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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 5 and 6

Years 5 and 6 Band Description

The nature of the learners

Learners at this level are expanding their social networks, experiences and communication repertoire in both their first language and Auslan. They continue to need guidance and participate in structured, collaborative tasks that both recycle and extend language. They are gaining greater independence and becoming more conscious of their peers and social context. They are gaining awareness of the world around them and of nature of the Deaf community in Australia. They notice similarities and differences between Auslan and Deaf culture and their own language(s) and culture(s).

Auslan learning and use

Learners use well-known phrases in Auslan to participate in classroom routines, presentations and structured conversations with the teacher and peers. They focus on aspects of their personal worlds and are introduced to content related to Auslan, the Deaf community and other learning areas. Learners develop their capability in Auslan through scaffolded tasks and texts such as descriptions and stories. They are learning to apply their knowledge of key signs and textual features to predict the meaning of unfamiliar language. They use modelled language to create texts such as narratives. They use Auslan to paraphrase; form questions to request information; interview others; plan, rehearse and deliver short presentations; and to compare interests and activities. They extend their language use by expressing ideas through expanding and connecting clauses.

Contexts of interaction

Learners use Auslan to interact with the teacher and their classmates, and may use technology to communicate with deaf peers in other contexts. Tasks are typically structured, collaborative and at times competitive, such as group performances, class displays or games. Language development and use are incorporated into collaborative and interactive learning experiences and activities. Learners may notice the use of Auslan in the community, such as in the media.

Texts and resources

Learners engage with a growing range of signers and videoed signed texts. They also engage with resources prepared by their teacher, including games, performances, presentations and language exercises. They may have additional access to Auslan and Deaf culture through resources created for the Australian Deaf community, such as children’s television programs, websites or video clips. In addition, they make use of texts from other signed languages that make extensive use of the ‘visual vernacular’.

Features of Auslan use

Learners are expanding their knowledge of vocabulary and sentence construction. With support, they use constructed action to show participants in a narrative, modify indicating verbs for non-present referents with increasing accuracy across a text, and use more complex entity depicting signs. Learners are developing a metalanguage for describing aspects of Auslan and how it is structured, such as how signers use different means to refer to things for cohesion in a text. They are increasingly aware of the connection between language and cultural practices and compare such connections to their own language and culture.

Discussion, reflection and explanation ensure the continued development of learners’ knowledge base and metalinguistic and intercultural capabilities. Understanding of the relationship between language, culture and identity is developed through guided investigation of how language features and expressions carry specific cultural meaning; through critical analysis of cultural stereotypes, attitudes and perspectives; and through exploration of issues related to personal and community identities. Students reflect on the relationship between language, culture and identity and how these affect communication and intercultural experience through the lens of their own bicultural experiences.

Level of support

Support provided by the teacher at this level includes explicit instruction, description, and comparison of Auslan and English; modelled language use and examples of texts; and feedback on and review of student work. Learning experiences incorporate implicit and explicit form-focused language learning activities and examples of texts and tasks. Learners need practice and guidance in using dictionaries, especially Signbank, and access to word charts, vocabulary lists and examples when translating and creating texts.

The role of English

Auslan is used for classroom routines and language learning tasks and may be used as the language of instruction for learning the content of other learning areas. The language of response varies according to task demands, with Auslan used primarily for communicating in structured and supported tasks and English for open-ended, comparative tasks that develop learners’ understanding of language and culture. English may also be used to research cultural issues where the source text is not available in Auslan.


