Auslan (Version 8.4)

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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.



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



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


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.


Learner diversity and learner 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.


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).


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




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 9 and 10

Years 9 and 10 Band Description

The nature of the learners

This stage of learning coincides with social, physical and cognitive changes associated with adolescence. Increased cognitive maturity enables learners to work more deductively with language and culture systems, to apply more intentional learning strategies and to reflect productively on their learning. Motivation and engagement with language learning and use are influenced by peer-group dynamics, personal interests and values, and issues related to self-concept. This is particularly the case for bilingual learners, especially for deaf students who also use spoken English, for whom the duality of living between languages and cultural frames impacts continually on the process of identity construction. The role of language is central to this process and is reflected in the degree to which learners define themselves as members of language communities, how they position themselves in relation to peer groups, and choices they make in relation to linguistic and social practices. These processes are fluid and context-responsive and impact on learners’ engagement with both Auslan and English language learning. Learners at this level are increasingly aware of the world beyond their own and are engaging with youth, social and environmental issues. They are considering their future pathways and choices, including how Auslan could be part of these.

Auslan learning and use

This is a period of language exploration. Task characteristics and conditions at this level are more complex and challenging, involving collaborative as well as independent language planning and performance, and the development and strategic use of language and cultural resources. Elements of tasks involve interpreting, creating, evaluating and performing. Working with media resources, fictional and non-fictional texts, performances and research projects allows for the exploration of themes of personal and contemporary relevance, such as global and environmental issues, identity and relationship issues, questions of diversity and inclusivity.

Learners use Auslan to debate, clarify and interrogate ideas and concepts; to appraise and summarise opinions and to engage in elaborated discussions, developing and supporting arguments and sharing and evaluating opinions. They communicate in a wide range of contexts, such as a whole-school forum, present sustained signed explanations of abstract topics, and participate in imaginative and creative experiences.

Contexts of interaction

Learners interact with peers, teachers and other Auslan signers in immediate and local contexts, and with wider Deaf communities as well as cultural resources via virtual and online environments. They may participate in community events such as film or cultural festivals or intercultural forums.

Texts and resources

Learners use an extensive range of texts and materials designed for in-class learning of Auslan, as well as authentic texts produced in broader contexts. They are encouraged to source extra materials to support their learning and to pursue personal interests and explore various aspects of Auslan or Deafhood.

Features of Auslan use

Learners extend their grammatical knowledge to a range of forms and functions that give them control of more complex elements of text construction and sign formation. They have a greater degree of self-correction and repair. This greater control of language structures and systems increases confidence and interest in communicating in a wider range of contexts. Learners design, interpret and analyse a wider range of texts and experiences. Textual knowledge and capability are strengthened through maintaining a balance between activities that focus on language forms and structures and communicative tasks and performance.

Learners experiment with ways to refine a text, for example to strengthen it for entertainment, information or persuasion purposes. They understand that reordering clauses or parts of clauses can create subtle meaning differences. They use depicting signs to innovate where there are lexical gaps, and make richer use of the ‘visual vernacular’, producing complex narratives that combine and switch between methods of depiction (CA, DSs and lexical signs) and frames of spatial reference (character or observer). They demonstrate understanding of language variation and change, and of how intercultural experience, technology, media and globalisation influence language use and forms of communication. They investigate texts through more critical analysis, identifying how language choices reflect perspectives and shape meaning, and how they in turn are shaped by context and intention.

Learners at this level understand the relationship between language, culture and identity. They explore in more depth and detail the processes involved in learning and using different languages, recognising them as cognitive, cultural and personal as well as linguistic resources. They identify how meaning-making and representation in different languages involve interpretation and personal response as well as literal translation and factual reporting. They explore the reciprocal nature of intercultural communication: how moving between different languages and cultural systems impacts on their ways of thinking and behaving; and how successful communication requires flexibility, awareness and openness to alternative ways. They develop a capacity to ‘decentre’ from normative ways of thinking and communicating, to consider their own cultural ways through the eyes of others, and to communicate in interculturally appropriate ways.

