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 second language learner (L2) pathway caters for students learning Auslan as a second or additional language. This will usually be students who are not members of the Deaf community; typically, hearing students who may or may not already know a second language. The L2 pathway may also include deaf or hard of hearing children already fluent in another language, such as a different signed language in the case of a recent immigrant, or spoken English for some deaf children who have residual hearing or access to speech. These students are introduced to Auslan as a language to add to their existing linguistic repertoire. Teachers will use the curriculum to cater for learners of different backgrounds by making appropriate adjustments to differentiate learning experiences.

The first language of most L2 students will be a spoken language, and this pathway gives them an opportunity to study a language that is very different from a spoken language. If L2 learners are learning in a school attended by deaf students, they will have a unique opportunity to use their new language on a daily basis in an authentic context.

L2 programs occur with constant involvement from a variety of fluent signers from the community. A key expectation is that students will have opportunities to interact with elders and members of the Deaf community.

Years 7–10 (Year 7 Entry) Sequence

The second language learner pathway Years 7–10 sequence offers students the opportunity to learn Auslan as a second or additional language commencing in their first year of high school. These learners are typically hearing students with little prior exposure to the language or to the Deaf community; but many will have learnt an additional language in primary school and some have proficiency in different home languages. They consequently bring existing language learning strategies and intercultural awareness to the new experience of learning Auslan. This cohort also includes deaf or hard of hearing students already fluent in another language, such as different signed languages in the case of recent immigrants or spoken English for deaf children who have residual hearing or access to speech. These students are introduced to Auslan to add to their existing linguistic repertoire. Teachers will use the curriculum to cater for learners of different backgrounds by making appropriate adjustments to differentiate learning experiences.

The first language of most L2 students will be a spoken language, and this pathway provides an opportunity to study a language that is very different from a spoken language. L2 learners learning in a school attended by deaf students have a unique opportunity to use their new language on a daily basis in an authentic context.

L2 programs occur with constant involvement from a variety of fluent signers from the community. A key expectation is that students will have opportunities to interact with elders and members of the Deaf community.

Years 7 and 8

Years 7 and 8 Band Description

The nature of the learners

Learners are beginning their study of Auslan and typically have had little prior exposure to the language or to the Deaf community. Many will have learnt an additional language in primary school, and some have proficiency in different home languages, and consequently bring existing language learning strategies and intercultural awareness to the new experience of learning Auslan.

Skills in analysing, comparing and reflecting on language and culture in both English and Auslan are mutually supportive. 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. They may need encouragement to take risks in learning a new language at this stage of social development; and to consider how the experience impacts on the sense of ‘norms’ associated with their first language and culture.

Auslan learning and use

Learners are encouraged to watch and sign Auslan in a range of interactions with the teacher and with each other. They use the language for interactions and transactions, for practising language forms, for developing cultural knowledge and for intercultural exchange. Rich and varied language input characterises this first level of learning, supported by the use of gestures, vocal and facial expression and concrete materials. Learners respond with a mix of Auslan and conventional and unconventional gestures and fingerspelling, as they use all available resources to make meaning and to express themselves.

Learners in this band engage in a range of activities in Auslan and share ideas about the language. They use well-known phrases in Auslan to participate in classroom routines, presentations and structured conversations with their teacher and their peers.

They build vocabulary for thinking and talking about school and personal topics. Language used in routine activities is re-used and reinforced from lesson to lesson in different situations, making connections between what has been learnt and what is to be learnt. Learners follow instructions, watch stories and participate in creating short texts on topics relevant to their interests and enjoyment, such as family, friends, favourite activities or food. They recount experiences, interact with visitors, follow directions, negotiate roles in a group and retell important information.

As they adjust language use to suit different purposes, contexts and situations, learners notice how culture shapes language. They work collaboratively and independently. They focus on the different systems that structure language use, such as sign modification, clause and text structure, and vocabulary, and reflect on their experience as Auslan learners and users. They gradually build a vocabulary and grammatical base that allows them to compose and present different kinds of simple texts.

Contexts of interaction

The Auslan classroom and interactions with deaf peers or adults in their school or local environment are the primary contexts for language and culture experiences. Learners also have some access to the wider Deaf community and to various resources through virtual and digital technology. The familiarity and routine dimension of the classroom context provide scaffolding and opportunities for language practice and experimentation. Language development and use are incorporated into structured collaborative and interactive learning experiences, games and activities.

