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Introduction

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

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Rationale

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

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

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Aims

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

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

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Learning Auslan

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

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Learner diversity and learner pathways

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

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Developing teaching and learning

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

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PDF documents

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

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Glossary

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Years F–10 Sequence

The 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 9 and 10

Years 9 and 10 Band Description

The nature of the learners

Learners enter this band with prior experience of Auslan. They bring a range of existing capabilities, strategies and knowledge that can be applied to new learning. 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. 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. They require continued guidance in learning Auslan, but are increasingly independent and capable of analysis and reflection, including in relation to Auslan and to intercultural experience.

Auslan learning and use

Learners use Auslan to compare and contrast, to sign instructions, problem-solve, make announcements, persuade, and recount experiences in increasing detail. They engage with a range of Auslan texts, and express feelings and emotions creatively in the language. They participate individually and in groups in tasks and learning experiences, explaining or justifying positions, elaborating opinions, and giving and receiving multistep instructions. They create their own signed narratives, and summarise and critically examine viewed texts.

Learners are extending their grammatical knowledge, such as understanding how language structures and features are used intentionally in texts. They use more elaborate sentence structures, including conjoining clauses, and increasingly build cohesion in their texts by setting up and maintaining referents in signing space. Learners explore metaphorical iconicity and begin to use constructed action to represent multiple characters in narratives. They are increasingly aware of connections between language and culture, comparing them to experiences in their own language(s) and culture(s). They are learning to reflect on their own language and culture and on how identity impacts on intercultural experience.

Contexts of interaction

Learners interact with teachers, peers and members of the Deaf community, in real life or via online technologies. They also encounter Auslan in the wider community, such as in the media, at film festivals or community events or via guest speakers.

Texts and resources

Learners engage with a range of increasingly complex live and digital signed texts designed for in-school learning of Auslan. They also work with different types of authentic texts created for deaf people, such as websites, which provide opportunities to extend understanding of language and culture. Texts come from a range of domains or genres, such as oral histories, community announcements, vlogs and stories; and they serve a variety of purposes, such as informative, transactional, communicative, imaginative and expressive. Learners also access texts from other signed languages that make extensive use of the ‘visual vernacular’. The Deaf community is the most important resource for learning, as it is the origin of most of the texts and communicative situations engaged with by learners.

Features of Auslan use

Learners at this stage are increasingly aware of differences between Auslan and English. They are expanding their knowledge of vocabulary and sentence construction. With support, they use constructed action to show participants in a text, modify indicating verbs for non-present referents with increasing accuracy across a text, and use more complex entity depicting signs. They are learning to use NMFs to mark manner on verbs or to express negation. They use appropriate strategies to initiate and sustain conversations, and use more elaborate sentence structures, such as embedding clauses. Learners create richer texts, switching between viewer and diagrammatic space to show different perspectives of the same event. They also develop metalanguage for describing aspects of Auslan and how it is structured. They consider connections between language and culture and make comparisons with their own language(s) and culture(s). They consider language variation, for example by experiencing other dialects in the BANZSL family. They develop understanding of the nature of translation and interpretation, noticing the relationship between language, texts and culture. A balance is maintained between activities that focus on language forms and structures and those that involve communicative tasks, performances and experiences. Task characteristics and conditions are more complex and challenging; they involve collaborative as well as independent language planning and performance, and development and strategic use of language and cultural resources.

Level of support

While learners are increasingly less reliant on the teacher for support during communicative interactions, continued support, such as provision of rich language input and modelled language use, is needed to consolidate and sustain language development. The teacher 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 knowledge is critical in consolidating understanding 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. They are increasingly aware of and responsible for their own learning, working independently to address their needs, for example by accessing technologies to memorise, learn and expand their language repertoire. They continue to use Signbank, graphic organisers, modelled texts, dictionaries and teacher feedback to interpret and create texts, and may keep records of their learning through means such as a video journal or folio to reflect on their language learning and intercultural experience.

