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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 3 and 4

Years 3 and 4 Band Description

The nature of the learners

Learners at this level are developing their cognitive and social capabilities and their communicative repertoire in the language, as well as becoming increasingly aware of their social worlds and their membership of various groups, including their Auslan class. They are more independent and less egocentric, enjoying both competitive and cooperative activities. They are able to conceptualise and reason, and have better memory and focus. They benefit from varied, activity-based learning that builds on their interests and capabilities and makes connections with other areas of learning.

Auslan learning and use

Learners in this band engage in a range of activities in Auslan and share ideas about the language. They respond to teacher-generated questions about texts, participate in games and give brief presentations about topics such as family, pets, or a favourite game or object. They continue to build vocabulary for thinking and talking about school topics. The 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, pets, favourite activities or food. They recount experiences, interact with visitors, follow directions, negotiate roles in a group and retell important information.

Contexts of interaction

Learning occurs largely through interaction with peers and the teaching team in the language classroom and the broader school environment, with some sharing of their learning at home. They also have some access to the wider Deaf community and resources through virtual and digital technology. The familiarity and routine dimension of the classroom context provide scaffolding and opportunities for language practice and experimentation.

Texts and resources

Learners typically interact with teacher-generated materials, games and songs, and materials produced for learning Auslan, such as computer games or online videos. They may be exposed to texts developed for deaf children as a way of developing their cultural awareness.

Features of Auslan use

Learners at this stage are increasingly aware of differences between Auslan and English. They are developing a wide range of vocabulary and can use simple clause structures to generate their own ideas in structured tasks. They use depicting signs to talk about simple movements and shapes, and with support can represent the viewpoint of a single participant through constructed action. They begin modifying more indicating verbs for present referents and use specific time marking incorporating numerals in their recounts. They are learning to use NMFs to mark manner on verbs or to express negation. Students at this level explore cultural constructs and practices and the language associated with these. Metalinguistically, learners can describe differences between how to show or tell about an event, understand that adverbs modify verbs and that clauses contain what happened, who was involved and surrounding circumstances.

Level of support

The primary support for learners is the Auslan teacher, who provides instruction, explanation, examples, repetition, reinforcement and feedback. Learners create their own texts based on modelled language and teacher guidance. Form-focused activities, particularly those increasing metalinguistic awareness, build students’ grammatical knowledge and support the development of accuracy and control in Auslan. Tasks and activities are carefully scaffolded and resourced with supports such as pictures, flashcards, gestures, objects and multimedia. Discussion supports learning and develops learners’ conceptual frame for talking about systems of language and culture.

The role of English

Learners use Auslan for classroom routines and structured learning tasks, and for watching texts. They are supported by the teacher to notice and discuss aspects of Auslan and Deaf culture, and to compare Auslan to other known languages and cultures. English is used for class discussions when noticing, comparing and reflecting on both English and Auslan, as well as for accessing some printed material related to topics in the Understanding strand.


Years 3 and 4 Content Descriptions

Socialising

Communicate with each other and with teachers about aspects of their personal worlds, daily routines, preferences and pastimes

[Key concepts: routines, interests, personal worlds; Key processes: recounting, describing, expressing preferences] (ACLASFC145 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • asking each other about their daily routines, interests or pastimes, for example:

    PRO2 ARRIVE SCHOOL HOW? CAR TAXI WALK G:WELL?
    How do you get to school?
    PRO2 REGULAR GO-TO-BED WHAT TIME?
    What time do you go to bed?
    WEEKEND OR HOLIDAYS, WHAT D-O?
    What do you do in your free time?
  • recounting personal experiences using specific time-related signs and conjunctions, such as BEFORE, AFTER, LONG-TIME-AGO, for example:

    LONG-TIME-AGO PRO1 FLY NEW ZEALAND
    A long time ago I went on a plane to New Zealand.
  • recounting classroom events using some indicating, plain and depicting verbs

  • describing activities they have completed, interests or favourite pastimes, using modifications to show manner, for example:

    PRO1 WORK LITTLE, LATER WORK-REALLY HARD
    I worked on it a little bit, then later I worked really hard on it.
    PRO1 SWIM-fast SWIM-slow
    I swam really fast till I got tired and slowed down.
  • expressing preferences in relation to people, places or things, for example:

    PRO1 LIKE THAT, THAT, BUT THAT BEST BOOK
    I like that one, and that one, but that one is the best book.
  • interacting with members of the Deaf community to share details of their personal worlds

  • identifying significant people in their lives, such as family members or friends, describing their appearance, characteristics or personality, for example:

    PRINCIPAL YOU-KNOW LONG-HAIR GLASSES?
    You know the principal? She has long hair and wears glasses.
    POSS1 BROTHER OLD++ TALL REAL FUNNY
    My brother is older; he’s tall and really funny.
Participate in shared learning activities that involve planning, transacting and problem-solving, using simple signed statements, questions and directions

[Key concepts: task, role, responsibility, clarification, encouragement; Key processes: collaborating, following directions, negotiating, asking for help] (ACLASFC146 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • working together in collaborative tasks such as cooking or craft activities, using interactional phrases such as:

    BOOK WHICH WANT MAKE WHICH? PICK.
    Which recipe do you want to make? You choose.
    PLEASE PRO2 BRING SCISSORS PLUS PAPER?
    Can you please bring scissors and paper?
  • following directions for activities such as a treasure hunt or creating a garden, using prepositions such as ON, UNDER, BEHIND and entity depicting signs, such as:

    DS:turn-left DEAD-END DS:turn-right.
    Go left, then at the end turn right.
    PLEASE BRING MILK FRIDGE DS:open-door POINT
    Please bring the milk; it’s at the bottom of the fridge door.
  • negotiating roles and responsibilities in shared learning activities, using expressions such as:

    PRO3 TYPE PRO1 WRITE PRO2 D-O WHAT?
    He will type, I’ll write, and what are you doing?
  • playing games that involve identifying and classifying specific points of information, for example, ‘Celebrity Heads’

  • understanding and using expressions of support, encouragement or praise during shared activities, for example, GOOD, EXCELLENT, CONGRATULATIONS

Respond to questions, directions and requests, using non-manual features and simple questions and statements to ask for help, to indicate understanding or agreement and to negotiate turn-taking

[Key concepts: instruction, clarification, turn-taking, back-channel, attention, eye contact; Key processes: responding, asking for help, turn-taking, using back-channel, gaining attention] (ACLASFC147 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • responding to classroom instructions such as

    PLEASE WITH-2++ DS:sit-opposite
    Please find a partner and sit opposite each other.
    DS:line-up PLEASE
    Line up, please.
    LOOK-AT-me
    Look to the front.
  • attracting attention or asking for help, repetition or clarification, for example:

    PLEASE HELP-me?
    Can you help me, please?
    PLEASE AGAIN SIGN
    Please sign that again.
    PLEASE EXPLAIN-to self AGAIN
    Please explain that again.
    WHAT MEAN?
    What do you mean?
    PRO2 MEAN…?
    Do you mean …?
  • negotiating turn-taking, for example:

    PRO1 FIRST YOUR-TURN
    It’s my turn first, then your turn.
  • using back-channels, for example, head nodding to indicate understanding, or raised eyebrows or head shaking to indicate lack of understanding

  • gaining the attention of a group or an individual, for example by flashing classroom lights, waving or multiple tapping or tapping or pointing to alert third parties

  • maintaining eye contact when communicating

Informing

Organise and summarise key points of information obtained from different types of Auslan texts

[Key concepts: sequence, information, format; Key processes: organising, summarising, identifying, surveying, retelling, recording] (ACLASFC148 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • retelling key points of information used in classroom interactions and school activities, such as announcements or directions for a game or task

  • watching Auslan texts that show people expressing likes and dislikes, and recording observations in table form

  • watching a signed presentation by a teacher, peer or visitor and identifying specific points of information

  • surveying peers in relation to their interests and preferences, summarising findings in formats such as profiles, charts or graphs

  • following the steps of a signed demonstration or procedure such as baking/cooking or simple science experiments, checking with each other about ingredients and processes

  • recounting in correct sequence the main points of a shared event such as an assembly performance or sports carnival