Level of support

While learners at this level are increasingly less reliant on the teaching team for support during communicative interactions, continued provision of rich language input and modelled language is needed to consolidate and sustain language development. The teaching team provides implicit and explicit modelling and scaffolding in relation to meaningful language use in a range of contexts, situations and learning experiences; and explicit instruction and explanation in relation to complex structures, grammatical functions and abstract concepts and vocabulary. Provision of opportunities to discuss, clarify, rehearse and apply their knowledge is critical in consolidating knowledge and skills and in developing autonomy. Learners are encouraged to self-monitor, for example by keeping records of feedback, through peer support and self-review or by creating and maintaining a video journal or folio which they use to reflect on their language learning and intercultural experiences. They are increasingly aware of and responsible for their own learning, working independently to address their needs, for example by accessing technologies and additional learning resources, such as Signbank, to assist their learning. They use graphic organisers, modelled texts, dictionaries and teacher feedback to interpret and create texts.

The role of English

Learners and the teaching team use Auslan as the primary medium of interaction in language-oriented and most content-oriented learning experiences. English is used for comparative analysis and for research when a source text in Auslan cannot be found. Learners are encouraged to reflect on the different roles English and Auslan play in their academic work and in their conceptual development.

Years 9 and 10 Content Descriptions


Use interactions within the school and wider community to build relationships and to discuss personal aspirations or social issues

[Key concepts: register, debate, discussion; Key processes: debating, chatting, initiating, discussing] (ACLASFC073 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • competing in inter-class or inter-school debates, using appropriate conventions and protocols to support or oppose a proposition, for example, using space and NMFs to contrast views

  • contributing to exchanges with peers and teachers when discussing their personal, educational and professional future wishes

  • participating in role-plays on social and cultural issues, for example, the role of interpreters or the impact of social media

  • communicating using digital technologies to chat with a student from another school, for example about the influence of ‘text talk’ and social media on Auslan, such as the use of signs for LOL, WHATEVER

  • participating in a whole-school forum on current school or community issues

  • communicating via video calls or social media platforms with other deaf children in different contexts to build relationships and exchange views on topics of mutual interest

  • using strategies to initiate and sustain discussion, for example by providing the context of a conversation to new participants:

    PRO3 SAY…
    She was saying that …
Participate in actions and interactions involving advocacy and consideration of cultural diversity, perspective and experience

[Key concepts: diversity, perspective, inclusion, advocacy; Key processes: managing, promoting, advocating, collaborating] (ACLASFC074 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Ethical Understanding
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • managing shared learning experiences that require consideration of different views, opinions and cultural perspectives

  • designing and enacting hypothetical scenarios that address issues related to Deaf experience, for example in the domains of sport or education

  • collaborating with a partner to take action on an issue affecting the Deaf community, such as advocating for provision of captioning or funding for Deaf organisations

  • organising an awareness campaign that reflects or mediates views on issues of relevance to their peer group/community, for example, creating a positive promotional video about successful deaf people in their state, outlining strategies to support achievement

  • advocating for a change in particular school processes or practices, such as ensuring all public school performances (such as theatre or dance festivals) automatically have interpreters present, for example by meeting with the student council, principal or parent group to advocate

Engage proactively in language learning experiences through discussion, justification of opinions and reflection on the experience of learning and using Auslan

[Key concepts: language learning, argument, ideas, reflection; Key processes: clarifying, interrogating, reflecting, comparing] (ACLASFC075 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • participating in discussion and debate, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions

  • making connections between their own and each other’s ideas or beliefs and real-life experiences and consequences, using reflections such as:

    Sometimes things happen because you think they will, so it comes true.
    If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t.
  • comparing opinions about culturally appropriate behaviours when engaging with unfamiliar members of the Deaf community

  • using skills such as paraphrasing, questioning, interpreting non-verbal cues and appropriate vocabulary selection to support elaborated discussion

  • discussing and experimenting with ways to strengthen and refine signed texts to entertain, inform, persuade or inspire different audiences

  • exchanging reflections on the experience of using Auslan in different contexts and situations, comparing challenges or satisfactions and reflecting on how the same event can be differently experienced or interpreted


Research and evaluate information from different sources and perspectives, summarising opinions and critically appraising relationships between texts and contexts

[Key concepts: debate, evidence, bias, critical analysis, context; Key processes: researching, evaluating, debating, providing feedback, summarising] (ACLASFC076 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • evaluating information collected from different sources to debate issues of interest and significance to the Deaf community, such as eugenics, deaf technology or interpreter ethics

  • using critical literacy skills to recognise textual bias and to distinguish between fact and opinion in differently sourced texts relating to the Deaf community and/or deafness

