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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 7 and 8

Years 7 and 8 Band Description

The nature of the learners

The transition to secondary schooling involves social and academic demands that coincide with a period of maturational and physical change. Learners are adjusting to a new school culture with sharper divisions between curriculum areas. There is a need for continuity through change in relation to their language learning. Students in this pathway are continuing to study Auslan, bringing with them a capability to communicate, with some assistance, about their immediate world and the Deaf community. They have experience in analysing the major features of the language system and in considering intercultural exchanges, including their role in these. However, learners at this level may find themselves in classes that include learners with a range of previous experience with Auslan and Deaf culture. A multilevel and differentiated approach to teaching and task design responds to this diversity of prior experience.

At this level, students bring a range of learning strategies to their language learning. They are increasingly aware of the world beyond their own and are engaging with broader issues of youth and society, land and environment, education and identity, while establishing a balance between increasing personal independence and social responsibilities. They are considering their future pathways and choices, including how Auslan might be part of these.

Auslan learning and use

Learners interact using Auslan in classroom routines and communicative tasks. They use Auslan to compare and contrast, sign instructions, problem-solve, make announcements, persuade, and recount experiences in increasing detail. They are able to express their feelings and emotions creatively in Auslan.

Contexts of interaction

The primary context for learning remains the Auslan class; however, there may be opportunities for interacting with deaf students from other schools and with other learners of Auslan, for example through technology and sister-school relationships. Learners may be exposed to Auslan signers from the Deaf community through visiting speakers, media and community events.

Texts and resources

Learners engage with a range of increasingly complex live and digital signed texts designed for learning Auslan in school. Authentic texts created for Deaf people, such as websites, provide extra opportunities to extend understanding of language and culture. Texts come from a range of domains or genres, such as community announcements, vlogs and stories, and serve a variety of purposes, such as informative, transactional, communicative, imaginative and expressive. The Deaf community is the most important resource for learning because it is the origin of most of the texts and communicative situations engaged with by learners.

Features of Auslan use

Learners are extending their grammatical knowledge, such as how language structures and features are used in texts. They are using more elaborate sentence structures, including conjoining clauses, and are increasingly making their texts cohesive by setting up and maintaining referents in signing space. Learners are exploring non-manual features (NMFs) and their relationship with clause types, and are beginning to use constructed action to represent multiple participants in a text. They are increasingly aware of connections between language and culture, comparing them to concepts in their own language and culture. They are learning to reflect on their own language and culture and on how identity impacts on intercultural experiences.

Level of support

Particular support is required at this stage of learning to manage the transition to secondary schooling and to encourage continued engagement with language learning. Opportunities to review and consolidate prior learning are balanced against provision of engaging and relevant new experiences and tasks that are more challenging. Learners require modelled language use and explicit instruction in grammatical knowledge, with comparison between English and Auslan. They need support in using dictionaries, particularly in determining base signs and choosing appropriate meanings for the context. Learners continue to access visual glossaries, charts and examples to support their receptive and productive language use. The teacher continues to provide implicit and explicit modelling and scaffolding in relation to meaningful language use in a range of contexts, and explicit instruction and explanation in relation to language structures, grammatical functions, vocabulary and abstract cultural concepts. Learners at this level are encouraged to self-monitor, for example, by keeping records of feedback and through peer support, and to self-review and adjust language in response to their experiences in different contexts.

The role of English

Auslan is used for classroom interaction, language learning tasks and experiences, and, with support, reflection on learning. Auslan may also be used for learning new content drawn from other learning areas. English is used for analysis, comparison and reflection in relation to abstract concepts and more substantive discussion. English may also be used to research cultural issues where a source text is not available in Auslan. Learners continue to develop a metalanguage for thinking and talking about language, culture, identity and about the experience of learning and using Auslan.