Texts and resources

Learners work with a range of published texts designed for language learning, such as videos or websites, as well as teacher-generated materials. Authentic texts from different sources provide opportunities for discussion and analysis of the relationship between communication and culture. Learners become familiar with ways of recording Auslan, through either film, photos of signs, line drawings of signs or simple symbols.

Features of Auslan use

Learners in Years 7 and 8 are able to produce all handshapes, movements and locations of single signs. They can independently produce simple positive and negative statements with some time marking, and use plain verbs, indicating verbs modified for present referents and simple and familiar depicting verbs. They describe familiar objects, animals or people using lexical adjectives and some SASS depicting signs. They depict the movement of people, animals and means of transport, using an appropriate classifier handshape in a depicting sign. They explore the expression of emotions through NMFs, and begin to use NMFs for grammatical purposes in modelled language. They use simple constructed action and handling depicting signs to show the characteristics and actions of an animal or a person. They learn that verbs can be modified spatially to express relationships with participants, and that space is used meaningfully in Auslan.

As learners learn to adjust their language to suit different purposes and situations, they begin to understand how culture shapes language use. They compare how they feel when they use different languages and how they view different languages and people who use them. This introduction to the meta dimension of intercultural learning develops the ability to ‘decentre’, to consider different perspectives and ways of being and to become aware of themselves as communicators and cultural participants.

Level of support

Learning at this level is supported by rich and varied language input and by the provision of experiences that are challenging but achievable. Support includes scaffolding, modelling and monitoring; frequent revision; and explicit instruction, description, and comparison of Auslan and English. Teachers model language use and examples of texts, and provide feedback and review student work to support the interactive process of learning. Learning experiences incorporate implicit and explicit form-focused language learning activities and examples of texts and tasks. Learners are given support and opportunities to practise using dictionaries, especially Signbank, and to access word charts, vocabulary lists and examples when translating and creating texts. Support is also provided through visual and tactile materials, such as pictures, objects and charts, and through the use of conventional gestures. Learners rely on modelled language and scaffolded tasks to create their own texts, for example, choosing signs to complete sentences or using pictures to sequence a story that has been told to them.

The role of English

Learners are encouraged to use Auslan whenever possible, with the teacher providing rich and supported language input. Auslan is used for classroom routines and language learning tasks and may be used as the language of instruction for learning content of other learning areas. The language of response varies according to task demands, with Auslan used primarily for communicating in structured and supported tasks.

English is used as a medium of instruction and for explanation and discussion, or in areas from the Understanding strand. This allows learners to talk about differences and similarities they notice between Auslan and their first language(s) and culture(s), to ask questions about language and culture, to consider how they feel when they see or use Auslan and how they view different languages and the people who speak them. This introduction to the meta dimension of intercultural learning develops the ability to consider different perspectives and ways of being. English may also be used to research cultural issues where the source text is not available in Auslan.

Years 7 and 8 Content Descriptions


Interact with peers and teachers to exchange information about self, family, friends and interests and to express feelings and preferences

[Key concepts: self, family, friends, interests, preferences, feelings; Key processes: interacting, describing, comparing, stating, explaining] (ACLASFC217 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • exchanging greetings, wishes, thanks and apologies, adjusting language to suit the situation, for example:

  • describing and comparing people and objects using SASS depicting signs, for example:

    POSS1 MATH TEACHER TALL DS:long-wavy-hair
    My maths teacher has long wavy hair.
    SCHOOL UNIFORM HAVE DS:long-thin-tie
    The school uniform has a long thin tie.
  • comparing routines, interests and leisure activities, using, for example, adverbial phrases of time, frequency and place, such as:

    We go to the beach for three weeks in summer.
    I go camping on weekends.
  • stating likes, dislikes and preferences using associated NMFs, for example:

    I like watermelon; I don’t like oranges.
    I prefer art to music.
  • introducing themselves and their family members and explaining relationships using personal and possessive pronouns, for example:

    I have a brother and a sister.
    That baby is her sister.
  • asking and responding to questions about a familiar topic, such as a shared school experience, for example:

    Do you like Auslan?
    And you, what subjects do you study?
    Do you like school?
Collaborate with peers to plan and conduct shared events or activities such as presentations, demonstrations or transactions

[Key concepts: participation, collaboration, negotiation; Key processes: participating, organising, reviewing, transacting] (ACLASFC218 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • participating in games and activities such as enacting scenarios involving being lost and asking for or giving directions

  • following and giving instructions in groups on topics such as how to use video chat, Signbank or Auslan dictionaries

  • working collaboratively on learning activities that involve organising, negotiating and prioritising tasks, for example, in devising an activity or game for the class

