature of the relationship between languages and cultures, making connections between texts and cultural contexts, identifying how cultural values and perspectives are embedded in language and noticing how language choices influence how people, issues and circumstances are represented.

Additional opportunities for interaction in Auslan are provided by purposeful and integrated use of ICT. Learners work collaboratively and independently, exploring different modes and genres of communication with particular reference to their current social, cultural and communicative interests. They pool language knowledge and resources to plan, problem-solve, monitor and reflect. They create and present more complex and varied texts, for example, shared stories, poems, vlogs and reports; and plan, draft and present imaginative and informative texts, making cross-curricular connections. They use vocabulary and grammar with increasing accuracy and complexity, planning and polishing pre-prepared signed texts to improve structure and clarify meaning.

Contexts of interaction

While the primary context of interaction remains the Auslan classroom through interaction with peers and the teaching team, additional enrichment and authentication of the learning experience is provided through visiting members of the Deaf community, media and community events, and social media. Students may also have opportunities to participate in school excursions or camps.

Texts and resources

Learners work with a broad range of live and digital signed texts designed for learning Auslan in school and for authentic non-school purposes. Texts come from a range of domains and genres, such as oral histories, community announcements, vlogs and stories, and they serve a variety of purposes, such as informative, transactional, communicative, imaginative and expressive. Learners may also have access to community facilities and functions. The Deaf community is the most important resource for learning, as the origin of most of the texts and communicative situations engaged with by learners.

Features of Auslan use

Learners continue to expand their language use to additional domains beyond their personal experience and interests. They use a range of grammatical forms and language structures to convey more complex relationships between ideas and experiences, creating compound and complex sentences by using lexical conjunctions as well as NMFs. They become increasingly aware of the rich choices available to a signer in composite utterances, for example by shifting from depicting signs to constructed action to lexical items. They recognise that signers shift perspectives between character or observer space to show different viewpoints.

Learners develop awareness of how language structures shape textual features. They use descriptive and expressive language, including iconicity and metaphor, to create particular effects and engage interest. They adopt a wider range of processing strategies and broader language knowledge when encountering unfamiliar signed texts, drawing increasingly on their understanding of text conventions and patterns.

Learners make connections between texts and cultural contexts, identifying how cultural values and perspectives are embedded in language and how language choices determine how people, issues and circumstances are represented. They are increasingly aware of the nature of the relationship between languages and cultures, noticing, for example, how values such as family commitment and respect are expressed in cultural practices as well as embedded in Auslan grammatical and vocabulary systems. They reflect on the nature of bicultural and intercultural experience, on how languages change in response to social and cultural change, and on their individual identities as users of two or more languages in a multicultural social context.

Level of support

Particular support is required at this stage of learning to manage the transition to secondary schooling and to encourage continued engagement with language learning. Opportunities to review and consolidate prior learning are balanced against provision of engaging and relevant new experiences and tasks that are more challenging. While learners at this level are less reliant on teacher support during interactions, the teacher continues to provide implicit and explicit modelling and scaffolding in relation to meaningful language use in a range of contexts, and explicit instruction and explanation in relation to language structures, grammatical functions, vocabulary and abstract cultural concepts. Opportunities for learners to discuss, clarify, rehearse and apply their knowledge are critical in consolidating language capabilities and developing autonomy. Learners at this level are encouraged to self-monitor, for example, by keeping records of feedback and through peer support, and to self-review and adjust language in response to their experiences in different contexts. Students are encouraged to engage more critically with resources such as websites, dictionaries, translating tools and other language resources designed to enrich their receptive and productive language capabilities.

The role of English

Auslan is used for all classroom interaction, and English is used in the translating sub-strand or when required for research purposes where a source text is not available in Auslan. Students may have varying skills in English. Using Auslan to express ideas and feelings, exchange opinions and manage shared activities increasingly involves cultural as well as linguistic choices; personal and social elements as well as grammatical ones, such as making decisions about whether to use more or less English-like signing. At this stage, learners can move from the ‘what’ considerations to the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions: from noticing that language and communication are culturally shaped to thinking about the values, experiences and perspectives which lie inside these cultural differences, and about how these impact on their own experience as they move between linguistic and cultural systems.