Present information associated with their home, school and community activities and routines, using signed descriptions and visual prompts

[Key concepts: recount, description, sequence; Key processes: presenting, demonstrating, recounting] (ACLASFC149 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recounting to the class a personal or community experience such as a holiday or weekend event

  • presenting routine class information, such as weather reports or daily schedules, using visual prompts and signed descriptions

  • 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

  • providing information needed to complete an information-gap activity

  • demonstrating a simple procedure using gestures, objects and list buoys

Creating

Engage with different types of imaginative texts, identifying favourite elements, characters and events and responding through modelled signing, actions and drawing

[Key concepts: story, character, response; Key processes: responding, comparing, retelling, drawing] (ACLASFC150 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • viewing short Auslan stories and responding by identifying and comparing favourite elements, characters and events

  • participating in Auslan games using simple clauses in creative ways, for example, playing the improvisation game ‘Space Jump’

  • engaging with different kinds of Deaf expression such as handshape poems or art, indicating their response using lexical signs such as:

    LIKE THAT
    I like that one.
    DON’T LIKE
    I don’t like it.
    PRO1 HATE THAT
    I hate that.
  • comparing two signed versions of a story such as ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’ and indicating their preference for one version over the other

  • retelling favourite elements of a signed story using modelled signing

  • drawing a personal interpretation of a ‘visual vernacular’ description of a character’s appearance

Create simple texts that demonstrate imagination and playfulness, using familiar signs, gestures, modelled language and visual supports

[Key concepts: play, imagination, character; Key processes: creating, performing, retelling] (ACLASFC151 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • assuming the role of a character from a story and responding to signed questions from classmates, such as:

    YOUR NOSE DS:long-nose WHY?
    Why is your nose so long, Pinocchio?
  • participating in storytelling games or imaginative activities, for example, the joint construction of a progressive story such as I went to market and bought …

  • retelling a wordless animation, modifying NMFs and lexical signs to indicate manner, for example, walk, sprint, march

  • creating a humorous skit using constructed action that involves interaction between two characters

  • using a ‘visual vernacular’ description to create an imaginary character, incorporating physical attributes and personality traits

  • working with classmates to use hands to visually represent an object or animal

Translating

Translate high-frequency signs/words and expressions in simple texts such as repeated lines in a story, noticing which ones are difficult to interpret

[Key concepts: similarity, difference, meaning; Key processes: matching, noticing, identifying, translating] (ACLASFC152 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • participating in shared reading of texts such as the Auslan–English versions of ‘The Wrong Book’ and answering questions about unfamiliar signs and word/sign matches and mismatches in the text

  • identifying and comparing key signs and words in Auslan and English versions of favourite stories, for example, ‘The Three Little Pigs’ and ‘The Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly’, noticing how signs can represent concepts which might not have a direct match in English

  • translating popular children’s songs into Auslan, for example, ‘Happy Birthday’

  • playing matching-pair games with Auslan sign-image flashcards and English flashcards, for example, matching cards associated with weather or animals in both languages

  • collecting and noting a list of gestures commonly used by hearing people when speaking English that have similar meaning when used in Auslan, for example, head nodding, shoulder shrugging, pointing to watch

Create bilingual versions of texts such as English captioned recordings of Auslan phrases

[Key concepts: meaning, representation; Key processes: creating] (ACLASFC153 - Scootle )

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

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

  • developing a simple handshape dictionary

  • creating cards for use by younger children that include pictures, labels and signs, such as a transport-themed card game

Identity

Consider how their ways of communicating and responding to each other shape and reflect their sense of identity

[Key concepts: identity, similarity, difference, community, membership, communication; Key processes: observing, identifying, creating, noticing, discussing, comparing] (ACLASFC154 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • using visual representations such as concept maps, posters or captioned slide presentations to identify groups that they identify with, such as friends, family, sporting, interest and community groups

  • creating a profile to capture their sense of self, for example through creating an avatar or montage, using key signs, fingerspelled letters or simple Auslan expressions in a digital file to identify significant characteristics, traits or experiences

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

  • identifying markers of identity that may be important across all cultures and communities, for example, family membership, environment, language background, age or gender