  • working collaboratively on tasks that involve assigning and reviewing roles and responsibilities, offering feedback, support and encouragement, for example:

    You type and I’ll write.
    GOOD TYPING-hard WORK-hard
    Great typing up; looks like lots of work.
    Oh, it doesn’t matter, don’t worry about it.
  • giving, accepting or declining invitations, including making excuses to avoid causing offence or embarrassment, such as:

    Sorry, I can’t go because I have basketball training.
  • participating in hypothetical scenarios that involve transactions, for example, preparing for or participating in a Deaf World workshop

Communicate appropriately and clearly with the teaching team and peers using appropriate Auslan protocols for classroom interaction

[Key concepts: protocol, attention, instruction; Key processes: responding, gaining attention, back-channelling, agreeing/disagreeing] (ACLASFC219 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • following classroom protocols specific to an Auslan context, such as:

    • responding to flashing lights and waving for class attention
    • tapping, pointing and waving for peer attention
    • maintaining eye gaze
    • back-channelling such as nodding
    • limiting the use of voice
    • maintaining a clear line of sight
  • following and using classroom language such as instructions for class routines, for example:

    We’re going to play a game; please stand up.
    LOOK-AT-me PRO1
    Eyes to the front.
    Please find a partner.
  • using language to facilitate clear communication, such as asking for help or permission, for example:

    Can you help me, please?
    Can I go to the toilet please?
  • showing agreement/disagreement, for example, respectful manner, for example:

    Yes, I agree.
    I know what you mean, but …
    I’m not sure.
    I don’t agree …
  • indicating understanding, for example by nodding, or signing SURPRISE, or KNOW++

  • apologising and thanking, for example:

    Thank you for helping me.
    I’m sorry; it was an accident.
  • asking for repetition or clarification, for example:

    Could you sign that slowly please?
    What did you just say, sorry?
  • negotiating turn-taking, for example:

    It’s my turn first, then your turn.


Identify gist and some points of factual information from a range of signed texts about familiar topics and use the information in new ways

[Key concepts: information, data, summary, procedure; Key processes: gathering information, summarising, sequencing, identifying] (ACLASFC220 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • gathering information from their peers in relation to their interests and preferences or home and school routines and summarising findings in formats such as tables or graphs

  • observing informative signed texts such as weather reports or simple public announcements about events and celebrations, identifying key points of information to exchange with a partner in a barrier/information-gap game

  • collecting information from signed texts about people, time or activities and using the information in new ways, for example, by creating a timeline, diary or timetable to show a sequence of activities

  • viewing and following procedural signed texts such as cooking demonstrations or craft activities

  • watching/viewing a signed text and identifying specific points of information such as locations, for example, by labelling key locations on a school map

  • viewing and responding appropriately to simple class and school announcements and directions

  • watching short Auslan texts about topics such as hobbies or sports, and recording key points of information using tables or graphic organisers

  • paraphrasing content of selected community texts, such as public service or promotional announcements on the Deaf Emergency Info website

Present and explain factual information about a range of topics of interest

[Key concepts: routine, report, explanation, procedure; Key processes: describing, reporting, signing, instructing] (ACLASFC221 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • describing in the correct sequence home and school routines such as weekend activities or their school timetable

  • reporting to the class about a shared school event, such as Deaf Sports Day or a school camp

  • creating signed texts to explain a hobby or interest, using visual supports such as photos or props

  • presenting descriptions of items of school equipment such as those used in woodwork, science or sports, and giving simple signed explanations of how they work

  • instructing the class in a procedural text such as a simple recipe or instruction guide, using list buoys

  • sharing selected points of information from their home or local community, such as family traditions or cultural events, conveying key points of information from visual infographics or diagrams

  • working in groups to create an informative video or display about their school

  • assembling an information pack about their school to support newly arrived deaf students, including a signed glossary of key people and places and simple directions to navigate the school

  • explaining a favourite game that can be played in Auslan or English, highlighting key Auslan terms and supporting information with pictures, gestures and demonstrations


Engage with different types of creative texts, identifying and discussing ideas, characters, events and personal responses

[Key concepts: imagination, play, character, performance, visual text, representation; Key processes: viewing, responding, participating, comparing, shadowing, mimicking] (ACLASFC222 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • participating in Auslan games and activities using simple clauses in creative ways, for example, ‘Sign Circle’, or passing on a sign shape, for example a rectangle is signed as a door then by the next person as a jewellery box and the next person as a computer keyboard, and so on