Years 7 and 8 Content Descriptions

Socialising

Initiate and sustain interactions to share ideas and interests, report on experiences, offer opinions and connect with events in their school and local community

[Key concepts: ideas, interests, community, issues; Key processes: comparing, contrasting, discussing, expressing] (ACLASFC055 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • exchanging opinions about topics such as food, sport, lifestyles, health, music or travel

  • participating in videoconferencing to compare and contrast aspects of their school experience, for example by communicating online with deaf students from different schools in another state/territory

  • discussing the relationship between events in their school or local community and interest groups they identify with by conducting an in-class survey

  • describing aspects of their school, community, home or social lives, for example:

    SCHOOL DS(5CLAW):located-at DS(C):l-shape…
    The school is located here, and then there’s a large L-shaped building on the right.
    WEEKEND, I VISIT HEARING FRIEND WE2 WATCH MOVIE OR DS:2-people-walk SHOPS OR SOMETIMES STAY HOME DS:press-console
    On the weekends, my hearing friend and I like to go to the movies or the shops, but sometimes we just play video games.
  • offering opinions about issues under consideration in their class or school community, such as their school policy on social media use

  • developing narrative and expressive skills by exchanging accounts of personally significant influences, experiences or milestones, identifying common experiences, such as describing their favourite holiday or their personal hero

  • comparing their experience of involvement in the Deaf community, and sharing their views on the importance of this experience in their lives by describing their relationships with deaf people outside of school

Engage in collaborative activities that involve planning, project design, problem-solving and evaluation of events or activities

[Key concepts: project design, procedure, direction; Key processes: creating, showcasing, reporting, evaluating] (ACLASFC056 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • working with a partner to create a visual resource that promotes Auslan as an important subject choice

  • working in groups to create a series of promotional resources for the school website

  • organising and participating in visits by respected members of the Deaf community to their school to share knowledge and to promote Auslan skills in the wider community

  • planning presentations to showcase aspects of Deaf culture likely to be unfamiliar to the hearing community

  • reporting on and evaluating completed events or activities that they had planned together, for example:

    FIRST PRO1 DOUBT I-F WILL GO-WELL, HAVE-A-LOOK GO-ALONG GOOD
    At the start, I wasn’t sure it would work, but after a while I thought it went well.
    PRO1 WRONG NEVER AGAIN DO SAME
    I won’t do that ever again.
  • following sequenced directions that involve the use of practical information, for example:

    SEE DS:wavy-surface, KNOW WHERE SCRATCH? S-A-N-D POLISH MORE DS:thick-to-thin 2MM SMOOTH
    See where the surface is uneven? You sand that back 2 mm and it gets smooth.
  • working in pairs to create instructional or procedural texts that demonstrate and explain activities

  • planning and presenting a cultural item for a school open day, such as celebration through drama or visual story of an important member of the Deaf community

  • discussing in pairs possible design options for an item such as language flag, artefact or logo that incorporates elements of significance to the Deaf community, presenting reasons for specific design suggestions, then voting as a class on a preferred design

Use interactions to support discussion and debate and to demonstrate culturally appropriate behaviours in and beyond the classroom

[Key concepts: protocol, debate, role, feedback; Key processes: debating, clarifying, eliciting, evaluating] (ACLASFC057 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • following protocols for interacting with sign language interpreters in various contexts in and out of school

  • using statements and discussion techniques to participate in class and school debates, for example by acknowledging others’ opinions and supporting their own with examples and accounts of personal experiences

  • understanding and adopting different roles in a debate, using more elaborated sentence structures and interactional strategies to support discussion and provide clarification, for example:

    PRO2 DIGRESS NEED COME-BACK-TO-POINT
    You’ve gone off the topic. Can you get back to your point?
    SUMMARY…
    In summary;
    PRO2 CONFUSE. PRO1 WIND-BACK
    I’ve confused you; let’s go back …
  • using evaluative language to acknowledge strengths in others’ arguments or to challenge others’ views in a courteous manner, for example:

    RIGHT-YEAH, PRO2 DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE. PRO1 NEVER THOUGHT
    Oh yeah, that’s a different take on it. I never thought about it that way.
    G:WELL RIGHT-YEAH, BUT I WANT ADD COMMENT
    Well, yes, that’s true but I’d like to add something.
  • being a supportive group participant, for example by asking relevant questions, providing feedback, prompting and eliciting contributions from others

Informing

Investigate and synthesise information collected from a range of perspectives and sources, identifying how culture and context affect how information is presented

[Key concepts: perspective, culture, context, source, representation; Key processes: researching, comparing, critically reviewing, profiling, summarising] (ACLASFC058 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • summarising ideas and information included in presentations by deaf visitors

  • collecting and summarising information on a selected topic sourced from different contexts, considering how context affects presentation of data

  • viewing Auslan texts that present different views on an issue of relevance to their age group, such as cochlear implants or social inclusion, considering how context and culture shape perspectives

  • researching information relating to deaf political movements at different times and in different contexts, drawing comparisons with current deaf organisations, such as the Deaf President Now movement and recruitment of Deaf CEOs

  • surveying peers or members of their family/community on topics related to deafness and the use of Auslan, discussing how commentaries they collect reflect different viewpoints and cultural perspectives

  • collecting information from texts such as interviews, documentaries or presentations to use in new forms, for example, to create a profile of notable Deaf Australians, such as Alastair McEwin, Nola Colefax, Colin Allen or Drisana Levitzke-Gray

  • paraphrasing and evaluating segments of recorded interviews with deaf artists on social media talking about their experience and artistic practice, for example, Deaf Arts Network

Exchange/provide information, opinions and experiences in either formal or informal contexts

[Key concepts: debate, persuasive text, perspective, critical review; Key processes: summarising, comparing, evaluating] (ACLASFC059 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • working in groups to create an informative multimedia text that invites debate of a social or cultural question, such as the medical versus cultural view of deafness

  • viewing two or more related signed texts on a selected topic, summarising and comparing key points of information and rephrasing for a class presentation

  • creating texts such as vlogs or advertisements that present information intended to convince or persuade others of the importance of learning Auslan

  • giving presentations that include different perspectives on a selected issue, for example identifying and evaluating differences in views in relation to Deaf education

  • creating and presenting explanations about simple biological or mechanical processes, such as how the ear, hearing aids and cochlear implants work

  • presenting a critical review of media profiles of respected/high-profile members of the Australian Deaf community, focusing on the relationship between texts and contexts

  • summarising visual ways of communicating, transmitting and receiving information and how these influence group learning and information sharing among Deaf people

  • working with an interpreter to decide how to present information on a selected topic to a hearing audience

  • identifying and profiling Deaf artists who make use of music, as in work associated with the Deaf Performing Arts Network

Creating

Interpret a range of texts that involve the creative expression of emotions or ideas and the imaginative representation of people, events and cultural experiences

[Key concepts: imagination, representation, characterisation, artistic practice, Deaf experience; Key processes: paraphrasing, evaluating, exploring, analysing, profiling, shadowing] (ACLASFC060 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • exploring how cultural values in relation to identity are reflected in different forms of artistic expression, such as poetry performances by Walter Kadiki or John Wilson’s ‘Home’

  • viewing performances by deaf artists who communicate elements of the Deaf experience through different art forms, for example the deaf rapper Signmark or the singer/signer Sean Forbes

  • analysing performances of Deaf poetry, for example by discussing themes, expression and construction and comparing how sign choice and stylistic techniques combine to convey ideas and emotions

  • watching performances of Deaf theatre groups such as the Australian Theatre of the Deaf, and identifying all the ways a signer refers to the same referent throughout

  • recognising the contribution of NMFs to characterisation and emotional expression in signed stories, skits or sketches

  • identifying the different roles of storytelling in Deaf culture, such as teaching, entertaining, communicating values or traditions, finding examples of these in well-known stories, fables or legends