  • researching a significant event that affects/has affected the Deaf community, summarising findings in the form of contributions to a panel discussion or debate

  • evaluating information presented by their peers or teachers, providing constructive feedback supported by evidence

  • appraising and summarising opinions expressed in formally and informally signed texts

  • using stories by elders and excursions to sites of significance to document, describe and provide explanatory detail of places of importance to the Deaf community

  • using primary or secondary signed sources to research significant events in Deaf history to present a critical overview of how information can be differently presented

Prepare and present researched information on a range of issues, considering the context in which the information will be received

[Key concepts: audience, context, source, evidence, bias, statistics; Key processes: presenting, explaining, interpreting data, evaluating] (ACLASFC077 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • presenting a sustained signed explanation on a given topic, using information selected from a range of sources to suit the intended audience

  • using evidence selected from independent research sources and evaluative or persuasive language to respond to arguments about issues such as eugenics, deaf technology or interpreter ethics

  • presenting information on current affairs or news items, identifying bias and the effect of context on the shaping of texts

  • arguing a predetermined, evidence-based position in a panel discussion/debate on controversial questions, for example, the inclusion of deaf members of a jury

  • designing the presentation of an Auslan text for a vlog that requires voice interpreting with notes to indicate emphasis and to clarify meaning

  • providing explanations of abstract or technical concepts, such as poverty or radiation from uranium, shaping the style of the presentation to suit the intended audience, for example through significant use of depicting signs

  • presenting an interpretation of graphs and statistics that provide information relating to the Deaf community, discussing findings and making predictions about future changes or patterns


Analyse different types of imaginative, creative and performative texts, considering how different techniques and modalities are employed to communicate with different audiences

[Key concepts: meaning, mood, imagery, rhyme, metaphor; Key processes: analysing, interpreting, discussing, responding, reflecting] (ACLASFC078 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • analysing examples of signed performance poetry, identifying patterns and conventions such as repetition of handshapes and movement paths of signs to create rhyme and to convey meaning

  • interpreting visual representations of Deaf experience, including the use of metaphors, perspectives, colours and textures in visual art forms such as sculpture, painting, photography, printmaking or ceramics

  • responding to forms of Deaf art that challenge perceptions and stimulate discussion, such as the work of Christine Sun Kim or members of the Australian Theatre of the Deaf or Deafinitely

  • comparing responses to imaginative texts that present particular values or points of view, for example, Deaf slam poetry

  • reflecting on the multilayered dimension of signed narrative, identifying how dynamic handshapes, facial expressions and body movements provide simultaneous narrative, commentary and emotional expression

  • comparing different recordings of signed storytelling, for example of young children making up stories or older people telling traditional tales, noticing differences in their language

  • comparing their interpretations of/responses to performances by deaf comedians, storytellers or poets

  • viewing and reviewing media texts that use aesthetic, artistic or realistic techniques to interpret and communicate dimensions of the Deaf experience, for example the documentary Deaf Jam (2011)

  • exploring the use of technology in Deaf art, film or performance, for example to help build mood or emotional expression

  • identifying relationships between elements such as imagery or signed sequences in texts such as ballads, free verse or narratives, for example by working with Auslan translations of Shakespearean texts

  • responding to signed poems that use extended metaphor to communicate values and ideas or to express emotional experience, for example, ‘Butterfly Hands’ by Walter Kadiki

  • comparing the visual nature of signed narratives with oral traditions of Indigenous cultures

  • analysing responses of hearing audiences to deaf performances, for example by evaluating comments made by judges on reality/talent television shows

  • discussing the complexity of live theatre performance interpretation and the use of deaf interpreters and consultants

  • creating highly complex narratives combining and switching between ways of reference, for example, CA, DS, lexical signs and frames of spatial reference

Create imaginative texts designed to engage and/or reflect the interests of specific audiences and to stimulate discussion of cultural issues and experiences

[Key concepts: mode, multimodality, visual imagery, metaphor, intercultural experience; Key processes: creating, adapting, experimenting, performing] (ACLASFC079 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • creating a dynamic multimodal performance suitable for different modes of entertainment, such as a vlog, television or live performance

  • adapting the mode and style of delivery of a narrative or poem to suit either a younger or older audience

  • creating a class anthology of Auslan poems that reflect the diversity of cultural experience represented in their school community