  • viewing creative Auslan stories, poems and theatre performances and identifying ideas, characters and events, for example, by accessing Auslan Storybooks, and work by the Australian Theatre of the Deaf

  • viewing and responding to creative visual texts such as handshape art and art produced by and about Deaf people, Deaf culture or signed languages, for example, paintings by Nancy Rourke and animations by Braam Jordaan

  • comparing different versions of imaginative signed texts and indicating which they prefer, for example, different Auslan versions of ‘The Timber Joke’, or fairytales

  • viewing and comparing personal responses to representations of deaf people in different creative texts, performative or entertainment texts, for example, reality television shows with deaf contestants or participants

  • responding to signed poems and ‘visual vernacular’ descriptions of a character’s appearance by shadowing, mimicking and drawing, for example, work by Frédéric Vaghi

  • responding to performances of Deaf poetry that evoke emotions such as sadness, fear or excitement, for example by indicating enjoyment or different personal feelings

Express imaginative ideas and visual thinking through the use of familiar modelled signs, mime, gestures, drawing and visual supports, with a focus on emotions, appearance and actions

[Key concepts: game, animation, creativity, emotion; Key processes: depicting, collaborating, creating, re-enacting, reinterpreting] (ACLASFC223 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • participating in games and imaginative activities that involve representation of the appearance, characteristics and relationships between different people, animals or objects

  • working collaboratively to create and present signed skits or poems to entertain younger learners

  • re-enacting short stories or wordless animations that include two characters and their interactions through the use of constructed action

  • reinterpreting creative texts for specific effect, for example by changing emotions or movements through the use of NMFs and manner

  • using ‘visual vernacular’ to create and enact a short scenario about an imaginary character and a particular object, using SASS, entity and handling depicting signs and constructed action

  • creating amusing sequences of signs using a fixed handshape, such as the index finger ‘point’:

    Do you think I’m shy?


Translate and interpret short texts from Auslan to English and vice versa, noticing which concepts translate easily and which do not

[Key concepts: equivalence, meaning, interpretation, translation; Key processes: translating, interpreting, identifying, comparing, paraphrasing, summarising] (ACLASFC224 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising that every language uses words or signs to make meaning

  • identifying aspects of Auslan which are the same in English, such as the fingerspelled alphabet

  • identifying and comparing key signs and words in Auslan and English versions of familiar texts such as short stories or fairytales on the Auslan Storybooks website, noticing how signs can convey rich, multilayered meaning which might not have a direct match in English

  • shadowing a story in Auslan as a pre-interpreting skill, noticing which phrases and concepts need more unpacking

  • demonstrating the use of Signbank, for example by using it to look up various meanings of the word ‘run’, comparing variations in signs for the concept in different contexts, and using it to translate Auslan into English and vice versa

  • translating simple filmed texts in Auslan into written English captions

  • sight translating short English texts such as news articles or short speeches into Auslan for review by their peers

  • considering the bimodal nature of Auslan–English interpreting and discussing the possibility of consecutive and simultaneous interpreting of information in communicative exchanges

Create bilingual texts and learning resources to use in the classroom

[Key concepts: translation, meaning, transcription, bilingualism; Key processes: translating, captioning, recording, creating] (ACLASFC225 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • creating English captions for short recorded phrases in Auslan

  • creating digital glossaries of new sign vocabulary, which can be used to share their personal learning with family members

  • recording and transcribing into English some simple Auslan ‘identity stories’ filmed with members of the Deaf community

  • captioning examples of classmates’ work in Auslan, for example, simple short stories

  • creating translations of song lyrics for performance in Auslan

  • translating short, simple written or spoken texts into Auslan, for example, instructions for a game or procedures such as recipes


Demonstrate understanding of the nature of identity in relation to themselves, the Deaf community and the wider hearing community

[Key concepts: identity, community, similarity, difference; Key processes: comparing, identifying, viewing, exploring, discussing, surveying, analysing] (ACLASFC226 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • using visual representations such as concept maps, posters or captioned slide presentations to identify groups that they each identify with, for example, friends, family, sporting, interest and community groups, discussing how these group associations contribute to their sense of identity

  • discussing how their upbringing and personal experience impact on assumptions or attitudes that they bring to interactions with people who have different backgrounds or experiences, considering concepts such as communication, personality, family and community

  • noticing and comparing their own and each other’s ways of communicating and interacting, identifying elements that reflect cultural differences or influences of other languages

  • viewing a series of Auslan identity stories, such as those found in the Griffith University Introduction to Deaf Studies Unit 1 set, comparing their experiences to those described by deaf children and adults in the footage

