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.