Years 5 and 6 Content Descriptions

Socialising

Share ideas and feelings about people they know, their daily lives, social activities and the school community

[Key concepts: experience, interaction, interests, relationship; Key processes: describing, discussing, responding, comparing, expressing feelings] (ACLASFC163 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • describing experiences and how they made them feel, for example:

    DEAF PERSON WILL VISIT SCHOOL PRO1 EXCITED MEET
    I am excited to meet the deaf visitor.
    POSS1 FRIEND CHANGE OTHER SCHOOL PRO1 SAD
    I was sad when my friend moved away.
  • discussing aspects of their school experience, using familiar lexicalised fingerspelled signs to talk about shared places or people they know, for example:

    M-O-N M-R S-M-I-T-H GIVE-me BOOK THAT NEW
    On Monday Mr Smith gave me a new book.
  • comparing weekend or holiday routines, interests and activities, using signs associated with time, sequence and location, for example:

    REGULAR SUMMER PRO1-plural GROUP-MOVE-TO BEACH STAY++ THREE WEEK
    We go to the beach for three weeks in summer.
    WEEKEND PRO1 GO-TO-AND-BACK++ CAMP
    I go camping on weekends.
  • discussing shared experiences of school events, using appropriate interactional strategies when communicating in pairs or in groups, for example, using NMFs and eye gaze to gain, hold or finish a turn, for example:

    THEATRE GOOD, LONG-really
    I liked the theatre performance but it was soo long.
    SCHOOL SWIMMING RACE, GOOD BAD, PRO2 THINK WHAT?
    What did you think about the swimming carnival?
  • describing relationships between members of their families or between classmates, for example:

    PRO3 POSS1 COUSIN WE2 GOOD FRIEND.
    She’s my cousin; we’re good friends.
  • comparing attributes or characteristics of classmates or classroom objects, for example:

    S-A-M RUN FAST C-H-R-I-S WORSE FAST SPEED
    Sam runs fast but Chris runs the fastest.
    THAT BEST COMPUTER
    That’s the best computer.
Collaborate with peers to plan and conduct shared events or activities such as performances, presentations, demonstrations or transactions

[Key concepts: performance, presentation, Deaf culture; Key processes: planning, negotiating, organising] (ACLASFC164 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • working collaboratively to plan a performance or presentation for a younger class, for example on aspects of Deaf culture or Auslan

  • expressing preferences in relation to roles and responsibilities in shared learning activities, using statements such as:

    PRO1 HANDWRITING PRO1 DON’T-LIKE RATHER TYPING
    I don’t like handwriting; I prefer to type it.
    PRO1 DON’T-WANT DRAW, PRO1 WANT TAKE-PHOTO++
    I don’t want to do the drawing; I’d rather take photos.
  • negotiating with a partner to prioritise or sequence tasks when planning a learning activity, using language such as:

    PRO2 THINK BEST THIS FIRST, FINISH, NEXT
    Do you think we should do this first and when that’s done, next
    THAT FIRST IMPORTANT THAT SECOND
    That’s more important than this.
  • organising activities such as excursions or talent shows, using expressions related to place, time and numbers, for example:

    THAT THEATRE WHEN WHAT DAY?
    What date is the show?
    HOW-MANY PEOPLE WILL DS:many-move?
    How many people will be there?
  • playing games that involve detailed information exchange, such as ‘Guess Who?’, asking for and supplying descriptions, for example:

    POINT HAVE GLASSES?
    Does yours have glasses?
    DON’T-HAVE
    No.
  • allocating responsibilities for the completion of shared tasks, such as following a recipe or building a model

  • carrying out simulated transactions in different contexts, for example, playing a ‘restaurant’ game, or a food shopping game

Communicate appropriately while involved in shared learning activities by asking and responding to questions, managing interactions, indicating understanding and monitoring learning

[Key concepts: agreement, clarification, protocol, reflection; Key processes: responding, agreeing, monitoring] (ACLASFC165 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • responding to signed class and school announcements such as assembly procedures

  • showing agreement or disagreement or asking for clarification, for example:

    PRO1 AGREE
    I agree.
    PRO1 AGREE-NOT
    I don’t agree …
    THAT RIGHT THAT?
    Is that right?
    …RIGHT PRO1?
    … am I right?
  • using discourse markers in conversation to indicate understanding, attention or consideration, for example:

    SURPRISE
    oooh (with appropriate intonation)
    INCREDIBLE
    No way!
    WOW
    Wow!
    UM
    um
  • respecting protocols for interrupting conversations, for example by walking between signers, waiting for eye contact and pauses in signing and using language such as EXCUSE or SORRY INTERRUPT

  • monitoring their own and each other’s learning, for example by making comments such as:

    SURPRISE KNOW-NOT PRO1
    I didn’t know that …
    THANKYOU PRO2 EXPLAIN CLEAR
    Thank you – that was really clear.
  • following appropriate protocols when interacting with interpreters, for example not standing between the interpreter and the deaf person

  • using non-auditory ways of signalling enjoyment, support or encouragement in large group or audience activities, for example, by foot stomping at a deaf basketball game

Informing

Collect, classify and paraphrase information from a variety of Auslan texts used in school and community contexts

[Key concept: information, findings, concepts; Key processes: identifying, collecting, classifying, paraphrasing, responding, explaining, requesting, interviewing] (ACLASFC166 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • identifying specific points of information in procedural or descriptive Auslan texts, responding to signed comprehension questions

  • paraphrasing the content of selected Auslan texts such as community announcements and relaying the information to others

  • using information collected from peers about home and school routines, presenting findings to the class using visual supports/graphic organisers

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

  • forming and signing questions to request information from a deaf organisation or person needed to produce a digital text such as a brochure or program

  • interviewing Deaf peers or other Auslan users and noting unfamiliar signs, recoding and classifying these in their personal sign dictionaries

Convey information in different formats to suit different audiences and contexts

[Key concepts: context, purpose, audience; Key processes: presenting, creating] (ACLASFC167 - Scootle )

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

  • creating a rehearsed digital report/reflection in Auslan for a school website on the experience of interacting with Deaf visitors

  • presenting information for Deaf visitors at a school open day about significant school or community events, such as festivals or sports carnivals

  • presenting information using visual support to engage the interest of the wider school community in a selected Deaf organisation or community activity

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

  • planning, rehearsing and delivering short presentations about their use of Auslan in different contexts, taking into account context, purpose and audience

  • explaining a procedural text to the class, such as a recipe

Creating

Engage with a range of creative and imaginative texts, identifying and discussing ideas and characters and making connections with their own experiences

[Key concepts: narrative, theatre performance, emotional response, humour; Key processes: sequencing, comparing, shadowing, reflecting] (ACLASFC168 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • viewing a signed narrative text and responding by drawing a storyboard that identifies and sequences key events

  • viewing a theatre performance designed for a deaf audience and sharing their reactions to the experience of viewing a theatre performance designed for a deaf audience

  • comparing their reactions to imaginative texts that evoke positive or negative emotional responses, making connections with experiences in their own lives that have produced similar feelings

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

  • shadowing signed elements of theatrical or cinematographic texts that use handshapes, such as the scene with hand-faces in the film Labyrinth

  • tracking and reflecting on the experiences of deaf dancers and choreographers, for example as contestants in shows such as So You Think You Can Dance

Create or reinterpret simple imaginative texts that involve favourite characters or humorous situations, using a range of signs, gestures and supporting props to convey events, characters or settings

[Key concepts: constructed action, perspective, choreography; Key processes: adapting, performing, retelling, dancing] (ACLASFC169 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • creating and performing an adaptation of a humorous story with two or more characters, using elements of constructed action such as eye gaze change, body shift and head orientation change

  • retelling a story to compare characters’ perspectives using referents

  • working collaboratively to create a visual representation of a face, using the hands and bodies of at least two classmates

  • using ‘visual vernacular’ to create a humorous skit for a younger group of Auslan learners

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

  • choreographing and performing music-less dance, focusing on matching timing, beat and rhythm

  • creating and performing a story from the viewpoint of a single character or narrator

Translating

Translate familiar texts from Auslan to English and vice versa, noticing which words or phrases require interpretation or explanation