  • evaluating Deaf performances or art forms that use technology such as camera and lighting techniques to expressive effect, for example performances by Ian Sanborn or Edan Chapman

  • exploring and describing the use of colour and images by different deaf artists such as Juan Fernández Navarrete or Nancy Rourke

  • engaging with signed versions of media texts, comparing visual elements to those for a hearing audience, for example, the teen drama Switched at Birth or teen dramas from BSL Zone

  • exploring the concept of metaphorical iconicity used in poems and narratives, for example by shadowing selected elements

  • analysing how elements of theatre performance, such as emotional nuance, are communicated through interpreters in a live setting

  • engaging with animations made by or about deaf people and critiquing the effectiveness of conveying all parameters of signing, for example, The Long Knife, or Gallaudet: The Film by Braam Jordaan

  • identifying how Deaf art forms represent people, experiences and Deaf spaces and contribute to the building of a sense of identity and cultural awareness

Create imaginative and expressive texts that draw from their experience as Auslan users and members of the Deaf community and which support the experience of younger learners

[Key concepts: Deaf experience, emotional expression, signed theatre, signed space; Key processes: composing, performing, creating, re-creating] (ACLASFC061 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • composing and performing soliloquies that capture elements of the Deaf experience in a hearing world

  • creating resources to support younger learners of Auslan, such as signed versions of games such as ‘Guess Who?’, riddles, treasure hunts or amusing tales

  • creating imaginative texts that present abstract ideas, such as hope, inclusion, friendship, in creative or amusing ways

  • creating an Auslan version of a popular song, using elements of all parameters to convey key messages and nuance emotional expression

  • creating a piece of art, such as a drawing, painting or photo collage, that reflects their experience of living in and moving between the Deaf and hearing worlds

  • engaging with the work of Deaf theatre groups such as the Australian Theatre of the Deaf, using elements of performances as models for their own experimentation with signed theatre

  • creating a performance for a school or Deaf festival based on the lives of celebrated or historical members of the Deaf community

  • presenting a short story based on their own experience of being a deaf student in a hearing school community, incorporating key elements of narrative structure, such as character introduction, problem/conflict, resolution

  • re-creating a theatre set from a two-dimensional image using signed space

Translating

Translate and interpret unfamiliar texts in Auslan or English and compare their translation to those of their classmates, considering why there might be differences in interpretation and how language reflects elements of culture and experience

[Key concepts: equivalence, representation, meaning, interpretation; Key processes: translating, interpreting, creating, paraphrasing, summarising, shadowing, comparing, explaining, role-playing] (ACLASFC062 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • identifying Auslan phrases and expressions encountered in unfamiliar texts that do not translate literally into English, comparing their interpretation with those of their classmates

  • considering possible consequences of lack of equivalence between Auslan and English words and phrases in terms of intercultural communication, providing examples from their own experience

  • analysing an Auslan version of a frozen text such as the Australian National Anthem, considering why some words or expressions require freer translation than others

  • developing in consultation with deaf Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and elders an Acknowledgement of Country in Auslan that is appropriate to their school location for use in gatherings, events and school assemblies

  • paraphrasing and summarising short Auslan texts containing unfamiliar content, providing simple translations in written English

  • translating simple filmed texts in Auslan into transcribed written English captions

  • shadowing quality signed texts in Auslan as a pre-interpreting skill and as a means to enhance presenting skills and confidence as a subset of interpreting skills

  • comparing translations in Auslan, BSL and International Sign of stories such as ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ to Auslan versions of the same stories, discussing differences in vocabulary and approaches to translation on a free to literal continuum

  • comparing their own translations of short set texts in Auslan or English with those of their classmates, noting variations and discussing possible reasons for these

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

  • evaluating different interpretations of selected texts, using translation resources such as Mac software, digital dictionaries and online materials, considering questions such as Does this represent the exact meaning? What other ways could this be interpreted or translated?