Reflecting

Describe ways in which communicating and behaving when using Auslan are similar to or different from their use of their own language(s) and forms of cultural expression

[Key concepts: language, culture, values, similarity, difference, communication; Key processes: noticing, comparing, describing, explaining, questioning, reflecting] (ACLASFC155 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • reflecting on similarities and differences between ways of communicating in Auslan and in their first language in different social situations, for example, when greeting/leave-taking; introducing people; and using body language, facial expression and eye contact

  • comparing their own and each other’s reflections on the experience of learning and communicating in Auslan, and considering whether their attitudes or understandings have changed through this experience

  • reflecting on similarities and differences in communication that reflect culture, such as visual ways of being among deaf people and ways of sharing storytelling or jokes

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

  • reflecting on differences in forms of address in signed and spoken languages, for example, not using a person’s name when signing directly to them, unlike the common use of names in Australian English/other languages

  • identifying assumptions that they bring to the experience of learning Auslan and considering how these may change through the learning experience

Systems of language

Identify the movement and location of different signs and notice how they combine with handshape to form signs, and understand that Auslan can be videoed and transcribed to assist learning

[Key concepts: orientation, hand dominance, iconicity, non-manual features, recording language; Key processes: identifying, recognising, comparing] (ACLASFU156 - Scootle )

  • identifying the location of a sign on the body or in space

  • 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)

  • recognising that handshapes must be performed in a particular orientation

  • 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

  • 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

  • identifying single, double and two-handed signs, and recognising which hand is dominant (the pen hand) and which is non-dominant (the paper hand) within two-handed signs

  • 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

  • learning to film themselves and analyse the video or to read simple glosses produced by the teacher, and understanding that the English word used is often not an exact match for the meaning of the sign

Understand how space is used in Auslan to show who is involved in an event through the meaningful location of nouns and verbs, the use of depicting signs and enacting

[Key concepts: signing space, numeral incorporation, verb modification; Key processes: recognising, discussing, comparing] (ACLASFU157 - Scootle )

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

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

  • 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)

  • understanding that some verb forms in Auslan indicate who is involved in a verb by changing the direction of the movement or orientation of the handshape

  • noticing the relationship between the location of referents in real space and the direction of some indicating verbs in a text

  • identifying instances of DSs with appropriate support

  • comparing English adjectives with SASS DSs

Understand that clauses can be enriched through the use of adjectives and adverbs (when, where, how), often produced with non-manual features

[Key concepts: verb types, adverbs, clause structure, questions; Key processes: recognising, distinguishing, observing] (ACLASFU158 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • 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 (BELONG, OWN) verbs indicate what characters think, feel or own
    • relating verbs identify or describe a noun, for example, HAVE in PRO3 HAVE LONG-HAIR
  • understanding how DSs and adverbs can give extra information about an activity

  • 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)
  • understanding that, in terms of meaning, a basic clause represents: a happening or a state (verb), who or what is involved (noun or nouns) and the surrounding circumstances (adverb or adverbs)

  • knowing that signing involves either telling with signs or showing with DSs and periods of CA

    MAN WALK SLOW
    DS(point):man-walks-slowly
    CA:man-swinging-arms-nonchalantly
Understand how signers make different language choices in different types of texts and compare this with English versions of text types, and notice how texts build cohesion

[Key concepts: textual features, similarity, difference, cohesion; Key processes: recognising, discussing, comparing] (ACLASFU159 - Scootle )

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

  • discussing and comparing the purposes of familiar texts such as class discussions or stories

  • comparing a short text in Auslan with an equivalent English text, noticing similarities and differences in their structure and language features

  • observing how texts build cohesion, for example by using different signs to refer to the same person

Language variation and change

Recognise that there is variation in Auslan use, for example in different locations or physical environments

[Key concepts: variation, adaptation; Key processes: identifying, recognising, exploring, considering] (ACLASFU160 - Scootle )

  • exploring similarities and differences in Auslan dialects through building webcam relationships with other schools or through identifying and collecting signs that differ in the northern (Qld and NSW) and southern (Vic., SA, WA and Tas.) dialects, such as DINNER or AFTERNOON