Years 7 and 8 Content Descriptions

Socialising

Interact appropriately with people in different contexts, sharing experiences, interests and opinions about current events or school and community experience

[Key concepts: protocol, turn-taking, interaction; Key processes: socialising, comparing, turn-taking, clarifying] (ACLASFC181 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • using signs to agree or disagree on relevant topics, such as:

    AGREE YES HOMEWORK SHOULD
    Yes, I agree we should do homework.
    PRO1 KNOW WHAT MEAN, BUT….
    I know what you mean, but …
    PRO1 DOUBT
    I’m not sure.
    AGREE-NOT, PRO1 THINK…
    I don’t agree; I think …
  • participating in videoconferencing exchanges with deaf children or other Auslan students from another state to compare and contrast aspects of their school and learning experiences

  • contributing to online videoconferencing with other Auslan users to compare and contrast aspects of their school and learning experiences

  • using appropriate NMFs when turn-taking, for example:

    HOLD
    Hold that thought.
    QUICK INTERRUPT
    Can I just interrupt you quickly?
    WAIT….COME
    Can you just wait a moment … Right, what did you want?
  • clarifying meaning, for example by using fingerspelling to explain unfamiliar vocabulary, as in, PRO2 MEAN [fingerspell word]?

  • using appropriate protocols to join or leave conversations, for example, waiting for eye gaze or for the signer to finish and not asking for a full recount

  • engaging with deaf visitors from different groups and backgrounds and creating a vlog about the visits

Engage in different processes of collaborative learning, including planning, problem-solving, task completion and evaluation

[Key concepts: design, communication, reflection; Key processes: collaborating, designing, creating, presenting, problem-solving, reflecting] (ACLASFC182 - Scootle )

  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • working in pairs or small groups to design and create visual resources that promote Auslan as an important area of study

  • brainstorming, planning and working together to advertise and present an intercultural event for their year-level peers

  • working collaboratively to create instructional or procedural texts for younger learners

  • preparing for the visit of a member of the Deaf community, discussing how to ensure effective communication between the visitor and deaf and hearing members of the class

  • providing feedback on completed events or activities, exchanging reflections such as:

    FIRST PRO1 DOUBT I-F WILL GO-WELL, HAVE-A-LOOK GO-ALONG GOOD
    At the start, I wasn’t sure it would work, but after a while I thought it went well.
    PRO1 WRONG NEVER AGAIN DO SAME
    I won’t do that ever again.
  • problem-solving around collaborative activities such as website design, science experiments or model-building, using wh- questions such as:

    WHY FAIL WHY?
    Why isn’t it working?
    WHO THINK CAN FIX?
    Who thinks they can fix it?
    FINISH, NEXT WHAT?
    What do we do next after we finish this?
  • giving directions for outdoor activities such as an obstacle course or bushwalk, including expressions such as:

    HAVE DS:round-oval FIRST RUN DS:draw-line THEN STOP. NEXT CLIMB DS:climb-over DS:land-on-feet THEN CRAWL DS:crawl-under-flat-thing
    There’s a big oval. First you will run along one side of it. Then stop at the wall. Next you will climb over the wall then crawl under the net.
Participate in extended interactions by explaining and clarifying answers, responding to others’ contributions, asking follow-up questions and observing protocols in and beyond the classroom

[Key concepts: interaction, signing space, discussion, context, environment, protocols; Key processes: responding, commenting, adjusting, contextualising] (ACLASFC183 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • contributing to discussion and debate by expressing opinions, responding to others’ perspectives and using reflective language, such as:

    NEVER THOUGHT YEAH-RIGHT
    Oh yeah, I hadn’t thought of that before.
  • responding to signed class and school announcements with more elaborated responses, for example:

    YES I CAN COME-TO-YOU HELP BUT CAN-NOT THURS
    Yes, I can help you with that, but not on Thursday.
  • commenting on information provided by others to indicate or to clarify understanding, for example:

    NOD INTERESTING
    Mmm, interesting.
    TRUE WHAT ABOUT…?
    True, but what about …?
  • extending discussion or debate by asking follow-up questions, clarifying their own contributions or suggesting relevant comparisons

  • organising standing or seated positions and ‘signing space’ when talking to one or more people, and adjusting the physical environment to be well-lit and without glare to enable effective communication

  • adjusting styles of communication according to situation, for example, getting someone’s attention for a non-urgent matter versus an emergency situation

  • investigating appropriate ways to join or take leave of a group interacting in Auslan and following appropriate protocols in interpreting situations outside the classroom, for example in the playground

  • sharing responsibility for providing information and context for a new participant joining a conversation