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

  • exploring metaphors used in Deaf art and discussing whether these translate well to the hearing world

  • role-playing basic sight translation techniques with simple, school-specific or everyday texts, using an autocue or text and signing the translation to camera

  • developing a written English glossary of terminology in relation to sign language translation and interpreting

Create bilingual texts to use in the wider school community, identifying words/signs or expressions that carry specific cultural meaning in either Auslan or English

[Key concepts: equivalence, interpretation; Key processes: creating, captioning, transcribing] (ACLASFC063 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • creating bilingual texts that inform the school community about Deaf culture

  • captioning examples of deaf poetry, noticing areas of difficulty and considering possible reasons for this, and comparing individual translations with those of classmates to determine if similar challenges were faced by others

  • creating bilingual public information texts, such as details about Deaf community events such as the National Week of Deaf People schedule and the importance of the event, and posting these on the school website

  • transcribing short, simple spoken texts such as instructions or procedures into Auslan and filming the translations, for example, recipe requests by food technology teachers for their classes

Identity

Explore the relationship between identity, community and visual ways of being and the nature and significance of relationship between people, culture and place/space

[Key concepts: identity, relationship, Deafhood, place, space, responsibility, ownership, Deaf gain, story, guidance; Key processes: comparing, describing, exploring, discussing, investigating] (ACLASFC064 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • creating and comparing individual biographies, including elements such as family origins, traditions, beliefs, experiences, and considering how these influence their sense of identity

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

  • describing how the concept of Deafhood applies to them and to others by evaluating texts and media portrayals of deaf identity

  • discussing visual ways of transmitting and receiving information and how these influence group learning and information sharing among Deaf people

  • exploring how Deaf cultures around the world build shared group identity, for example through gathering formally as national and international communities through activities such as Deaf film festivals, performing arts or sporting events such as Deaf Way, Australian Deaf Games, Deaflympics

  • discussing when and how they learnt Auslan and how this contributed to their sense of identity

  • analysing ways in which Deaf people design and adapt spaces in cultural ways (‘Deaf space’), for example, by eliminating visual obstacles to signed communication; using circles or semicircles for meeting and learning spaces; and using open-plan areas, lighting and window placement to maximise visual access to information, with reference to Gallaudet University’s Deaf space design principles

  • considering how accounts by different deaf visitors to the classroom of their lives, work, education, interests and experience reflect a sense of identity and relationship with Auslan and Deaf culture

  • identifying ways in which members of the Deaf community demonstrate responsibility for relationships within the community and between it and the wider ‘hearing’ society, for example, describing past learning from deaf adults or other deaf peers about navigating relationships

  • investigating and explaining connections between rules, culture and community, identifying how these are demonstrated in Deaf culture through visual ways of being and using language, for example, exploring the values and beliefs which influence observable behaviours and social rules

  • suggesting how reciprocity works in relation to community members sharing responsibility for each other’s wellbeing, comparing examples of how they themselves negotiate relationships with each other and look out for each other

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

  • describing how the Deaf community maintains Deaf places and keeps them relevant to new generations, for example by acknowledging Deaf pioneers in the naming of places and identifying historical links with places

  • discussing with elders how patterns of ownership and management of Deaf spaces and places impact on the Deaf community

  • describing their experience of moving between English and Auslan, comparing how this feels and considering changes in their sense of identity when communicating in either language

  • sharing their understandings of Deafhood and Deaf gain with Deaf elders and comparing these the elders’ views on these concepts

Reflecting

Participate in and reflect on intercultural interactions and experiences, for example by considering and comparing their responses and strategies when engaging with hearing people

[Key concepts: intercultural experience, ways of knowing and being, discrimination; Key processes: comparing, analysing, explaining, reflecting, exploring] (ACLASFC065 - Scootle )

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

  • reflecting on how differences between signed 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

  • reflecting on the concepts of insider and outsider views of the Deaf community and on their own position as first language learners of Auslan

  • reflecting on their own and others’ social attitudes and responses to differences in behaviours or communicative styles, for example on how they feel when hearing people do not make eye contact during an interaction