  • investigating the identity of deafblind people and their connection to the Deaf community by inviting deafblind guests into the classroom to share their personal journeys

  • exploring ideas about identity through journal writing, documenting challenges and rewards related to second language learning and identity change

  • 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, using open-plan areas, lighting and window placement to maximise visual access to information, for example, Gallaudet University’s deaf space design principles

  • surveying deaf people about their experiences and perspectives on the importance and significance of Deaf places that contribute to a shared sense of identity, for example, the Deaf Club, Deaf schools or sites of historic significance such as original Deaf Society/Mission buildings or other former meeting places

  • identifying and researching Deaf community identities associated with significant historical places, such as William Thomson establishing the first deaf school in WA


Reflect on ways in which Auslan and associated communicative and cultural behaviours are similar to or different from their own language(s) and forms of cultural expression

[Key concepts: language, culture, similarity, difference, communication; Key processes: describing, discussing, examining, reflecting, noticing] (ACLASFC227 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • describing how it feels to use Auslan to communicate, or to watch Auslan being used by others, for example by responding to prompts such as What are the main differences you notice when observing conversations between hearing people and deaf people?

  • discussing changes or adaptations they have to make to their communicative style when using Auslan, for example waiting until they have a deaf person’s visual attention before signing to them, and maintaining eye contact

  • examining similarities and differences between ways of communicating in Auslan and in Australian English in different social situations, for example, in relation to ways of greeting/leave-taking, introducing people and using body language, facial expression and eye contact

  • reflecting on the need for sustained eye contact when using Auslan in order to understand a message and before teacher instructions can proceed

  • noticing differences in forms of address in signed and spoken languages, for example, not using a person’s name when signing directly to them, unlike in Australian English

  • examining general misconceptions held by hearing people about deaf people, Auslan and Deaf culture, for example, that all deaf people can hear with hearing aids, or that deaf people may not drive

  • reflecting on and providing possible explanations for assumptions deaf people might have about hearing people or about spoken languages

Systems of language

Identify and describe all elements of sign production, including handshape and its orientation, movement, location and non-manual features, and look at the link between signs and their referents in terms of iconicity

[Key concepts: handshape, orientation, movement, location, hand dominance, iconicity; Key processes: identifying, noticing, recognising, comparing, understanding] (ACLASFU228 - Scootle )

  • realising that meaning is communicated through the use of signs, pictures, written or spoken words or miming

  • identifying a sign's handshape and its orientation, for example, COCKATOO (hs:5, palm left) and SOCCER (hs:fist)

  • identifying and demonstrating signs with a change in handshape, for example FIND or BEST

  • identifying and demonstrating signs with a change in orientation, for example CAN-NOT or HOW

  • noticing the path movement of a particular sign and identifying signs associated with the major types of path movements, for example, THROUGH (forwards) or FULL (down to up)

  • noticing the five major locations of signs on the body or in space, and identifying signs associated with each, such as SEE (head/face), SAY (mouth/chin), WHY (chest), TALK (hand) and ONE (signing space)

  • thinking of body-anchored signs, such as HEAD or WHY, and signs that are not body anchored, such as HAVE or STOP, and recognising that non-body anchored signs can be located in space around the signer

  • understanding that NMFs can also be an element of a sign and can show emotional states such as a happy expression, or grammatical information, for example, a frown to mark a negative, and identifying examples of NMFs in a text

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

  • distinguishing between single, double and two-handed signs, and identifying which hand is dominant and which is non-dominant in two-handed signs

  • noticing that in signed languages meaning can be expressed through whole signs or through fingerspelling

  • comparing iconic signs that provide visual images of referents, such as DRINK, ELEPHANT with English words that map to the sound images of the referents, such as animal noises, or words for sounds such as bang or woof woof

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

  • experimenting with different methods of capturing signed languages, such as: a class-invented script, drawing pictures, videoing, English glosses or ASL-phabet

Recognise and restrict signing to the standard signing space, and understand that pronouns, depicting signs and verbs can be located meaningfully in that space to show participants in a process

[Key concepts: signing space, pointing, verb modification to show who, depicting signs; Key processes: noticing, identifying, recognising, describing, comparing, distinguishing] (ACLASFU229 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • describing the range of signing space in normal signed discourse

  • recognising that non-body-anchored nouns can be located in space and identifying instances of this

  • comparing and contrasting Auslan and English pronouns, in particular noticing that Auslan pronouns don’t show gender but they can show location and a specific number of referents, for example, WE2 (inclusive) and WE3 (inclusive) or WE2-NOT-INCLUDING-YOU (exclusive)