The role of English

Learners and teachers use Auslan as the primary medium of interaction in language-oriented and an increasing number of content-oriented learning experiences. English provides a basis for linguistic and cultural comparison. English is also the medium for expressing experiences, abstract ideas and personal views at a level beyond learners’ level of Auslan, for example when justifying a position on a social issue or exploring linguistic and cultural practices. English may be used with Auslan to conduct research, for example when investigating a social issue or cultural practice if a source text in Auslan cannot be found. It is also used in translating and in communicating bilingually. Learners are supported to reflect on the different roles that English and Auslan play in their academic work and in their conceptual development.


Years 9 and 10 Content Descriptions

Socialising

Socialise and exchange views on selected issues using different communication strategies, language structures and techniques

[Key concepts: issues, debate, discussion, interaction; Key processes: explaining, debating, justifying, code-switching] (ACLASFC235 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • explaining or justifying a position in relation to personal and social issues, such as the inclusion of deaf jury members, using simple clauses and more complex constructions, such as statements, if…then… or when constructions, for example:

    IF DS:place-person DEAF TEACHER MEANS DEAF HEARING STUDENTS EQUAL-all
    If there were a deaf teacher in the class as well, then all the students would be equal.
  • debating issues such as whether schools should have a school uniform, using a range of conjunctions and complex clauses, for example:

    SPORT, PRO1 THINK GOOD BECAUSE ENCOURAGE PEOPLE GO-OUT MEET-VARIOUS PEOPLE
    I think sport is great because it encourages people to go out and meet others.
    PRO1 THINK SCHOOL UNIFORM GOOD BECAUSE ALL STUDENT SAME-all DOESN’T MATTER RICH POOR SAME-all
    I think school uniforms are good because they keep students equal, and it doesn’t matter if they are rich or poor.
  • participating in conversations with their peers using strategies to sustain interactions, such as turn-taking and asking for repetition, clarification or confirmation, for example:

    WHAT? PLEASE AGAIN
    Could you repeat that, please?
    STILL GO-AHEAD
    Go ahead …
    RIGHT PRO2 SAY PRO1 FIX THAT?
    So, you want me to fix that?
  • communicating with other Auslan users via digital media to exchange views or to express personal opinion on topics such as co-educational or single-sex schools

  • adjusting their language to socialise with different audiences, such as primary school Auslan users, using appropriate code-switching techniques

Engage in various collaborative tasks that involve making decisions, solving problems and evaluating progress

[Key concepts: responsibility, evaluation, discussion; Key processes: problem-solving, planning, evaluating, managing] (ACLASFC236 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • participating in visits to a Deaf club or organisation and sharing responsibility for individual elements of a report that highlights key features of the experience

  • working with peers to solve problems, such as how to use video editing and/or captioning programs

  • working with a team to plan a fundraising event or a promotional display for Auslan at an open day/night and evaluating the experience to improve subsequent planning and organisation

  • assuming the role of a chairperson managing a small group discussion and conducting decision-making processes

  • contributing to the solving of hypothetical scenarios using conditionals, for example designing questions for a job interview such as:

    PRETEND SOMEONE DS:one-person-approach-other BLAST, PRO2 D-O WHAT?
    Pretend someone approaches you and tells you off; what will you do?
    I-F PRO2 BOSS PRO2 WILL CHANGE WHAT?
    What would you change if you were boss?
Interact appropriately with the teaching team, peers and members of the Deaf community, adjusting language when necessary and demonstrating understanding of appropriate protocols in and out of the classroom

[Key concepts: protocol, behaviour, communication; Key processes: demonstrating, gaining attention, back-channelling, clarifying] (ACLASFC237 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • demonstrating use of appropriate protocols within and beyond the classroom, such as gaining group attention through flashing lights, tapping, foot stomping and waving, and maintaining eye gaze, back-channelling and limiting the use of voice when interacting with unfamiliar Auslan users

  • adjusting the physical environment, including people and objects, to enable communication in a well-lit environment without glare or obstructions

  • demonstrating culturally appropriate behaviours when using or accessing an interpreter, such as not interrupting or blocking the line of sight

  • using appropriate discourse markers and NMFs to facilitate clear communication, for example:

    SURPRISE
    Oooh (with appropriate intonation)
    INCREDIBLE
    No way!
    WOW
    Wow!
    UM
    um …
    HOLD…
    Hang on a minute …
  • clarifying information, such as:

    WHAT? PLEASE AGAIN
    Could you repeat that, please?
    RIGHT PRO2 SAY PRO1 FIX THAT?
    So, you want me to fix that?
    PLEASE SLOW SIGN
    Could you sign that slowly, please?
    PRO2 SAY BEFORE WHAT?
    What did you just say, sorry?
  • asking for elaboration of information by adding comments, for example:

    RIGHT-YEAH INTERESTING BUT I WANT ADD COMMENT
    Well, yes, that’s interesting but I’d like to add something.
    STILL GO-AHEAD
    Go ahead …

Informing

Engage with a range of signed texts to locate and evaluate information, infer or interpret meaning and to present key points in new forms

[Key concepts: information, data collection, issues; Key processes: interviewing, observing, rephrasing, summarising] (ACLASFC238 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • interviewing an Auslan user, using prepared questions to find out about their experiences or opinions on selected topics, such as early language learning for deaf babies or their experience of education, selecting key elements of their commentary to produce a digital profile to share with the class

  • observing informative signed texts from the Deaf community and deaf-related organisations, such as emergency or advocacy texts, and rephrasing key points in a form suitable for a younger audience

  • collecting information from a variety of signed sources to inform class discussions on current affairs, for example the prevalent use of social media by young people, and access to this by deaf students

  • following more complex procedural signed texts, such as directions to follow in an unfamiliar environment, such as a school camp or excursion

  • watching and summarising information provided by a guest speaker and comparing their noted ideas and opinions with those of their peers

  • viewing texts such as interviews, news reports or vlogs and selecting points of information or details to use in their own texts or opinion pieces

  • viewing Auslan texts from other content areas, using depicting signs to explain key concepts, such as states of matter or climate variation

  • forming and signing questions to request information from a deaf organisation or person, in order to produce a digital information text such as a brochure or web page

  • obtaining information about high-profile members of the international Deaf community to create profiles for an e-magazine

Preparing and presenting information on different issues, events, people, procedures or experiences, using signed descriptions and visual prompts to inform, report, promote, explain or invite action

[Key concepts: biography, commentary, procedure, action; Key processes: presenting, describing, explaining, researching, composing, inviting action] (ACLASFC239 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • presenting a biographical report on a prominent deaf person, using visual prompts such as a slideshow to describe their life and achievements, incorporating some commentary and personal opinion

  • contributing an item of information for a collaborative e-book to describe views on different aspects of Deaf culture, such as community and protocols associated with signing

  • explaining to each other a selected procedure or practice, for example, a recipe, the rules of a sport or board game, or instructions on caring for animals

  • researching, composing and presenting a persuasive speech designed to invite action or support on a selected issue, such as a Deaf political matter

  • using visual props and signed explanation to describe a biological or mechanical process to the class, such as how the ear or a cochlear implant works

  • developing a signed news report or public announcement to inform or alert an imagined audience of a recent or impending natural disaster

  • creating signed announcements to inform members of the school community about events such as a Deaf theatre performance or National Week of Deaf People activities

  • creating digital clips or social media posts designed to persuade, inform or invite response on an issue of relevance to young people of their age

  • providing instructions in an engaging or entertaining style to create interest in a group activity, such as a maths game or signing choir

Creating

Respond to different types of creative texts that involve the expression of feelings or experiences, comparing their responses to different elements and making connections with their own experience

[Key concepts: Deaf experience, expression, cultural values, effect, emotion; Key processes: analysing, evaluating, profiling] (ACLASFC240 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • viewing and responding to creative texts such as television programs, poems and theatre performances that are used to represent the Deaf experience, for example the television program Switched at Birth

  • recognising how a character’s feelings and attitudes are expressed through NMFs, and expressing their own feelings or attitudes in similar contexts or situations

  • responding to different types of creative and imaginative texts, such as signed poetry, short stories or songs, identifying and discussing the artistic signed choices and making connections with their own experiences

  • exploring how cultural values and the expression of identity are reflected in different forms of artistic expression, such as poems by Walter Kadiki or John Wilson