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

  • comparing strategies used by deaf and hearing adults to negotiate the physical environment, for example, different behaviours that reflect different perceptual perspectives in contexts such as travelling in a lift

Systems of language

Investigate and explain why signs are structured as they are, including with respect to iconicity, and compare transcription of Auslan video annotation software with glosses

[Key concepts: levels and types of iconicity, transcription; Key processes: identifying, recognising, glossing, annotating] (ACLASFU066 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • understanding that signs can be iconic in a number of ways, such as representing a whole object or part of an object

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

  • recognising that signed languages show more iconicity than spoken languages because they are visual not auditory, and that most referents have visual features

  • identifying and classifying examples of spatial modifications of nouns and verbs in a video text using video annotation software, for example, ELAN

  • glossing a text independently, identifying what signs are used, any NMFs, and any examples of DSs and CA

  • beginning to use annotations in a glossed text to show spatial modification of nouns and verbs

Distinguish between character and observer space, categorise different verb types and identify constructed action in a text

[Key concepts: fully- or partly-lexical signs, character and observer space, depicting signs; Key processes: recognising, distinguishing, classifying, observing] (ACLASFU067 - Scootle )

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

  • recognising that signers can set up referents in the signing space as if they are part of that space (character space, for example, using a bC handshape (use of non-dominant hand) to indicate putting a glass on a table) or as if they are outside it (observer, for example, using 5claw in two locations to represent two houses)

  • recognising that in character space, signers can use locations for present referents, non-present referents, or abstract referents that do not exist in space

  • recognising that signers can give information about how a verb happens over time by changing the movement, for example, signing WATCH versus WATCH -for-a-long-time, or with lexical signs such as WATCH AGAIN++

  • recognising that nouns can be pluralised by locating them repeatedly regardless of their original location

  • categorising the type of depicting sign being used by a signer

  • distinguishing between directional and locational indicating verbs

  • observing examples of CA in an Auslan text and discussing how it was marked

Understand that utterances in Auslan can consist of a mix of gestural and signed components, and that non-manual features are often used to link clauses into equal or unequal relationships

[Key concepts: clause types, sign order, conjunctions; Key processes: recognising, observing, analysing] (ACLASFU068 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising the nature and function of word classes and understanding that the context of the sign is important and Auslan signs will not always have the same word class as an English word, for example, adjectives can act like verbs in Auslan, for example, PRO3 BIG

  • recognising that some verbs and nouns use the same sign but change the movement in a regular way making noun-verb pairs, such as SCISSORS versus CUT-WITH-SCISSORS

  • being able to describe various types of clauses and recognising that these often co-occur with particular NMFs, such as questions, topicalised sentences, negation or conditionals

  • analysing yes/no questions and wh- questions to identify how NMFs and particular lexical signs are used to make each type of question

  • recognising how NMFs can create emphasis or stress

  • recognising that clauses can be joined by conjunctions to make longer sentences and these conjunctions can be shown with separate signs, such as PLUS or THEN, or NMFs, for example by pausing between clauses

  • noticing with support, when signers are using composite utterances, that is, those that have elements of CA, DSs, points and DSs, and fully-lexical signs in the same utterance

  • identifying clauses that are linked equally and unequally, where one clause depends on another

Explain the structure and organisation of particular types of texts, such as conversations or information reports, and identify language features used by signers to meet specific purposes and to create cohesion

[Key concepts: grammar, choice, coherence; Key processes: identifying, applying, analysing] (ACLASFU069 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • analysing linguistic structures and features associated with more dynamic texts, such as back-channels and hesitations used in casual conversations

  • applying knowledge of choices a signer can make in texts, for example by comparing two signers’ texts about the same topic and evaluating different language choices each made, such as when to tell and when to enact, or when to use DSs

  • analysing signers’ use of pausing in a description or information report

  • identifying all the ways a signer refers to the same referent throughout a text

  • identifying examples of ellipsis, such as dropping the participants in verbs

  • recognising that nouns that are being introduced are more frequently overt than when they are given already in a text