  • experimenting with different modes of expression and visual imagery to explore the poetics of visual language

  • creating poems or raps that represent emotional accounts of personal stories, successes or struggles to enter into a class slam poetry competition

  • plan, rehearse and perform short dramatisations that explore social/cultural issues relevant to their peer group or community, selecting language features, images and forms of expression to suit the intended audience

  • using metaphors to extend or redirect a favourite text that invites reflection on cultural or intercultural experiences

  • creating an animation with a deaf character or theme related to the Deaf community

  • creating a piece of art such as a sculpture, collage or film clip that reflects their experience of moving between Deaf and hearing worlds

  • creating a signed poem that reflects elements of their own emotional response to a particular personal experience


Translate Auslan and English texts composed for different audiences and contexts and consider the dynamic nature of translating and interpreting and the role of culture when transferring meaning from one language to another

[Key concepts: equivalence, representation, meaning, interpretation, ethics, culture; Key processes: translating, interpreting, comparing, explaining, analysing] (ACLASFC080 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • experimenting with literal Auslan translations of popular English idioms, noticing when this creates confusion (for example, raining cats and dogs) and discussing how to interpret such idioms accurately

  • comparing online Auslan and English public announcements and government policy/information texts in terms of different approaches to translation and preservation of content, for example, free versus literal

  • viewing and discussing the effectiveness and accuracy of online Auslan translations, such as the Catching Fire series of safety videos or the emergency disaster preparedness videos

  • trialling different resources to assist in translation, including online dictionaries and footage, for example by comparing individual translations, back-translating, and reviewing useful references

  • considering the nature of translation with reference to different strategies such as decoding literal meaning (word for sign), reading for meaning (sense for sense) and cultural reading (between the lines)

  • recognising the need to sometimes recast language and considering why one language may use more words/signs than another to communicate a particular meaning or concept, for example, in relation to the use of space and depicting signs in Auslan in describing a scene compared to the linear spoken modality of English

  • critically evaluating the accuracy and effectiveness of English subtitles to an Auslan text, for example the range of community service Auslan messages produced by the Deaf Society of NSW

  • providing annotated examples of translations of poems or other types of text, identifying challenges involved in transferring meaning, expression, culture and mood from one language to another

  • comparing examples of BSL and Auslan literature and evaluating translations from both/each into English, for example of poems by Dorothy Miles or Walter Kadiki

  • translating suitable jokes, songs, poems, stories or plays from English into Auslan and vice versa

  • analysing existing translations of texts, such as short subtitled films or TV programs containing deaf characters using various sign languages, making comparisons with their own translations into Auslan or English and reflecting on identified variations

  • identifying the range of reference materials and resources available to assist in language documentation and translation tasks, for example ELAN, and exploring how to use them

  • researching aspects of available interpreting services in their area, for example, the role of interpreters, qualifications required, ethical considerations and issues associated with interpreting and translating in specialised contexts such as health, education, legal settings

  • exploring the role of deaf people as Deaf interpreters and as language consultants on interpreted theatre events, considering the work this involves and the skills needed for it

  • considering culturally appropriate and ethical behaviour when interpreting and translating, for example by explaining appropriate behaviour in interpreting contexts and considering potential consequences of inaccurate interpreting

  • analysing codes of ethics of interpreters, comparing existing codes in Australia, such as the ASLIA and AUSIT codes, and developing simple translations of the main principles of each code

  • role-playing the part of a Deaf interpreter for unfamiliar deaf guests who are non-conventional Auslan users or users of another signed language in a simple context such as an interaction in a library

  • comparing signed texts in International Sign with translated Auslan versions created by students, using H3 broadcasts as a resource

  • participating in formal situations where interpreters are working, discussing observed translation choices made

Create resources such as videos, glossaries and classifications in English to interpret cultural aspects of Auslan texts

[Key concepts: expression, bilingualism; Key processes: recording, creating, captioning] (ACLASFC081 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • collecting and explaining to non-Auslan users expressions and culturally specific terms encountered in Auslan texts, for example, hearing, residential school

  • collecting and recording different signs, attaching English captions with appropriate translations, for example, PAH! = finally, TALK = communicate in speech or Auslan, CHAT = talk in Auslan

  • creating a bilingual virtual tour of the school for use on the school website

  • developing a signed and captioned film presentation, for example, about how to work with an interpreter