[Key concepts: equivalence, meaning, interpretation; Key processes: identifying, translating, shadowing, creating, comparing] (ACLASFC170 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • finding and using phrases that have direct translations between Auslan and English, for example, Goodnight, Happy birthday

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

  • demonstrating the use of a bilingual online dictionary (Signbank), for example by looking up various meanings of the word run and comparing variation in signs for the concept in different contexts, and using it to translate Auslan texts into English and vice versa

  • using resources such as Signbank to identify words which might not have a direct sign equivalent, for example, jewellery, pets and other collective nouns

  • translating segments from popular children’s texts such as fairytales or short stories into Auslan, considering why some elements cannot be translated literally

Create their own bilingual texts and learning resources such as electronic displays, websites or digital newsletters

[Key concepts: bilingualism, meaning; Key process: composing, creating] (ACLASFC171 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • composing bilingual texts for class or school assembly performances, events or displays, for example, National Week of Deaf People announcements

  • constructing and co-maintaining a bilingual website with a Deaf school

  • creating bilingual texts for younger children, such as an online Auslan–English dictionary of school-specific vocabulary

Identity

Demonstrate understanding of the nature of identity in relation to themselves and to members of the Deaf community

[Key concepts: identity, community, history; Key processes: documenting, creating, sharing, evaluating, comparing] (ACLASFC172 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • describing key milestones or important influences in their lives, including people, events, experiences, community traditions or travel experiences, explaining how these have helped shape their sense of identity and their perspectives

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

  • making and sharing ‘hand identity charts’ to illustrate similarities and differences in how students define themselves or may be defined by others, using sketches of signs or gloss in the fingers of the chart and views of others outside the handshape

  • identifying Deaf community identities associated with significant places, such as Martha Overend Wilson and the sites of the former Queensland Adult Deaf and Dumb Mission, or Eugene Salas and the original South Australian Deaf Society/Mission building

Reflecting

Reflect on how language and cultural background influence perceptions of other languages and communities, and on their experience of learning and communicating in Auslan

[Key concepts: influence, perspective, perception, self-reflection; Key processes: comparing, sharing, monitoring, identifying, analysing, explaining, reflecting] (ACLASFC173 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • examining misconceptions held by some hearing people about deaf people, Auslan and Deaf culture, such as the idea that all deaf people can hear with hearing aids, or that deaf people may not drive

  • considering possible explanations for assumptions deaf people might make about hearing people or about spoken languages

  • observing and documenting their development as learners of Auslan, for example, by recording learning experiences and reflections in blogs, learning logs or journals, considering whether their sense of identity changes when communicating in this language

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

  • identifying and comparing how various emotions and different attitudes, such as respect, shyness, exuberance or embarrassment, are expressed in and responded to by different languages and cultures

  • exploring ideas about identity in journal writing, for example by documenting challenges and rewards relating to second language learning and any changes in relation to their sense of identity

Systems of language

Identify and describe elements of sign production, including handshape and its orientation, movement, location and non-manual features, and explore the processes of annotating Auslan videos or reading and transcribing glossed texts

[Key concepts: body anchored, iconicity; Key processes: identifying, recognising, annotating, glossing] (ACLASFU174 - Scootle )

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

  • identifying some NMFs in a signed text

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

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

  • identifying some iconic signs and considering how they are iconic

  • exploring with support software such as ELAN to annotate signed texts with some grammatical marking such as NMFs

  • ‘reading’ and transcribing glossed texts, including indicating understanding that there are markings to show NMFs and spatial locations

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

[Key concepts: gestural overlay, establishing a spatial location, function of constructed action; Key processes: recognising, distinguishing] (ACLASFU175 - 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 they change their form each time they are signed, such as DSs

  • 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

  • identifying where a signer has established a location in space (for example, through points, non-body-anchored signs, fingerspelled words or verb movement changes)

  • recognising that signers must make explicit which referent is associated with a location

  • identifying examples of each type of DS in an Auslan text: entity DSs, handling DSs and 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