  • evaluating Deaf performances or art forms that manipulate technology and the use of colour and light to create special effects, for example, in performances by Ian Sanborn

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

  • identifying and profiling deaf artists who make use of music, for example, members of the Deaf Performing Arts Network

  • engaging with examples of Deaf humour, such as Deaf jokes, and comparing them with examples of humour in spoken English or in silent films or mime

  • viewing and comparing expressions of Deaf experience through different visual art forms, such as painting, photography or sculpture, comparing with their own use of visual forms of expression of feelings and experience

Create and present entertaining individual or collaborative texts that reflect imagined people, places or experiences and draw from elements of their own life experience

[Key concepts: improvisation, stimulus, performance, humour, tension, interpretation; Key processes: improvising, performing, role-playing, creating, interpreting] (ACLASFC241 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • participating in improvisation games that require spontaneous and imaginative responses to a stimulus such as Sixty seconds to make the audience laugh or cry …

  • working collaboratively to create a performance such as a skit or humorous story for a class talent show

  • role-playing an imagined interview, incorporating elements of tension, humour or emotion

  • creating and presenting a handshape or signed poem on a selected theme, such as friendship or love

  • creating and presenting to their peers a signed interpretation of a wordless animation, comparing their different performances

  • creating a short film that incorporates camera techniques appropriate for a deaf audience

  • working collaboratively to create a static scene or diorama using the hands and bodies of at least two signers

  • creating the next scene, a new character or an alternative ending for a signed fable, short story or cartoon

Translating

Translate and interpret different types of familiar texts and consider the effectiveness of examples of different translations, considering the role of culture when transferring meaning from one language to another

[Key concepts: equivalence, translation, meaning, interpretation, ethics, culture; Key processes: translating, interpreting, comparing, researching, exploring, developing] (ACLASFC242 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • viewing and discussing online Auslan translations, such as the Catching Fire series of safety videos

  • experimenting with literal Auslan translations of popular English idioms, noticing when this creates confusion (for example, raining cats and dogs) and recognising the nature and function of cultural elements of communication and how these influence language use

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

  • comparing their own translations of short texts from Auslan to English and vice versa with those of their classmates, noting variations and discussing possible reasons for these

  • recognising the need to sometimes recast language and considering why one language may use more words/signs than another to communicate a particular meaning, for example, when Auslan uses spatial concepts or depicting signs to describe an event such as the scene of a car crash, which will take longer to explicate in a linear spoken language

  • translating poems, short stories or songs such as ‘I Am Australian’ from English into Auslan

  • exploring the role and function of Deaf interpreters and differences between Deaf interpreters and Auslan–English interpreters

  • researching aspects of available interpreting services in their area, for example, qualifications required for employment, and issues of interpreting and translating in specialised contexts such as health, education or legal settings

  • developing guidelines on culturally appropriate and ethical behaviour when interpreting and translating, for example explaining ways people should act in interpreting contexts and considering potential consequences of inaccurate interpreting

  • interpreting very simple interactions or role-plays between deaf students or guests and non-signers, such as a hearing teacher, librarian or canteen manager

  • participating in an excursion to an interpreted theatre event, with prior knowledge of the text/story, attending to the interpretation for discussion later in class

Create, develop and resource bilingual texts for use in the wider school community

[Key concepts: bilingualism, translation, meaning, representation, information; Key processes: translating, composing, comparing, creating, developing] (ACLASFC243 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • creating bilingual texts for the school community, for example, posters, library displays or digital newsletter items, discussing how to represent meaning in two languages for different audiences

  • developing collaborative translations of selected signed texts into spoken English or caption form

  • collecting and recording various Auslan phrases and expressions used by native Deaf signers, attaching English captions with appropriate translations, for example, PAH! = finally, TALK = communicate in speech or Auslan, CHAT = talk in Auslan

  • creating Auslan clips with English captions for the school website of items of interest to the school community

  • composing bilingual texts for class or school assembly performances, events or displays, for example, NWDP announcements

Identity

Recognise that the concept of identity is complex, dynamic and diverse, and consider how students learn more about their own identity through the exploration of other languages and cultures