  • making a short bilingual documentary in Auslan and English about a topical issue, moving through the processes of drafting, translating and captioning the final product

  • capturing and presenting stories recorded from interviews in Auslan with members of the Deaf community, captioning the interviews in English


Identify ways in which deaf people relate to and are perceived by society as ‘people of the eye’, how they demonstrate connections with culturally rich places and associations, and how their sense of identity, roles and responsibilities change over time

[Key concepts: identity, relationship, Deafhood, reciprocity, guidance, place, space, rights, responsibility, social action; Deaf gain; Key processes: discussing, comparing, investigating, reflecting] (ACLASFC082 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • discussing the notion of ‘Deaf eyes’ and the capacity of deaf people to determine the deaf/hearing status of others in their environment based on eye behaviour

  • considering how deaf people are perceived to be more observant and more astute visually, for example, as drivers, in sports or in terms of visual memory, comparing anecdotal findings and documented research on this issue

  • discussing how identity may shift depending on what is most salient in any context or setting, and how as people mature they learn to navigate ‘multiple identities’ in relation to different elements of their experience, such as background ethnicity and culture and Deaf identity/culture

  • reflecting on the concept of Deafhood as it applies to and informs life choices made by young Deaf people, for example in relation to social group participation, communication preferences, ways of identifying, describing and introducing themselves to others

  • considering how relationships between changing technology and Deaf people are managed to express and to reflect identity, for example, the rejection of hearing devices or, alternatively, highlighting them with colour or prominent placement

  • considering whether a strong sense of shared identity influences the capacity for awareness and advocacy for Deaf people’s rights

  • discussing how social groups such as Deaf communities form intergenerational patterns that determine relationships and shape behaviours, for example, by interviewing a member of a Deaf family of two or more generations

  • investigating ways the Deaf ecosystem works and the reciprocal nature of relationships in some Deaf communities, for example in business or professional domains, and the contribution this ecosystem makes to collective identity

  • discussing how the Deaf community expresses different elements of their identity, for example through behaviours associated with Deaf spaces, greetings and introductions which illustrate community status and affiliation

  • investigating how a strong sense of identity impacts on social and emotional health and wellbeing by exploring the available research on wellbeing and identity in deaf people

  • identifying and describing intersections between national and international Deaf communities and organisations, and how these contribute to a transnational sense of belonging, for example, by evaluating shared experiences by viewing online texts produced by deaf people in different countries

  • comparing changing values and status of place and space in different international Deaf communities, for example, the loss of Deaf clubs or closure of Deaf schools, and reflecting on the implications of these changes over time for Deaf identity

  • responding to different philosophical and social views about deafness, considering the impact of varying attitudes on a deaf person’s developing identity

  • discussing ways in which the philosophy of ‘Deaf gain’ can be applied to personal circumstances, such as classroom accommodations and sporting participation

  • summarising elements of elders' guidance on how cultural values, beliefs and traditions are expressed and connected through shared experience of visual ways of being, providing examples of how these are demonstrated in community behaviour and in interactions with the wider community

  • describing and comparing their personal sense of social responsibility towards their Deaf community, for example as demonstrated through attending, organising or volunteering at festivals, camps or youth groups

  • exploring the wider political landscape of the Deaf community as it impacts on individual and community identity, for example, by identifying the impact of activism and Deaf empowerment movements such as the Deaf President Now campaign at Gallaudet University, a ‘Deaf place’, in effecting change and strengthening Deaf communities’ connection to ‘place’


Reflect on the experience of learning and using Auslan formally in school, and considering how intercultural communication involves shared responsibility for making meaning

[Key concepts: intercultural communication, perspective, insight, self-reflection, making meaning, discrimination; Key processes: comparing, analysing, explaining, reflecting] (ACLASFC083 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • reflecting and reporting on how learning Auslan formally in school provides insights into the general nature of language and culture as well as an explicit means of interpreting the world in which they live

  • considering the relationship that exists between language, culture and issues of access and identity, and the significance of issues of discrimination, inclusion and exclusion

  • keeping a journal of experiences (humorous, satisfying or challenging) associated with using Auslan in school and in wider community contexts, noting changes in their responses and reflections over time and comparing insights gained through interactions with other languages and cultures

  • considering the layers of intercultural complexity and depth in the Deaf community, for example in relation to the insider/outsider concept or the role of deaf members of deaf families, and reflecting on their own position within such frameworks