Informing

Collate and analyse information accessed through a variety of signed texts to present an overview or develop a position on issues or interests

[Key concepts: perspective, representation; Key processes: collating, analysing, researching, interviewing, evaluating, surveying] (ACLASFC184 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • viewing signed texts such as media reports on activities such as deaf sports, and providing an overview of different perspectives

  • researching signed texts such as magazine features, interviews or web posts to select information needed to prepare a signed presentation on a particular event or person

  • interviewing a member of the Deaf community about a historical or cultural event and using information provided to create and present a signed review

  • evaluating information obtained from signed media reports, posters, websites and brochures that involve different representations of deafness

  • surveying friends and family members about views on learning Auslan, analysing findings in terms of variations in understanding and attitudes

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

Present information on different events or experiences to inform, report, promote, instruct or invite action

[Key concepts: action, experience; Key processes: instructing, reporting, persuading, inviting] (ACLASFC185 - Scootle )

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

  • reporting on their own and others’ experiences of shared events, such as school camps, holidays or concerts

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

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

  • 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

Creating

Interpret different types of texts that involve the expression of feelings or experiences and the representation of imagined people, places and scenarios, sharing and comparing their responses to different elements

[Key concepts: expression, manner, metaphorical iconicity; Key processes: comparing, evaluating, describing, exploring, profiling] (ACLASFC186 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • viewing and responding to sign poetry from around the world, for example by comparing differences and similarities in ‘visual vernacular’

  • recognising how a character’s feelings and attitudes are expressed through NMFs and manner

  • evaluating Deaf performances or art forms that use technology such as camera and lighting techniques to expressive effect, for example performances by Ian Sanborn

  • describing and comparing responses to the use of colour and images by deaf artists such as Juan Fernández Navarrete or Nancy Rourke

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

  • exploring how cultural values and the expression of identity are reflected in different forms of artistic expression, such as poetry performances by Walter Kadiki or John Wilson’s ‘Home’

  • comparing visual elements of signed media texts with those of equivalent texts produced for a hearing audience, for example, the teen drama Switched at Birth with teen dramas from BSL Zone

  • exploring the concept of metaphorical iconicity used in poems and narratives, for example by shadowing selected elements

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

Create and present entertaining individual or collaborative texts that reflect real or imagined people, places or experiences

[Key concepts: improvisation, diorama, role-play, theme; Key processes: creating, improvising, collaborating, re-creating, role-playing] (ACLASFC187 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • creating a performance for a class or school talent show, such as a signed song, skit or humorous retelling of an anecdote

  • participating in improvisation games, such as spontaneous responses to a stimulus, for example, Sixty seconds to make the audience laugh, cry …

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

  • playing with light and shadow as a means of highlighting handshapes and movement, for example in shadow puppet performances

  • re-creating a theatre set from a two-dimensional image using signed space

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

  • creating a handshape poem on a selected theme, such as friendship, home or fear

Translating

Translate and interpret less familiar short texts and compare their translations to those of their classmates, considering why there might be differences in interpretation and how language reflects elements of culture and experience

[Key concepts: equivalence, meaning, interpretation, culture, ethics; Key processes: translating, interpreting, comparing, paraphrasing, summarising] (ACLASFC188 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • interpreting Auslan phrases and expressions that do not translate literally, identifying similar English expressions and considering possible consequences of lack of equivalence in terms of intercultural communication

  • translating simple filmed texts in Auslan into written English captions

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

  • translating an Auslan version of a well-known text, such as a song or story, considering why some words or expressions require freer translation than others to achieve equivalence

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

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

  • discussing the fact that some words and expressions cannot be translated and are used in their original form in other languages, and considering the impact of such word or sign borrowing on the style and effect of communication

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

Create bilingual texts to use in the wider school community, identifying words/signs or expressions that carry specific cultural meaning in either language

[Key concepts: equivalence, bilingualism; Key processes: captioning, creating] (ACLASFC189 - Scootle )

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

  • captioning examples of classmates’ work in Auslan, such as short stories or poems

  • creating translations of song lyrics for performance in Auslan

  • making a short documentary in Auslan about a topical issue, moving through the processes of drafting, translating, editing and captioning, trialling alternative captioning tools