  • discussing the functions of different pointing signs, such as pronouns, determiners, locatives

  • noticing that enacting a role or modifying the beginning and end locations of some verbs can show the referents involved, for example:

    PRO1 ASK PRO3 versus PRO1 ASK-her
    PRO3 ASK-me CA:I-was-shocked
  • identifying what sorts of things can be represented in a DS by a particular handshape, for example a distant person, pole or tree can be represented by a point handshape, and a cylinder can be traced by a C handshape

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

    • entity DSs: the handshape is an object or person, and the movement is the movement or location of that object or person
    • handling DSs: the handshape represents a person’s hands touching or moving another object, and the movement shows how the hands move
    • SASS DSs: the handshape and movement outline the shape or size of something
Recognise and use elements of clause structure, such as noun groups/phrases or verb groups/phrases and using conjunctions to join clauses

[Key concepts: sign class, noun and verb groups, conjunctions, clauses, sign order; Key processes: recognising, observing, distinguishing, understanding] (ACLASFU230 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • categorising noun signs into those for people, animals, places or things

  • learning that proper nouns can have a sign name or be fingerspelled

  • recognising different nouns in clauses, including those that are shown with a pointing sign, such as GIRL READ versus PRO3 READ, or VISIT FRIEND versus VISIT PRO3

  • knowing that adjectives describe nouns in different ways, such as how they look (BIG or RED), feel (SOFT or HOT), smell (SMELLY) or sound (LOUD)

  • recognising that a noun group is a group of signs that relate to a person, place or thing that can include elements such as adjectives or numbers

  • recognising that expanding a noun into a noun group enriches meaning

  • identifying verb signs (SIT, EAT, FEEL, WONDER, HAVE) and recognising that they are central to a clause

  • noticing there is no verb ‘to be’ in Auslan, which is a significant difference to English

  • exploring different semantic types of verbs in a text, for example by showing how:

    • doing (WALK, WRITE) and saying (TELL, CALL-OUT, ANNOUNCE) verbs in narrative texts give information about a characters’ actions
    • sensing (SEE, THINK) or possessing (THAT’S-TYPICAL-OF-THEM, OWN) verbs indicate what characters think, feel or own
  • relating verbs identify or describe a noun (for example, HAVE in PRO3 HAVE LONG-HAIR)

  • noticing that some signs modify the meaning of verbs, such as READ CAREFUL and that these are called adverbs

  • contributing examples of signs that tell:

    • when a verb happens (IN-2-WEEKS PRO1 HOLIDAY or WANT LUNCH NOW)
    • where a verb happens (PRO3 RUN FAR or COME HERE)
    • how a verb happens (FAST or SLOW or PRO2 QUICK FINISH)
  • noticing that sometimes Auslan signers have information about how a verb happens through NMFs not separate signs (for example, WRITE-carelessly)

  • recognising that a verb group is a group of words built up around a verb that may include adverbs which modify the meaning of verbs and that adverbs and DSs can enrich a verb group

  • understanding that a clause is one or more signs expressing a single idea and that a clause has at least one verb, but often one or more nouns as well, for example:

    I called him.
    That man went to his house.
    A big monster screamed.
  • noticing that while word order in sentences is often important for meaning, there is flexibility in word order in Auslan and that because parts of a sentence can be signed simultaneously in Auslan, it is hard to establish word order

  • distinguishing between yes/no questions, wh- questions and statements and their corresponding NMFs

Recognise similarities and differences in language features of different types of texts and in Auslan and English texts of a similar type, and notice how texts build cohesion

[Key concepts: text, textual features, referent tracking; Key processes: recognising, identifying, analysing] (ACLASFU231 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising that texts are made up of one or more clauses, which have one or more signs in them, which together make meaning

  • comparing a short text in Auslan with an equivalent type of English text (for example, a recount in both languages) and noticing similarities and differences in structure and language features

  • examining different examples of an Auslan text on the same topic, or telling the same story, and identifying different choices signers made in the production of the text, for example the amount of fingerspelling or CA they used

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

  • identifying examples of signers pointing to an established location to refer to a non-present referent

  • identifying how signers use space to make clear the actor or undergoer of a verb through a text, for example by pointing back to an established location to refer to a noun referent

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

Language variation and change

Explore different dimensions of variation in the structure, development and use of Auslan, including how it has been influenced by English and other signed languages