[Key concepts: identity, perception, representation, difference; Key processes: investigating, comparing, evaluating, creating, analysing] (ACLASFC244 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • reflecting on how identity is expressed across cultures and through languages, for example by considering the idea of ‘belonging’ as expressed in different languages

  • investigating how particular policies and practices may affect the sense of identity of deaf people, for example, through the prohibition of the use of Auslan in schools in the past

  • viewing excerpts of different footage in Auslan or other signed languages and identifying language or behaviour that appears to be either inclusive or exclusionary and could impact on identity development, for example, the representation of deaf teenagers in the TV program Switched at Birth or in documentaries such as Welcome 2 My Deaf World and Deaf Teens: Hearing World, making connections or comparisons with their own experiences as teenagers

  • evaluating documentary footage of famous members of the Deaf community discussing identity and the experience of growing up deaf, comparing their commentaries with their own experience, paying attention to identified factors that can influence identity, such as gender or race

  • creating vlogs or filmed texts designed to share their understanding or views about Deaf/hearing identity and to prompt the intended audience to reflect on their own views of Auslan and the Deaf community and of what it means to be ‘hearing’

  • viewing signed news and other media texts, such as episodes of See Hear or SignPost, and discussing examples of discrimination, oppression or rejection experienced by deaf people, reflecting on how these may shape or reflect mainstream society’s perception of the Deaf community

  • considering the concepts of ‘Deaf gain’, Deafhood and audism, and comparing their response to these concepts as second language learners of Auslan

  • discussing the impact of language and culture on the shaping of identity and a sense of wellbeing

  • considering connections and shared identity between local, regional and national communities of deaf people for example, by inviting a deaf guest to share their experiences of travel or international contact

Reflecting

Reflect on the experience of learning and using Auslan and how the experience is influenced by their own languages and cultures, and consider how intercultural communication involves shared responsibility for making meaning

[Key concepts: intercultural communication, perspective, making meaning, inclusion, exclusion, audism, insider, outsider; Key processes: analysing, explaining, reflecting, considering] (ACLASFC245 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • reflecting on how learning Auslan provides a distinctive and additional means of understanding the world in which they live and the relationship that exists between language, culture and identity

  • considering issues of access, identity and audism, and also issues of discrimination, inclusion and exclusion in respect to different language and cultural communities

  • keeping a journal of experiences (humorous, satisfying or challenging) associated with learning and using Auslan in various contexts, noting changes in their personal responses and reflections over time, and comparing insights gained into their own languages and cultures

  • analysing their own cultural assumptions prior to learning Auslan, and considering if these have changed through the learning experience

  • reflecting on similarities and differences between spoken language and signed language users, for example when joining interactions, taking turns, using name signs or passing between people who are communicating with each other

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

  • exploring the concepts of insider and outsider views of the Deaf community and their own position in relation to these terms as second language learners of Auslan

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

Systems of language

Explore various types of non-manual features and the types of iconicity in signs, and gain confidence in using software to transcribe signs

[Key concepts: transcription, iconicity, metaphor; Key processes: identifying, recognising, distinguishing, describing, glossing] (ACLASFU246 - Scootle )

  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • identifying, demonstrating and describing the various types of NMFs: movements of the eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth, cheeks, shoulders and body

  • identifying and describing the function of various NMFs in a signed text

  • 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

  • recognising that some signs can occur with a standard mouth gesture and that these are sometimes called multi-channel signs

  • understanding that signs can be iconic in a number of ways, such as representing a whole object or part of an object

  • 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

  • transcribing part of a text using either annotation software such as ELAN or glossing, and recording what signs were used, spatial locations and NMFs

Understand that signs can include different information including a gestural overlay, and identify how signers establish spatial locations, types of depicting signs and ways of showing constructed action

[Key concepts: spatial location, grammatical use of space, constructed action, depicting signs; Key processes: noticing, identifying, recognising, comparing, contrasting, distinguishing] (ACLASFU247 - Scootle )

  • recognising that Auslan has fully-lexical signs that are in the dictionary and have a standard handshape, movement and location, and partly-lexical signs that cannot be listed in a dictionary in all forms as gesture changes the form each time they are signed