  • captioning and providing voice-over for student-generated filmed Auslan texts, such as fairytales created for a young deaf audience

  • creating bilingual versions of short, simple texts such as instructions for a game or procedures for a recipe

Identity

Consider their own and each other’s cultural experiences and ways of expressing identity and reflect on the role of Auslan in building and expressing identity for Deaf people

[Key concepts: identity, perspective, belonging, wellbeing; Key processes: reflecting, comparing, describing, discussing, investigating, analysing] (ACLASFC190 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • exploring how their own biography shapes their sense of identity and ways of communicating, for example by considering elements such as family origins, traditions, beliefs, practices, interests and experiences

  • noticing and comparing how they use signs or expressions when communicating in English or Auslan and considering which feel closest to their sense of identity

  • comparing and reflecting on how identity is expressed across cultures and languages, for example by considering the idea of ‘belonging’ as expressed in different languages and cultures

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

  • discussing the impact of language and culture on the shaping of identity and the 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 their intercultural interactions and experiences, for example by considering their responses when engaging with Auslan users or digital resources, and on how these responses reflect their own languages and cultures

[Key concepts: intercultural experience, ways of knowing and being, discrimination; Key processes: comparing, analysing, explaining, reflecting, exploring] (ACLASFC191 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • reflecting on their interactions in Auslan and with Deaf culture, for example, through face-to-face or online interactions with other Auslan learners or deaf people, visits to Deaf community places and events or interactions with visitors to the school, analysing these experiences in terms of their previous or existing perceptions, understandings or attitudes

  • analysing cultural assumptions they made prior to learning Auslan and considering if these have changed through the experience of learning the language and interacting with deaf people

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

  • reflecting on the concepts of insider and outsider views of the Deaf community and on their own position as second language learners of Auslan

  • reflecting and reporting on how learning Auslan provides general insights into the nature of language and culture and on how their assumptions about deaf people and ways of reading the world are changing as a result of intercultural language learning

  • reflecting on general social attitudes and responses to differences in behaviours or communicative styles, such as those that characterise communication in Auslan

  • reflecting on their identity as ‘second language learners’ and considering whether the experience of learning an additional language/culture impacts on their aspirations, career considerations or social-networking opportunities

  • reflecting on how their own ways of communicating may be interpreted when interacting with deaf people, and on the need to modify elements of their behaviour, for example in relation to the use of eye contact, facial expression or body language

Systems of language

Identify different types of non-manual features and characteristics of signs, including iconicity, and explore the use of software to transcribe and annotate signed texts

[Key concepts: iconicity, annotation, transcription; Key processes: identifying, classifying, glossing, annotating, transcribing] (ACLASFU192 - 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, and describing their function

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

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

  • recognising that signed languages involve more iconicity because they are visual not auditory, with most referents having visual features

  • identify and classify examples of spatial modifications of nouns and verbs in a video text using video annotation software, for example, ELAN

  • ‘reading’ and transcribing glossed texts, including interpreting the markings that show how a sign is modified in space, NMFs, DSs and examples of CA

Develop knowledge of additional elements of the Auslan grammatical system, analysing indicating verbs, depicting signs and constructed action

[Key concepts: grammatical use of space, depicting signs; Key processes: understanding, distinguishing, analysing] (ACLASFU193 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • noticing that meaning is created in Auslan from fully-lexical signs, partly-lexical signs and non-lexical CA and gesture

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

  • recognising that nouns can be pluralised by locating them repeatedly regardless of their original location

  • distinguishing between directional and locational indicating verbs

  • recognising that handshape and movement represent different things in each type of DS, for example:

    • entity DSs: the handshape is an object or person, and the movement is the movement or location of that object or person
    • handling DSs: the handshape represents a person’s hands touching or moving another object, and the movement shows how the hands move
    • SASS DSs: the handshape and movement outline the shape or size of something
  • observing instances of CA in a text and discussing how it was marked

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

[Key concepts: clause types and their NMFs, composite utterances; Key processes: recognising, analysing] (ACLASFU194 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising the nature and function of word classes and understanding that the context of the sign is important and Auslan signs will not always have the same word class as an English word, for example, adjectives can act like verbs in Auslan

  • recognising that signers may include linguistic and gestural elements in a clause, that is, signers can tell, show or do both simultaneously