  • recognising signs that function as interjections or discourse markers

Language variation and change

Understand that Auslan has evolved and developed through different periods of influence and cultural and societal change

[Key concepts: change, evolution, contact, technology; Key processes: identifying, recognising, researching] (ACLASFU070 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • researching how BSL from the 1800s evolved into Auslan, NZSL and modern BSL, for example by finding and classifying examples from Auslan, NZSL and BSL signbanks

  • understanding that while the structure of individual signs can change over time in regular ways, there is little information about this process in signed languages due to lack of historic records of signing

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

  • identifying changes to Auslan that reflect changes in social relationships and community attitudes, for example in relation to words/signs such as DEAF^DUMB, DISABILITY, HEARING^IMPAIRED/H-O-H, DEAF^WORLD/DEAF^COMMUNITY, HUMAN^RIGHT

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

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

Language awareness

Understand historical and contemporary factors that impact on awareness, support and use of Auslan and its vitality in contemporary Australia, comparing it with that of other signed languages around the world

[Key concepts: influence, transmission, vitality, evolution, endangerment; Key processes: investigating, exploring, describing, comparing, analysing, reflecting] (ACLASFU071 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • considering the impact of international historical events such as the Milan Congress (1880) and the linguistic recognition and documentation of signed languages (1960s and 1970s) on the use of signed languages in education and deaf people’s feelings of ownership and pride in their languages

  • analysing the impact of migration and settlement of deaf people from the UK and other countries in Australia on the development of Auslan

  • investigating the geographical location, origins and history of deaf schools in Australia and the impact of these institutions on the transmission, use and status of Auslan

  • considering the contemporary influences and pressures on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander signed languages and how these may affect their vitality

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

  • exploring multilingualism in the Deaf community, including the use of Auslan, English and other signed and spoken languages such as Irish-Australian sign language, and how and when users typically switch between languages and dialects

  • investigating the use and impact of generic digital technology and specific forms of communication by Auslan users, for example, video chat, social media, SMS/texting, and NRS and VRS

  • reflecting on the role of Auslan interpreters in raising awareness and understanding of Auslan in the wider community and in influencing the function and nature of Auslan, for example by the introduction of new signs for temporary use in certain contexts

  • investigating historical patterns of employment of deaf people in certain trades and fields of work, and the impact of these traditional employment domains on Auslan development

  • considering ways that Auslan is evolving due to influences such as globalisation and the capacity for new technology to store, record and share sign languages internationally

  • comparing levels of endangerment of different sign languages, such as NZSL, village sign languages, ASL, Scandinavian, South American sign languages and Auslan, for example by using UNESCO data by reviewing the iSLanDS survey findings

  • understanding the challenges faced by Auslan and other signed languages due to intergenerational disjunction in language transmission

  • investigating how new or specialised language associated with domains such as technology, engineering, cooking or fashion are used but not documented in the Deaf community, and how such language impacts on language vitality

  • identifying contexts and circumstances that support increased usage and acceptance of newly coined Auslan terms, for example, a workplace with several deaf employees

  • researching the role of the World Federation of the Deaf in mapping and monitoring the vitality of sign languages around the world and in protecting sign language diversity

Role of language and culture

Reflect on how language use is influenced by communities’ world views and sense of identity and on how language and culture influence each other

[Key concepts: culture, knowledge, value, transmission; Key processes: explaining, reflecting, exploring, analysing, comparing] (ACLASFU072 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • exploring the nature of culture and how it is related to ways of thinking and using language, for example by comparing the cultural concept of Deaf identity with a medical model of deafness

  • exploring ways in which language choices, such as sign choices, reflect attitudes towards certain topics, for example, oralism

  • analysing how concepts related to cultural practices are expressed through language, for example, by identifying particular elements of naming systems, such as the use of pointing, NMFs and name signs, as in the case of number name signs of older deaf people who attended the Victorian School for Deaf Children