  • sharing and comparing cultural and intercultural experiences and capabilities in different signed and spoken/written languages including Auslan, and identifying benefits of using more than one language, such as a larger repertoire of communication strategies, additional insights and perspectives, opportunities for new experiences

  • reflecting on their experience of living and communicating in a visual world and on particular challenges and benefits they have experienced

  • discussing how intercultural communication is a two-way process which involves shared responsibility for meaning-making and ensuring understanding

Systems of language

Understand the perceptual and articulatory reasons for the structure of signs, and analyse how iconicity can be used to create metaphors in Auslan and critically evaluate video annotation software as a means of transcribing and analysing Auslan

[Key concepts: iconicity, metaphor, transcription; Key processes: analysing, applying, categorising, demonstrating, describing, evaluating] (ACLASFU084 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • understanding that the elements of a sign can be arbitrary (for example, the handshape or movement of the sign WHY), or meaningful, such as the movement and the handshape in the sign GIVE

  • exploring perceptual and articulatory reasons why some handshapes are more common than others

  • beginning to identify and describe metaphorical iconicity, for example, LOVE, AVOID/RESIST, and discussing how it relates to metaphors in English, for example the ‘time as space’ metaphor in both languages

  • applying knowledge of iconicity in signed languages, for example how the path movement of a verb can be a metaphor for the timing of an action, for example, PRO1 WAIT-for-a-long-time PRO2, observing that English can do the same with changes to the length of phonemes, for example, I screeeeeeaaaaaamed!

  • using annotation software such as ELAN as a tool to transcribe and analyse signed languages

Analyse signed texts in terms of spatial frames of reference used, and explain how signers show periods of constructed action

[Key concepts: character and observer space, constructed action; Key processes: contrasting, analysing] (ACLASFU085 - Scootle )

  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • analysing a signed text for examples of character and observer space and describing why the signer has chosen that viewpoint

  • appreciating the production of reciprocal forms of some indicating signs, such as LOOK, GIVE, INVITE

  • identifying some of the aspectual modifications to verbs in an Auslan text, such as WORK-for-a-long-time or GO-TO-repeatedly

  • analysing a video of a signed narrative and identifying the moments in which a signer shifts into a different role in CA, and how they show that, for example, eye gaze change

Understand the difference between main and subordinate clauses and how the inclusion of constructed action and depicting signs has an impact on clause structure

[Key concepts: auxiliary and main verbs, clause types, reference; Key processes: recognising, comparing, identifying] (ACLASFU086 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • understanding that verbs can be either auxiliary (CAN JUMP or TRY REACH) or main verbs (WORK)

  • noticing how to use modal verbs and NMFs to express possibility, obligation and ability (MIGHT, SHOULD)

  • understanding the difference between definite and indefinite reference and how Auslan makes this distinction

  • recognising the function of some signs as interjections or discourse markers

  • recognising that conditionals have a main and dependent clause and associated NMFs

  • identifying coordinated clauses showing causation and describing how it is shown, for example

  • recognising how emphasis in sentences can be changed by reordering clauses or parts of clauses

  • recognising that the presence of CA or DSs affects how a clause is structured

Understand the interrelationship between text types, linguistic features, cohesive devices, audience, context and purpose

[Key concepts: audience, choice, convention, cohesion; Key processes: analysing, identifying, discussing, applying] (ACLASFU087 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • analysing expository texts, identifying characteristic language elements and features

  • analysing a videoed class debate to identify how language is used to justify opinions and persuade others

  • analysing an Auslan text in depth, for example by identifying characteristic features of the particular text type and discussing how language choices are made to take account of a text’s intended audience and purpose

  • noticing how grammatical choices shade meaning, reflect perspective and establish relationship between text participants, for example choosing to be more or less English-like in a particular context or relationship

  • noticing how signers can compare or contrast ideas by locating things in the same or opposing sides of signing space

  • applying knowledge of ellipsis to achieve cohesion

Language variation and change

Investigate and analyse the nature of and community attitudes to variation in the use of Auslan

[Key concepts: standardisation, contact, evolution, flexibility, variability; Key processes: recognising, investigating, researching, analysing, considering] (ACLASFU088 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising that there is a greater degree of flexibility and variability in ‘oral’, face-to-face languages such as Auslan compared to spoken/written languages passed on from parents to children, for example, less standardisation and minimal ‘frozen texts’, and considering reasons for such differences