  • noticing that meaning is created in Auslan from fully-lexical signs, partly-lexical signs, non-lexical signing and gesture and comparing with the range of ways English speakers create meaning, including spoken words, modifying intonation, and gesture

  • noticing that fully- and partly-lexical signs can include grammatical information not included in a ‘citation’ form, for example, the sign TELL-me is not listed separately to TELL (towards neutral space) and GO-TO includes GO-TO-often

  • noticing that single-digit numbers can be separate lexical items or merged into other signs (numeral incorporation) such as those for ages (for example, 5-YEARS-OLD) or adverbs of time (for example, 3-WEEKS-AGO) or pronouns (WE3, WE4)

  • identifying where and how a signer has established a location in space, for example through the use of points, non-body-anchored signs or fingerspelled words

  • recognising that signers must make explicit which referent is associated with a location, but do not need to continue to make this explicit throughout a text

  • recognising that signers can set up referents in the signing space close to them (viewer space, for example, using a bC handshape (use of non-dominant hand) to indicate putting a glass on a table) or distant (diagrammatic, for example, using 5claw in two locations to represent two houses)

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

  • identifying instances of DSs and their type independently

  • comparing English adjectives with SASS DSs

  • learning that the function of CA is to represent the words, thoughts or actions of a protagonist in a text, either themselves or another

  • knowing that in CA a signer can shift into the role of another, or themselves at a different time, through eye gaze change, body shift, head orientation change, and matching facial expressions

Understand and control additional elements of Auslan grammar, such as the use of non-manual features for topicalisation, negation or conditional forms, and develop awareness of how signers use constructed action and depicting signs in composite utterances

[Key concepts: clause types, conjunctions, composite utterances; Key processes: recognising, observing, distinguishing, understanding] (ACLASFU248 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • observing that some noun groups are not signed overtly, particularly if maintaining the same referent rather than introducing a new one

  • distinguishing between the citation form of a sign and the adverbial NMF overlaid and what meaning each part carries, for example: MAN SPRINT (base form), MAN SPRINT-fast (manner added)

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

  • recognising that some adverbs modify adjectives, not verbs, for example VERY, and that these modifications to adjectives can also be expressed with NMFs, for example changes in mouth patterns and movement of signs can intensify adjectives, for example, RED-really, PLEASED-really, TALL-really

  • recognising that typically signers use DSs to show spatial relationships, not separate signs such as ON or UNDER

  • recognising how conjunctions such as PLUS, IF or BUT are used to join clauses and create cohesion

  • recognising that clauses can also be joined through particular NMFs

  • noticing that clauses can be linked equally or unequally, where one clause depends on another

  • recognising that the element of a clause that a signer wants to focus on most in Auslan is sometimes moved to be signed first and that this process of topicalisation involves particular NMFs

  • noticing that clauses are elaborated and made more vivid by adding adjectives and adverbs and by enacting or using DSs

  • realising that in many clauses signers ‘tell’ with fully-lexical signs at the same time as ‘show’ with DS, periods of CA and other gestural elements

  • noticing when signers are using composite utterances, for example those that include elements of CA, DSs, points and lexical signs, and how that affects the structure of a clause

Explore the relationship between particular text types, audience, purpose and context and analyse language features used by signers to create cohesion and achieve the purpose of the text

[Key concepts: audience, purpose, coherence; Key processes: noticing, analysing] (ACLASFU249 - Scootle )

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

  • conducting an in-depth analysis of a selected sign text, taking into account audience, purpose and topic to explain language choices made by the signer

  • expanding understanding of textual conventions, for example by explaining why signers choose alternatives to actor-verb-undergoer in a real text to topicalise the important point

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

  • noticing how signers construct cohesive and coherent texts through the use of text connectives such as lexical signs THEN or G:WELL or NMFs and pausing

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

Language variation and change

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

[Key concepts: language variation, standardisation, change, language borrowing, adaptation; Key processes: researching, interviewing, comparing, identifying, analysing, discussing] (ACLASFU250 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • 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