  • identifying and discussing core cultural concepts reflected in Auslan such as the collective nature of the Deaf community, the importance of respect for elders and of reciprocity and responsibility, for example, how signing TAP-MANY, TAP-2H++ reflects understanding of responsibility to share information and pass on knowledge, or greater use of the ‘flat hand’ rather than the ‘point hand’ and use of full titles in acknowledgements and forms of address when introducing an esteemed Deaf elder

  • investigating how Auslan users interact with their social and physical environment, for example, locating other signers, gravitating to spaces that are visually accessible

  • identifying culturally significant attitudes and beliefs conveyed through Auslan that relate to history, significant individuals, places or events, for example, attitudes to spoken language that reflect the history of suppression of signed languages, as in the use of signs that reference tensions between oral and signing deaf people or between hearing and deaf people, such as the sign for communication breakdown which infers lack of awareness or understanding of cultural values, beliefs and language on the part of the other party

  • comparing elements of communication in different contexts and exchanges that are culturally specific, such as back-channelling, the use of silence or eye contact, head nodding to indicate understanding rather than agreement, and the implications of such cultural variability in contexts such as courts of law

  • observing that concepts may be culture and language specific, for example, in relation to time and space, as in the spatial mapping for timelines in Auslan

  • understanding how developing sign language literatures which recount significant journeys and events associated with the beginnings of Deaf education and the development of Deaf communities not only map history but also embody values and mores of Deaf cultures, for example, accounts of the Gallaudet and Clerc reciprocal relationship, or the US Civil War deaf soldiers’ story as told by Ben Bahan

  • exploring ways in which the production and affect related to the sign for COCHLEAR-IMPLANT have evolved over time due to shifting values and perceptions of the Deaf community in relation to the implant, noting, for example, the transition from a negative affect to more neutral production of the sign

  • researching examples of deaf leaders who have established organisations or services which met the cultural needs of their community, for example, Dorothy Shaw and Deaf Action Books, Nola Colefax and the Australian Theatre of the Deaf


Years 7 and 8 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 8, students interact to share ideas and interests and to offer opinions, using compound and complex sentences, for example by using lexical conjunctions as well as non-manual features (NMFs). They participate in discussions and debates, acknowledging others’ opinions and developing and supporting arguments. They collaborate in activities that involve planning, project design and problem-solving, for example, G:WELL RIGHT-YEAH , BUT I WANT ADD COMMENT. They use evaluative language to reflect on learning activities and to provide feedback to others. They follow protocols for interacting with sign language interpreters in various contexts. Students locate, collate, summarise and analyse ideas and information from a variety of sources, such as interviews, documentaries or speeches, and they use such information in new forms. They use primary or secondary signed sources in their research, for example, when exploring significant events in Deaf history. They use specialised language to create texts such as vlogs, advertisements or research-based factual reports designed to convince or persuade others. They analyse elements of different imaginative texts such as poetry, performances, signed stories, skits and sketches, and explain how sign choice, NMFs and the use of different stylistic techniques combine to convey ideas and emotions. They create imaginative and expressive texts that draw from their experience as Auslan users and members of the Deaf community, including metaphorical iconicity to create particular effects and to engage interest. Students translate and interpret unfamiliar texts in Auslan or English and compare their own translations to those of their classmates, considering why there might be differences between them. They create bilingual texts to use in the wider school community. They describe how the concept and the experience of Deafhood and visual ways of being apply to themselves and others. They reflect on how their own ways of communicating may be interpreted when interacting with hearing people, and on their use of different communication strategies and behaviours, such as their use of gesture, facial expression and body language.

Students know that signs can be iconic in a number of ways, and identify iconic signs that represent a whole object or part of an object. They distinguish between character and observer space, classify verb types according to how they use space, and identify constructed action in a text. They explain the form and function of a range of clause types, including what NMFs are used, for example, questions, topicalisation, negation or conditionals. They identify all the ways a signer refers to the same referent throughout a text to create cohesion. They recognise that Auslan is constantly evolving and changing, for example, by identifying changes to Auslan that reflect changes in social relationships, community attitudes and changing technology. Students reflect on how all ways of language use are influenced by communities’ world views and identities, for example by comparing the cultural concept of Deaf identity with the medical model of deafness.