  • researching different aspects of variation in the use of Auslan, considering influences such as geographical location, social groupings, history, educational experience, age of learning, family background and contact with Signed English or other languages

  • debating the merits and disadvantages of creating a standard form of Auslan, for example the benefits of mutual comprehensibility versus the practical problems involved in who decides on the standard and how to get signers to comply

  • considering the effect that expanding sign language interpreter services might have on standardising Auslan, especially in the areas of education and medicine

  • noticing ways people might adapt language according to situation of use, such as when signing to a large audience, the use of one hand or two, clarity of sign production, size of signing space, pace, NMFs, pauses and amount of fingerspelling

  • considering how Auslan has been influenced by the use of Signed English in education settings (especially from the 1970s to the 1990s) and cultural attitudes towards Signed English

Language awareness

Investigate and compare the nature and status of Auslan and other signed languages, considering issues such as language and education policies, language rights, representation and processes of language preservation and language building

[Key concepts: policy, rights, representation, status, recognition, documentation; Key processes: describing, researching, comparing, investigating, analysing, evaluating] (ACLASFU089 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Ethical Understanding
  • identifying historical events, government policies and educational initiatives that have impacted on the status of Auslan and the identity of the Deaf community, such as ALLP, DDA, the mainstreaming of deaf students

  • researching the nature of International Sign, including its relationship to national signed languages and its use by deaf people

  • analysing subjective measures of language vitality, such as societal attitudes towards Auslan or the perceived strength of the language identity group, and identifying challenges facing Auslan in terms of societal attitudes, provision of resources, access, education systems and social networks

  • analysing the status and use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander signed languages and comparing these to Auslan

  • appreciating the impact of the use of Auslan in settings such as education, health care and different workplace settings in terms of the evolution of the language and specialised terminology

  • analysing representations of deaf people and sign language in the Australian media and wider community, making comparisons with representations of other languages and cultures

  • investigating how Auslan and Deaf culture are promoted in the wider community, for example, through the influence of organisations such as Deaf Australia, of high-profile individuals such as activists or actors and of events such as NWDP Deaf Festival, Australian Deaf Games or Deaf art exhibitions

  • considering how processes of language building and evolution may expand existing Auslan linguistic and cultural resources in the Australian community

  • investigating programs and initiatives that maintain and strengthen Auslan use, such as school language programs; bilingual education and research programs; recording, archiving and documentation of the language; and the establishment of websites and databases

  • appreciating the importance of documenting and promoting Auslan in raising community awareness of the richness and value of signed languages

  • recognising that Auslan requires maintenance, development and documentation, considering historical and contemporary circumstances which have either contributed to or impeded these processes, for example the use of technology such as ELAN for capturing and documenting the language

  • considering domains where Auslan may grow in the future, and contributing to localised Auslan signbanks on specific topics, for example, creating a bank/dictionary of signs used by deaf students and interpreters in Year 9 Science

  • researching the status and recognition of signed languages in other countries, for example, New Zealand, the USA, the UK, the Scandinavian nations, considering issues such as language rights, documentation and development efforts

  • discussing the concept of ‘language health’ and how it applies to Auslan, for example by designing a chart of relevant factors such as status (social, economic, historical), demography (number and distribution of users) and institutional support (media, government, education, religion, industry, culture)

Role of language and culture

Understand that Auslan and Deaf culture are interrelated, that they shape and are shaped by each other and that their relationship changes over time and across contexts

[Key concepts: knowledge, value, relationship, transmission; Key processes: reflecting, exploring, analysing, comparing] (ACLASFU090 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • exploring the relationship between language and culture, for example by analysing language used in pathological and sociocultural models of deafness and the impact that each philosophy and the language used to express it may have in regard to services for deaf people

  • appreciating the complexity of the relationship between language and culture, for example by discussing distinctions between Deaf cultures and other cultural minorities, such as the fact that most deaf people are born to hearing parents and typically access and experience Deaf culture through communicating with peers and other Auslan users in and out of school, in addition to their cultural experience in their families of origin

  • recognising the cultural significance of symbols and language features used in Auslan, for example the use of light and darkness in stories, poetry and performance, as in gaslight stories

  • considering cultural explanations for conversational strategies used by Auslan signers to avoid conflict and to maintain privacy, such as changing signing space and style, using indirect language such as signing lower or under the table, fingerspelling instead of signing overtly, or modifying a sign choice such as menstruation to suit the context