[Key concepts: language variation, influence, word-borrowing, change; Key processes: exploring, identifying, classifying, describing] (ACLASFU232 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • exploring similarities and differences in the two main Auslan dialects, the northern dialect, used in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, and the southern dialect, used in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, for example through building webcam relationships with other schools or by identifying and collecting signs that differ in the two forms

  • 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 historical records of signing

  • explaining the influence of other signed languages such as BSL, ISL and ASL on Auslan over different periods of time and in different domains of language use, and discussing why this is the case

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

  • recognising that Auslan includes loan signs from Signed English, such as TOY or DAD, and understanding why some older deaf people are uncomfortable with these changes

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

  • considering adaptations to Auslan use when communicating in different physical environments, such as in video chats, across a large yard, or when one or both hands are occupied, for example, variations in vocabulary, size of signing space, clarity of signs, use of fingerspelling and NMFs

  • noticing the variation in ‘handedness’ between signers in relation to both signs and to fingerspelling: right handers using their right hand as their dominant (main) hand; left handers doing the opposite

Language awareness

Develop awareness of the sociocultural context, nature and status of Auslan and of the Deaf community in multilingual Australia

[Key concepts: communication, accessibility, transmission; Key processes: identifying, investigating, discussing, understanding] (ACLASFU233 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • identifying the importance of place and space in the Deaf community, exploring why some places and spaces ensure that a visual language is more accessible to deaf people and promotes a sense of cultural belonging, for example by identifying factors that make a classroom ‘Deaf friendly’, such as U-shape seating, minimisation of window glare/reflection, good lighting and acoustics, flashing lights, suitable interpreter location

  • identifying examples of deaf people’s visual orientation towards the world, such as using visual applause or being astute in reading body language

  • describing how and why deaf people use vibrating devices to alert them to alarms or information, or have flashing lights for the door, phone, alarm clock, baby cry alarm and other systems

  • understanding cultural values associated with the conferring of name signs on those such as second language learners of Auslan who are joining the Deaf community

  • explaining the role and function of Auslan–English interpreters and Deaf interpreters and the access and opportunities they provide

  • identifying and describing physical markers of identity among deaf people, including the use of sign language and/or hearing devices such as hearing aids, cochlear implants and FM systems

  • exploring variation in Auslan fluency among their classmates and members of the Deaf community, identifying the influence of variables such as where and when people learnt to sign and whether they are from a deaf or hearing family

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

  • understanding the nature of the transmission of Auslan, for example how in most cases Auslan is not passed on from parent to child but often from child to child, or to children by adults outside the family, and knowing that some Deaf people learn Auslan as a late acquired language in early adulthood

  • exploring the nature of multilingualism in the Deaf community, including the use of Auslan, English and other signed and spoken languages, considering how and when people typically switch between languages and dialects

  • investigating the use of digital technology/communication by Auslan users, for example, social media, SMS/texting and NRS and VRS, discussing how these modes of communication impact on issues such as accessibility and communication between members of the Deaf community

  • investigating communication methods used by deaf and hard of hearing members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

  • discussing behaviour associated with cultural practices, language and traditions, for example, by discussing the concept of reciprocity as a manifestation of how community members share responsibility for each other’s wellbeing, or the value placed on the use of sign language for shared understanding and trust

Role of language and culture

Explore connections between language, identity and cultural practices, values and beliefs and the expression of these connections in Auslan

[Key concepts: language, culture, identity, difference, transmission; Key processes: recognising, appreciating, exploring, understanding, identifying] (ACLASFU234 - Scootle )

  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • recognising that people from different places and backgrounds may use different languages and have ways of living and communicating that differ from their own

  • appreciating that culture and cultural difference means that people may value different things or live differently, noticing observable examples of such difference, such as ways of greeting (bowing versus shaking hands) or conveying information (through words versus signs)

  • exploring how deaf people live in ways that may be different from how hearing people live and that they are primarily visual, for example by responding to stimulus questions such as How do deaf people ensure they can always see other people who are signing?