  • recognising that variation also occurs in spoken languages and noticing some different words for the same thing in English, such as cossie/cozzie, togs or bathers

  • identifying Auslan signs or informal home signs that might be different from signs used by other people

  • 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

  • recognising variation in adaptation of signing between different users of Auslan, for example, people who are deafblind use hand-over-hand signing and tactile fingerspelling

Language awareness

Develop awareness of the social and cultural nature and context of Auslan and other sign languages, of their different modes of expression and of the related issue of language vitality

[Key concepts: communication, language vitality, culture, accessibility; Key processes: identifying, describing, recognising] (ACLASFU161 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • identifying different ways Deaf community members communicate with each other and with members of the wider hearing community, including face to face or via technology such as NRS or VRS, through social media, the use of English or the use of interpreters

  • identifying how deaf people modify space to maximise visual attention, such as adjusting seating or removing visual obstacles

  • exploring different expressions for gaining attention or signalling enjoyment, such as tapping, waving, stomping or using visual applause, and their suitability for visual language users

  • recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ use of signed languages is culturally determined and shaped by their beliefs and values

  • understanding cultural values associated with the conferment of name signs to people, such as second language learners of Auslan who are joining the Deaf community

  • exploring the vitality of Auslan and other spoken and signed languages, appreciating that a language with strong vitality is one used by many people in the home and other domains, across generations, to talk about most topics

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

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

  • understanding that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander signed languages arise from specific needs, for example, certain cultural restrictions on speech, or the presence of deaf people

  • exploring relationships between place, space and people, considering why some places and spaces make deaf people feel comfortable and promote a sense of cultural belonging and pride

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

Role of language and culture

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

[Key concepts: language, culture, identity, symbol; Key processes: exploring, understanding, noticing, recognising, questioning, making connections] (ACLASFU162 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • exploring culture as an essential part of human life, understanding that it is shared, passed on between generations and is closely connected to language and to 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 how this understanding applies to themselves as users of their first language and as learners 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

  • recognising that language reflects values and beliefs, for example in expressions of personal identity or in the recognition of others (sameness and difference), for example by identifying deaf family members as part of introductions, and by relaying cultural information about background and context and shared knowledge when interacting with others


Years 3 and 4 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 4, students participate in classroom routines and structured interactions with teachers and peers. They communicate about daily routines, interests and pastimes; recount personal experiences and classroom events; and describe people, experiences or activities using simple depicting signs, such as DS:run-around-oval THEN DS:sit-in-circle. They express preferences, follow directions and ask for clarification or help. They play games that involve making choices, exchanging information and negotiating turn-taking. They use non-manual features to indicate understanding, interest or lack of interest. They use culturally appropriate protocols, such as gaining attention by waving, tapping or pointing to alert third parties and maintain eye contact when communicating, for example PRO2 MEAN or … RIGHT PRO1? They identify, summarise/paraphrase and retell key points of information in signed texts such as announcements, directions for a game or presentations by visitors, for example PRO1 FIRST YOUR-TURN. They recount in correct sequence the main points of an event or favourite elements of a signed story, using modified indicating verbs, such as POSS1 FAVOURITE PART PRO3 TAKE MONEY THEN RUN-that direction. They present routine class information, such as weather reports or daily schedules, using visual prompts and signed descriptions. They create their own simple imaginative texts and retell wordless animations using familiar signs, gestures, modelled language and visual supports. They translate high-frequency signs/words and expressions in simple texts. They reflect on their own cultural identity and ways of communicating in light of their experience of learning Auslan.

Students compare fingerspelling with written English, noticing that it can be used for whole words or for parts of words. They recognise that there are signs that have no single English word equivalent, and know that signs can be displaced in space for different purposes, such as to show locations or different participants in a verb. They know that signing involves telling, depicting or enacting. They recognise variation in how Auslan is used, for example by recognising regional dialects and differences in signing space. They identify different ways Deaf community members communicate with each other and with members of the wider hearing community, for example, face to face, via technology, social media and interpreters. They know that culture is closely related to language and to identity and involves both visible and invisible elements.