  • understanding that Auslan plays an important role in the expression and maintenance of Deaf culture, that each deaf person has a right to learn and use Auslan as part of their birthright and as a key element of their membership of the Deaf community, and that they become custodians and owners of the language

  • appreciating the cultural value and importance of festivals and events in the Deaf community, such as NWDP, as celebrations of language, history, culture and identity

  • analysing ways in which deaf people interpret and exploit the possibilities and cultural meanings of sound, for example, in games and stories which incorporate signs for sound and reactions to sound, for example, a door slamming

  • recognising that Auslan signs change over time due to shifting cultural values and changing experiences, for example, the sign for APPRENTICE modified to refer to TAFE, the shifting values around the sign DEAF^DEAF (culturally Deaf reference for deaf-mute), and unsuccessful attempts to reframe this with an audiological focus

  • reflecting on the ways culture is interpreted by others, for example by identifying how stereotypes about deaf and hearing people influence perceptions

  • recognising that cultural beliefs and behaviours are embedded in Auslan, for example, recounts by deaf people of interactions with hearing people might include language that reflects beliefs about English and ‘hearing-ness’, for example, an anecdote about a frustrating interaction might be concluded with hearing, their way

  • reflecting on the labels ‘deaf’ and ‘hearing’, considering what they mean to different people and their implications in terms of status, access, opportunity and privilege

  • analysing ways in which deaf people’s jokes and humorous narratives reflect cultural values about deaf/hearing relationships and how deaf people navigate the world, for example the ‘Bob’s House’ commercial

  • exploring how advocacy strategies can reflect deaf people’s cultural practices and values, for example the ‘TTY-in’ used to advocate for the National Relay Service

Years 9 and 10 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 10, students exchange information, ideas and opinions on a broad range of social, environmental, educational and community issues. They summarise and justify points of view and use reflective language to respond to others’ opinions and perspectives, for example, RIGHT-YEAH, PRO2 DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE NEVER THOUGHT. They initiate, sustain, support and extend discussion, using strategies such as paraphrasing, inviting opinions and elaborating responses, for example PRO2 CONFUSE PRO1 WIND-BACK. They select appropriate vocabulary and use supporting evidence when clarifying and justifying statements. They use respectful language to negotiate, problem-solve and to manage different perspectives when engaging in collaborative tasks, for example, PRO1 FEEL PRO2 RIGHT TALK OVER…. BECAUSE…. Students research, analyse and evaluate information from a range of sources and perspectives, and create sustained signed texts designed to entertain, inform, persuade or inspire different audiences. They use non-manual prosodic features to create emphasis or other effects. Students analyse different types of creative and performative texts, considering how specific techniques and modalities are used to different effect, for example, using repetition of handshapes and movement paths of signs to create rhyme, or the use of visual metaphors to convey meaning. They compare responses to texts that present particular values or points of view, for example, Deaf poetry. They create their own imaginative texts such as narratives or poems, combining and switching between types of language, for example, telling with lexical signs or showing with constructed action (CA) or depicting signs (DSs) and frames of spatial reference to indicate character or observer point of view. Students translate and interpret a range of signed texts, comparing their translations and explaining factors that may have influenced their interpretation. They identify the relationship that exists between language, culture and identity and explore how individual and community identity are conveyed through cultural expression and language use. They reflect on the experience of communicating in a visual world and on associated challenges and advantages experienced as deaf people in a hearing world.

Students identify and describe metaphorical iconicity, for example, love, avoid/resist, and compare this with the use of metaphors in English. They distinguish character or observer frame of reference in a text; between main and subordinate clauses; and demonstrate how the inclusion of CA and DSs impacts on clause structure. They analyse different types of text, such as expository texts, identifying characteristic language elements and features. They investigate variation in the use of Auslan, explaining influences such as geographical location, social groupings and history, educational experience, the age of learners, family background and degree of contact with Signed English or other languages. They make comparisons between the ecologies of Auslan and those of signed languages in other countries, taking into account issues such as language policies and language rights, advocacy, reform and language vitality. They identify factors that help to maintain and strengthen Auslan use, such as intergenerational contact and bilingual school programs. Students know that Auslan plays an important role in the expression and maintenance of Deaf culture and in assuring the rights of deaf people.