  • noticing, with support, when signers are using composite utterances, that is, those that have elements of CA, DSs, points and fully-lexical signs in the same utterance

  • understanding the different functions of a range of NMFs, such as those used for questions, topicalisation, negation or conditional forms

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

  • recognising that clauses can be joined by conjunctions to make longer sentences and these conjunctions can be shown with separate signs, such as PLUS, or THEN or NMFs, for example by pausing between clauses

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

Expand understanding of grammatical features and cohesive devices used in a range of personal, informative and imaginative texts designed to suit different audiences, contexts and purposes

[Key concepts: text purpose, choice, coherence; Key processes: identifying, applying, analysing] (ACLASFU195 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • noticing that differing purposes in text creation result in differing types and amounts of signing, for example, the amount of fingerspelling used in a public lecture compared to in a private conversation

  • identifying linguistic structures and features typically associated with texts such as casual conversations, for example the use of back-channels or hesitations

  • applying knowledge of the choices a signer can make in texts, for example by comparing two signers’ texts about the same topic and evaluating the different choices they have made in terms of enacting through DSs or CA

  • analysing the effect of a signer’s use of pausing in a description or information report

  • noticing how signers construct cohesive and coherent texts through the use of text connectives such as BUT and G:WELL to create links between clauses

Language variation and change

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

[Key concepts: change, evolution, contact, technology; Key processes: identifying, recognising, researching] (ACLASFU196 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • researching how BSL from the 1800s evolved into Auslan, NZSL and modern BSL, for example by finding and classifying examples from Auslan, NZSL and BSL signbanks

  • understanding that while the structure of individual signs can change over time in regular ways, there is little information about this process in signed languages due to lack of historic records of signing

  • 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/FS:HOH, DEAF^WORLD/DEAF^COMMUNITY, HUMAM^RIGHT

  • 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, FS:PC, SELFIE

Language awareness

Understand historical and contemporary factors that impact on awareness, support and use of Auslan and its vitality in contemporary Australia, comparing it with that of other signed languages around the world

[Key concepts: influence, transmission evolution, endangerment; Key processes: researching, investigating, exploring, describing, analysing, comparing] (ACLASFU197 - Scootle )

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

  • analysing the impact of migration and settlement of deaf people from the UK and other countries in Australia, 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

  • considering the contemporary influences and pressures on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander signed languages and how these may affect their vitality

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

  • exploring the history and acceptance of signed languages and Deaf community and culture around the world, for example by creating a timeline or a research poster

  • exploring multilingualism in the Deaf community, including the use of Auslan, English and other signed and spoken languages such as Irish-Australian sign language, and how and when users typically switch between languages and dialects

  • investigating the use and impact of generic digital technology and specific forms of communication by Auslan users, for example, video chat, social media, SMS/texting, and NRS and VRS

  • reflecting on the role of Auslan interpreters in raising awareness and understanding of Auslan in the wider community and in influencing the function and nature of Auslan, for example by the introduction of new signs for temporary use in certain contexts

  • exploring the role of deafblind people in the Deaf community

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

  • considering ways that Auslan is evolving due to influences such as globalisation and the capacity for new technology to store, record and share sign languages internationally

  • comparing levels of endangerment of different sign languages, such as NZSL, village sign languages, ASL, Scandinavian, South American sign languages and Auslan, for example by using UNESCO data by reviewing the iSLanDS survey findings

  • understanding the challenges faced by Auslan and other signed languages due to intergenerational disjunction in language transmission

  • investigating how new or specialised language associated with domains such as technology, engineering, cooking or fashion are used but not documented in the Deaf community, and how such language impacts on language vitality

  • identifying contexts and circumstances that support increased usage and acceptance of newly coined Auslan terms, for example, a workplace with several deaf employees

  • recognising reasons for the shared sense of identity of sign language users and the notion of reciprocity in the Deaf community

  • researching the role of the World Federation of the Deaf in mapping and monitoring the vitality of sign languages around the world and in protecting sign language diversity

  • analysing ways in which Deaf people design and adapt spaces in cultural ways (‘Deaf space’) in order to use a visual language, for example, by eliminating visual obstacles to signed communication; using circles or semicircles for meeting and learning spaces; and using open-plan areas, lighting and window placement to maximise visual access to information, with reference to Gallaudet University’s Deaf space design principles