Develop understanding of the important role of non-manual features in adverbs and joining clauses, and know that spatial relationships in Auslan are typically expressed with depicting signs

[Key concepts: manner, locatives, topicalisation; Key processes: recognising, distinguishing] (ACLASFU176 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising that quantifiers such as FEW or THREE are also types of adjective signs

  • noticing that sometimes Auslan signers have information about how a verb happens through NMFs not separate signs (for example, WRITE-carelessly)

  • 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, PLEASE-really, TALL-really

  • 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 how conjunctions such as plus, if or but are used to join clauses and create cohesion

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

  • recognising that some nouns are not signed overtly in a clause, for example in the clauses below, the noun (the swimmer) is given in the first clause but not repeated in the second

    PRO2 SWIM DETERMINED SWIM, NOT WIN
    You swam really hard but you didn’t win.
  • noticing that clauses are elaborated and made more vivid by adding adjectives and adverbs and by enacting or using DSs, and that they can be joined by conjunctions to make longer sentences

  • noticing that parts of a sentence can be signed simultaneously in Auslan, making it hard to establish word order

  • recognising that the element of a sentence that a signer wants most focus on is sometimes signed first and that this process of topicalisation involves particular NMFs

Identify and use language features of different types of Auslan texts and understand that texts are made cohesive through language choices

[Key concepts: language features, cohesion, referent tracking; Key processes: identifying, analysing] (ACLASFU177 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • identifying structures and characteristic features of particular types of text that suit the purpose of the text, for example, selecting language that expresses emotion in a narrative text compared to more factual language used for objective reporting in an information report

  • analysing samples of particular types of text, noticing choices signers have made in the production of their text, for example the amount of CA they have used

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

Language variation and change

Explore variation in terms of the impact of other languages on Auslan across contexts and over time

[Key concepts: influence, language borrowing, style shifts; Key processes: noticing, recognising, explaining] (ACLASFU178 - Scootle )

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

  • creating lists of fingerspelled words which have become lexicalised, for example, #HOW, #BUT, #ABOUT or #FOR and looking at how this process has changed the form of words over time

  • recognising that Auslan includes loan signs from Signed English, some of which were invented for Signed English (for example, TOY or DAD) and some that were from the southern dialect and incorporated into Signed English, for example, YELLOW

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

  • explaining the influence of other signed languages such as BSL, ISL and ASL on Auslan over different periods of time and discussing reasons for such influence

Language awareness

Explore the current status and profile of Auslan and of the Deaf community in contemporary Australian society, considering issues such as language transmission, usage and documentation

[Key concepts: diversity, representation, language transmission, documentation; Key processes: recognising, describing, understanding, discussing, investigating] (ACLASFU179 - Scootle )

  • 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

  • investigating the signed languages used by deaf and hard of hearing members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

  • exploring variation in Auslan fluency among classmates and members of the Deaf community, considering the relevance of factors such as where and when individual users learnt to sign and whether they are from a Deaf or hearing family

  • mapping sign language use around the world using data from Ethnologue, for example by identifying and labelling countries with correct naming of the sign language used, such as France = LSF: Langue des Signes Française; Germany = DGS: Deutsche Gebärdensprache

  • finding representations of signing deaf people in the media or in literary texts, and evaluating how they and the language are represented

  • investigating the profile and distribution of members of the Deaf community, for example across states of Australia or by age or gender, using data from censuses and other sources to summarise and represent information in graph/visual forms, and to suggest possible explanations of patterns or statistics

  • understanding the role and function of Auslan–English interpreters and Deaf interpreters and the access and opportunities they provide to language users

  • recognising that many languages are well-documented, strong, healthy and widely used by many people across generations while others are less well-documented and robust

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

  • recognising language documentation as an important means of recording, maintaining, transmitting and revitalising a language

  • understanding the nature of transmission of Auslan, for example, that in most cases Auslan is not passed on from parent to child but from peers, or is learnt by children from adults outside the family, and that some Deaf people learn Auslan later in early adulthood