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

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

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

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

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

Language awareness

Understand the range of factors that influence the profile, diversity and distribution of Auslan use in the wider Australian society, and consider the concept of Auslan vitality in comparison with other spoken and signed languages used around the world

[Key concepts: influence, diversity, language vitality, language documentation; Key processes: researching, investigating, exploring, describing, analysing] (ACLASFU251 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • understanding that strong and healthy languages are those used by many people across generations in most domains to communicate about most topics

  • mapping the distribution of Auslan users across Australian states and demographics, using data from censuses and other sources to present findings in graph/visual representation forms

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

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

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

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

  • exploring how Auslan is used by deafblind people and their role in the Deaf community

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

  • reflecting on the role of Auslan interpreters in raising awareness and understanding of Auslan in the wider community, and considering ways in which they influence the function and nature of Auslan, for example by the introduction of neologisms

  • identifying language documentation as an important way of recording, transmitting and maintaining the vitality of languages

  • recognising that some languages have no written form and have historically been passed on face to face/orally, and so are less well recorded and documented

  • understanding that some languages used in Australia, such as English, have large numbers of users, while others, such as many spoken and signed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, are endangered or in the process of being revived or reclaimed

  • recognising that languages may be perceived as ‘weak’ or ‘strong’ based on community values and the existence of documentation and literature in the language

  • exploring the vitality of different languages by obtaining information from the UNESCO interactive online atlas and/or Ethnologue to compare numbers of speakers/signers of different languages

  • considering ways that Auslan is evolving due to various influences, including the capacity for new technologies to store, record and share sign languages internationally

  • exploring the role of globalisation in terms of what technology offers signed languages in terms of maintaining their vitality, for example, the use of ELAN for capturing and documenting Auslan

  • understanding the importance of advocating for Deaf rights to address existing gaps in services, for example in relation to issues such as the increased provision of Auslan interpreters, Deaf interpreters or captioning

  • responding to Deaf elders' guidance on how cultural values, beliefs and traditions are connected through shared life experience, language and visual ways of being, and how they are demonstrated in community behaviour and interactions with the wider community

  • comparing strategies used by deaf and hearing adults to negotiate physical environments, for example, different behaviours at a bank of lifts, and identifying how deaf people draw on additional perceptual resources in ways hearing people are unaware of

  • exploring technologies such as videoconferencing apps used by deaf people to communicate visually, to support social networks, to strengthen a sense of individual or shared identity as sign language users and to promote language vitality

  • considering likely contemporary influences or pressures on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander signed languages and the possible impact on their future

  • understanding how and why some deaf children face challenges with communication in hearing families or in social settings

  • recognising the important role of deaf families and deaf schools in preserving and maintaining Auslan and cultural identity

  • identifying behaviours, rights, roles and responsibilities in relation to the ownership and maintenance of Auslan and how such ownership rests with the Deaf community and is determined by traditional social groupings/families, significant places, history and stories

  • describing the visibility and use of Auslan in the wider community, for example in television programs, on the news, at community events, sporting fixtures and in emergency announcements

  • discussing the diversity of Auslan users in the Australian community, including people who are deaf, those who are hard of hearing and hearing people such as CODAs and interpreters

  • identifying examples of deaf people who have been recognised for different reasons in wider Australian society, for example, Alastair McEwin or Drisana Levitzke-Gray, and discussing how such recognition contributes to broader awareness of Auslan in Australia

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

  • identifying the changing status of significant sites in different international Deaf communities, for example, the loss of Deaf clubs or the closure of deaf schools in some countries, comparing this to the Australian context and reflecting on how such changes impact over time on Deaf communities and on Auslan

  • recognising different philosophical and social views about deafness, considering the impact of varying attitudes on a deaf person’s understanding of their rights and how they are represented and perceived in wider society

Role of language and culture

Understand that Auslan and Deaf culture are interrelated, that they shape and are shaped by each other, that their relationship changes over time and across contexts, and that they may be differently interpreted by users of other languages