Role of language and culture

Reflect on how language use is influenced by communities’ world views and sense of identity and on how language and culture influence each other

[Key concepts: culture, knowledge, value, transmission; Key processes: explaining, reflecting, exploring, analysing, comparing] (ACLASFU198 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • exploring the nature of culture and how it is related to ways of thinking and using language, for example by comparing the cultural concept of Deaf identity with a medical model of deafness

  • reflecting on ways that Auslan describes and reflects Deaf culture, comparing this to the relationship between their own hearing/background language and culture

  • analysing how concepts related to cultural practices are expressed through language, for example, by identifying elements of naming systems such as the use of pointing, NMFs and name signs, as in the case of number name signs of older deaf people who attended the Victorian School for Deaf Children

  • identifying and discussing core cultural concepts reflected in Auslan, such as the collective nature of the Deaf community, the importance of respect for elders and of reciprocity and responsibility, for example, how signing TAP-2h++ reflects the shared understanding of responsibility to share information and pass on knowledge, or greater use of the ‘flat hand’ rather than the ‘point hand’ and use of full titles in acknowledgements and forms of address when introducing an esteemed elder

  • identifying culturally significant attitudes and beliefs conveyed through Auslan that relate to history, significant individuals, places or events, for example, frustration with the use of ‘voice’ in front of deaf signers can be traced to the historical oppression of signed languages

  • comparing elements of communication in different contexts and exchanges that are culturally specific, such as back-channelling, the use of silence or eye contact, head nodding to indicate understanding rather than agreement, and the implications of such cultural variability in contexts such as in courts of law

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

  • exploring ways in which production and affect related to the sign for COCHLEAR IMPLANT have evolved due to shifting values and perceptions within the Deaf community in relation to the implant, noting, for example, the transition from a negative affect to more neutral production of the sign


Years 7 and 8 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 8, students use Auslan to interact and to exchange information, experiences, interests and opinions with teachers, peers and others. They initiate and maintain conversations and use strategies such as fingerspelling to replace unknown signs to support continued interaction, such as PRO2 MEAN [FINGERSPELL]? They engage in different processes of collaborative learning, including planning, negotiating, and problem-solving, using familiar and some spontaneous language, for example PRO1 AGREE-NOT, PRO1 THINK DIFFERENT. Students participate in class discussions, explaining and clarifying positions, asking follow-up questions, using non-manual features (NMFs) for topicalisation or negation. They use appropriate protocols to join or leave conversations, for example, waiting for eye gaze or for the signer to finish, not asking for a full recount when arriving mid-conversation, and providing context for a new participant joining a conversation. Students locate, interpret and analyse information from a variety of texts, such as signed announcements, interviews or media reports, using context and familiar language to work out unfamiliar meaning. They demonstrate understanding of different types of signed texts 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 expressive art forms, describing and comparing their responses. They plan, draft and present informative and imaginative texts, linking and sequencing ideas using connectives, such as BUT, WHEN or WELL, and strategies such as repetition, stress and pausing for emphasis. They create bilingual texts to use in the wider school community, for example by captioning short stories, poems or interviews with members of the Deaf community. Students reflect on how their own ways of communicating may be interpreted when interacting with deaf people; and they modify elements of their behaviour such as eye contact, facial expression or body language as appropriate.

Students identify and describe the different types of NMFs, and understand their function and how they interact with clause type. They identify iconic signs and discuss how these match their referents, such as COMPUTER-MOUSE. They understand how handshape and movement represent different things in each type of depicting sign (DS). They identify and categorise instances of signers using spatial modifications to signs and know that signs can be iconic in a number of ways. They analyse clauses to see where signers create composite utterances with elements of constructed action (CA), DSs, points and fully-lexical signs in the same utterance. They recognise that Auslan is constantly evolving and changing, for example, by identifying changes to Auslan that reflect changes in social relationships, community attitudes and changing technology. They understand that the most unifying factor of the Deaf community is the use of Auslan. Students reflect on how all ways of language use are influenced by communities’ world views and identities, for example by comparing the cultural concept of Deaf identity with the medical model of deafness.