  • describing how Auslan has been transmitted across generations and how it has been recorded, investigating reasons for the ‘oral’ tradition language transmission

  • using the UNESCO atlas to map the world’s minority languages and those that are in critical endangerment and to document the vitality of signed languages

  • exploring how different technologies are used by deaf people to support social networks and strengthen their community and language

  • explaining the significance of stories linked to Deaf social history and the responsibility of the Deaf community to convey shared experiences that relate to Deaf history and significant sites, for example by sharing stories about school days in the past

  • 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

Role of language and culture

Reflect on how communities’ ways of using languages are shaped by, reflect and strengthen cultural values and beliefs and how these may be differently interpreted by users of other languages

[Key concepts: cultural expression and transmission, values, beliefs; Key processes: observing, making connections, discussing, investigating] (ACLASFU180 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • explaining the role of Auslan and Deaf culture in maintaining, reflecting and strengthening the Deaf community and its networks and significant places

  • understanding that knowledge about past and present Deaf people and cultural experience and values is embodied in and transmitted through Auslan, for example ways of producing the sign for SIGN reflect cultural values placed on fluency

  • identifying the cultural importance of elements of communication such as the use of signing space and proxemics by Auslan users, particularly in relation to a person passing between two signers, or to the positioning of communication partners

  • identifying cultural differences in the use of personal names in Auslan and their own background language, such as the fact that Auslan signers do not use a person’s name sign when addressing them directly as do users of many spoken languages

  • recognising that different types of expressive and imaginative performance in Auslan carry cultural as well as linguistic information, for example, a film or theatrical performance that represents typical miscommunication experiences between deaf and hearing people

  • reflecting on the ways 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 not the same as in hearing people’s experience


Years 5 and 6 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 6, students discuss aspects of their daily lives, social activities and school experience and respond to each other’s comments. They describe relationships and characteristics of people and objects and express feelings and preferences, for example, POSS1 FRIEND CHANGE OTHER SCHOOL PRO1 SAD. They negotiate with each other to plan, organise and complete learning tasks and activities, using statements such as PRO1 DON’T-WANT DRAW, PRO1 WANT TAKE-PHOTO, THANKYOU PRO2 EXPLAIN CLEAR, or THAT FIRST IMPORTANT THAT SECOND. They follow more complex instructions and directions involving several steps. They compare experiences, routines, interests and activities, using signs associated with time, sequence and location. They follow protocols when interacting with each other or with interpreters or visitors to the classroom, for example by interrupting conversations appropriately or providing context for a new participant joining a conversation. They paraphrase the content of selected signed texts, such as community announcements, and relay the information to others. They plan, rehearse and deliver short presentations, taking into account context, purpose and audience. They respond to creative and imaginative texts, for example by discussing ideas and characters, shadowing signed elements of theatrical or cinematographic texts that use handshapes, and by making connections with their own experiences. They create or reinterpret simple imaginative texts using elements of constructed action (CA), such as body shift, eye gaze and head orientation change. They modify non-manual features and lexical signs to indicate manner. They translate familiar texts from Auslan to English and vice versa, identifying which words or phrases require interpretation or explanation.

Students discriminate between body-anchored and non-body-anchored signs, and recognise how non-body-anchored signs can modify their locations meaningfully. They know that the function of CA is to represent the words, thoughts or actions of a protagonist in a text, either themselves or others, and that spatial relationships between objects are typically expressed with depicting signs in Auslan. They understand different ways that English words are borrowed into Auslan and identify connections between Auslan and other signed languages, for example, BSL, ISL and ASL. They recognise the diversity of Auslan users in the community, including people who are deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people such as CODAs or interpreters. Students recognise how Auslan has been transmitted across generations and describe different ways it has been documented and recorded, for example, by glossing and the use of technology such as ELAN. Students reflect on the ways culture is differently interpreted by others, for example by identifying how stereotypes about deaf and hearing people influence perceptions.