  • recognising the importance of facial expression, eye gaze and non-manual features in conveying information in a visual-gestural language and culture

  • exploring the nature of culture as an essential part of human life, understanding that it is shared, passed on between generations and is closely connected to language and identity

  • understanding that culture is more than the visible aspects of people’s lives; that it also includes invisible elements such as beliefs and values, how people think about themselves and others, how they relate to their social and physical environments; and considering how this understanding applies to users of Auslan

  • recognising that in each culture there are general rules for what to say and do, when, where and with whom, and that these rules differ from culture to culture, for example, the Deaf culture places greater importance on eye contact than cultures that communicate through spoken languages

  • identifying the importance of signing space and proxemics in Auslan, particularly in relation to a person passing between two signers, or to the positioning of communication partners

  • recognising that shared experiences shape cultural values in Auslan as in other cultures, for example the experience of deaf children being excluded from family and social discourse during dinner table conversations or social events gives rise to the value placed in the Deaf community on ensuring inclusivity and sharing information with each other

  • recognising the importance of community and culture in relation to their own lives and communities and in relation to other language groups and their communities

  • recognising the role of the Deaf community and its networks and significant places in maintaining, reflecting and strengthening Auslan and Deaf culture

Years 7 and 8 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 8, students use Auslan to share information, experiences, interests, thoughts and feelings about their personal and immediate worlds. They use modelled constructions, ask for repetition or clarification, such as please slow sign, and use strategies such as fingerspelling to replace unknown signs to support continued interaction. They use lexical signs, gestures and affective non-manual features (NMFs) to indicate understanding, interest or lack of interest, for example, AGREE YES or PRO1 AGREE or PRO1 KNOW WHAT MEAN, BUT…. They ask and respond to familiar questions and directions and distinguish between statements and questions using grammatical NMFs. Students use familiar language to collaboratively plan and conduct shared events or activities, such as presentations, demonstrations or transactions, for example, PRO2 TYPE PRO1 WRITE. They describe people, animals and objects using lexical adjectives and familiar SASS depicting signs and appropriate classifier handshapes, for example, POSS1 MATH TEACHER TALL DS:long-wavy-hair or SCHOOL UNIFORM HAVE DS:long-thin-tie. They compare routines, interests and leisure activities, using signs for timing and frequency, simple depicting verbs for showing location, and appropriate sequencing. They use culturally appropriate protocols when communicating, such as maintaining eye contact, responding to and gaining attention by waving or tapping a shoulder or table, flashing lights, back-channelling and voice-off. Students locate specific information in a range of signed texts, such as weather reports, public announcements and presentations by visitors, using visual and contextual clues to help make meaning. They summarise and retell key points of information in correct sequence using list buoys. They plan, rehearse and deliver short presentations, taking into account context, purpose and audience and using familiar signs and visual supports, such as photos and props, and cohesive and sequencing devices. Students view and respond to short imaginative and expressive texts, such as short stories, poems and Deaf performances, for example by identifying and discussing ideas, characters and events. They create their own simple imaginative texts and retell wordless animations using familiar signs, gestures, modelled clause structures, high-frequency signs, modifying NMFs and lexical signs to indicate manner. They translate and interpret short texts using Signbank, and give examples of how languages do not always translate directly. They create bilingual texts and resources for the classroom, for example, glossaries and captions for their own and each other’s short stories. They explain the importance of facial expression, eye gaze and other NMFs in a visual-gestural language and culture, and reflect on their own cultural identity and ways of communicating in light of their experience of learning Auslan.

Students know that Auslan is a legitimate language, different from mime and gestures used in spoken languages, and that eye contact is necessary for effective communication. They know that meaning is communicated visually through the use of signs, NMFs and gestures and can be expressed through whole signs or fingerspelling. They identify and describe the handshapes, movements and locations of signs. They distinguish between entity, handling or SASS depicting signs by looking at what the handshape and movement represent in each type and know that spatial relationships are typically expressed with entity DSs. They know that signs can be displaced in space for a range of purposes, such as to show locations or show the participants in a verb. They know that signing involves telling, depicting or enacting. They identify iconic signs and discuss how these match their referent, such as HOUSE, TREE, DRINK. They know that the function of constructed action is to represent the words, thoughts or actions of themselves or others. They use metalanguage to talk about Auslan, for example using terms such as depicting signs, indicating verbs, non-manual features, handshapes, pointing signs and clauses. Students recognise variation in the use of Auslan, such as regional dialects and differences in signing space. They understand different ways that English words are borrowed into Auslan and how these become lexicalised. They explore the influence on Auslan of other signed languages, such as BSL, ISL and ASL, as well as English over different periods of time and in different domains of language use, and consider reasons for these influences. They identify different ways that Deaf community members communicate with each other and with members of the wider hearing community, describing how different forms of digital communication such as social media, SMS/texting and NRS have improved accessibility for the Deaf community and contribute to the vitality of the language. Students recognise that Auslan has been transmitted across generations and describe ways it has been documented and recorded. They reflect on ways that culture is differently interpreted by others, for example by identifying how stereotypes about deaf and hearing people influence perceptions; and they understand that the most unifying factor of the Deaf community is the use of Auslan.