[Key concepts: knowledge, value, transmission, reciprocity, responsibility, stereotype; Key processes: appreciating, discussing, reflecting, exploring, analysing, understanding, identifying, recognising, considering] (ACLASFU252 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • appreciating distinctions between Deaf cultures and other cultural minorities, such as the fact that most deaf people are born to hearing parents and acquire Deaf culture in addition to the culture of their families of origin from peers and other Auslan users in school or adults in the Deaf community

  • exploring the nature and effect of culture, for example by comparing the cultural concept of Deaf identity with a medical model of deafness

  • analysing and discussing core cultural concepts reflected in Auslan, such as the collective nature of the Deaf community, respect for elders, the importance of reciprocity and responsibility, for example, the signing TAP-2h++ reflects the responsibility to share information and pass on knowledge

  • understanding that knowledge about past and present Deaf people and cultural values are embodied in and transmitted through Auslan, for example ways of producing the sign for SIGN embody cultural meaning regarding distinctions made and values placed on fluent or awkward signing

  • identifying cultural differences between the use of personal names in Auslan and in their own background language, for example, Auslan signers not using a person’s name sign when addressing them directly, in contrast to the practice in many spoken languages

  • 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, or fingerspelling instead of signing overtly

  • 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

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

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

  • understanding that ‘sound’ is accessed differently in Deaf culture, that the meaning and importance of sound in deaf people’s lives is usually not the same as in hearing people’s experience

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


Years 9 and 10 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 10, students interact with peers, teachers and others using Auslan to communicate about personal interests and broader issues relating to the Deaf community. They participate in class discussions, explaining and clarifying positions, asking follow-up questions, using non-manual features for topicalisation or negation and responding to each other’s comments, for example IF DS:place-person DEAF TEACHER MEANS DEAF HEARING STUDENT EQUAL-all. They initiate and sustain interactions; ask for repetition, clarification or confirmation; use more elaborate sentence structures, such as embedding clauses; and use discourse markers such as SURPRISE, INCREDIBLE, WOW or UM. They engage in different processes of collaborative learning, including planning, negotiating and problem-solving, using familiar and some spontaneous language. They follow protocols when interacting with each other or with interpreters or Deaf visitors to the classroom, for example by interrupting conversations appropriately, waiting for eye gaze or for the signer to finish, or by providing context for a new participant joining a conversation. Students locate, interpret and analyse information from a variety of signed texts, such as announcements, news reports and vlogs, using context and knowledge of depicting conventions to work out unfamiliar meaning. They demonstrate understanding by paraphrasing, summarising and explaining main ideas, key themes or sequences of events. They interpret different types of creative and imaginative texts, such as Deaf performances or different expressive art forms, describing and comparing their responses. They plan, draft and present informative and imaginative texts, linking and sequencing ideas using conjunctions such as BUT or IF… THEN… as well as joining clauses with NMFs to build cohesion and to extend clauses. With support, they use constructed action (CA) to portray characters in a narrative, modify indicating verbs for non-present referents with increasing accuracy across a text, for example PRO1 ASK-her and use more complex entity depicting signs, for example DS(point):man-walks-slowly. They translate and interpret texts and create bilingual texts and resources to use in the wider school community, comparing different interpretations and making decisions in relation to dealing with instances of non-equivalence. Students explain culturally appropriate and ethical behaviour for interpreting and translating texts, and consider potential consequences of inaccurate interpreting. They reflect on how their own ways of communicating may be interpreted when interacting with deaf people, and modify elements of their behaviour such as the use of eye contact, facial expression or body language as appropriate.

Students identify and describe instances of CA in signed texts and explain how signers use CA and depicting signs in composite utterances. They identify and classify non-manual features in signed texts and describe their function. They know that signs can be iconic in a number of ways, and identify iconic signs that represent a whole object or part of an object. They distinguish between viewer and diagrammatic space, including whether viewer space refers to referents that are present or non-present. Students investigate and analyse the nature of variation in the use of Auslan, explaining influences such as geographical location, social groupings and history, educational experience, age of learners, family background and degree of contact with Signed English or other languages. They make comparisons between the ecologies of Auslan and signed languages in other countries, in relation to issues such as language policies and rights, advocacy, reform and language vitality. They identify factors that help to maintain and strengthen the use of Auslan, 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 every deaf person.