Auslan (Version 8.4)

Please select at least one combination of Pathway and Sequence to view the content
Please select at least one year level to view the content
Please select at least one Strand to view the content


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



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

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



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

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


Learning Auslan

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


Learner diversity and learner pathways

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


Developing teaching and learning

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


PDF documents

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




Years F–10 Sequence

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

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

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

Years 7–10 (Year 7 Entry) Sequence

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

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

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

Years 9 and 10

Years 9 and 10 Band Description

The nature of the learners

This stage of learning coincides with social, physical and cognitive changes associated with adolescence. Increased cognitive maturity enables learners to work more deductively with language and culture systems, to apply more intentional learning strategies and to reflect productively on their learning. Motivation and engagement with language learning and use are influenced by peer-group dynamics, personal interests and values, and issues related to self-concept. The role of language is central to this process and is reflected in the degree to which learners define themselves as members of language communities, how they position themselves in relation to peer groups, and choices they make in relation to linguistic and social practices. These processes are fluid and context-responsive and impact on learners’ engagement with Auslan and English language learning. Learners at this level are increasingly aware of the world beyond their own and are engaging with youth, social and environmental issues. They are considering their future pathways and choices, including how Auslan could be part of these. They require guidance in their learning, but are increasingly autonomous and capable of independent reflection and analysis, including of their intercultural experience of learning Auslan.

Auslan learning and use

Learners engage with a range of texts in Auslan. They participate individually and in groups in tasks and learning experiences, such as explaining or justifying positions, elaborating opinions, and giving and receiving multistep instructions. They create signed narratives and summarise and critically examine viewed texts. They participate in presentations, conversations, narration and interviews, sometimes with preparation and sometimes spontaneously. Learners acquire skills in analysing and translating increasingly complex texts.

Contexts of interaction

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

Texts and resources

Learners use a wide range of texts designed for language learning, such as teacher-generated materials and online resources, and their learning is enriched by exposure to a range of authentic texts from the Deaf community, such as websites, films or stories.

Features of Auslan use

Learners extend their grammatical knowledge and metalanguage while beginning to explore more nuanced features of Auslan. They use strategies to initiate and sustain conversations, using more elaborate sentence structures such as embedding clauses. They can identify and describe some metaphorical iconicity. They can create more detailed narratives with appropriate use of non-manual features (NMFs) to express characters and perspectives, understanding and using both character and observer space. They consider connections between language and culture, and make comparisons with their own language and culture. They consider language variation, for example through exposure to other dialects in the BANZSL family.

Level of support

While learners are increasingly autonomous during communicative interactions, continued support such as provision of rich language input and modelled language is needed to consolidate and sustain language development. The teacher provides implicit and explicit modelling and scaffolding in relation to meaningful language use in a range of contexts, situations and learning experiences, and explicit instruction and explanation in relation to complex structures, grammatical functions and abstract concepts and vocabulary. Provision of opportunities to discuss, clarify, rehearse and apply their knowledge is critical in consolidating knowledge and skills and developing autonomy. Learners are encouraged to self-monitor, for example, by keeping records of feedback, through peer support and self-review. They are increasingly aware of and responsible for their own learning, working independently to address their needs, for example by accessing technologies to memorise, learn and expand their language repertoire. They continue to access Signbank and use graphic organisers, modelled texts, dictionaries and teacher feedback to interpret and create texts. They keep records of their learning, for example through creating video journals or folios, using these to record and reflect on their language learning and intercultural experiences.

The role of English

Learners and teachers use Auslan as the primary medium of interaction in language-oriented and an increasing amount of content-oriented learning experiences. English provides a basis for linguistic and cultural comparison. English is also the medium used for expressing experiences, abstract ideas and personal views at a level beyond learners’ Auslan capabilities, such as justifying a position on a social issue or exploring linguistic and cultural practices. English may be used with Auslan to conduct research projects, such as investigating social issues or cultural practices, when source materials in Auslan are unavailable. It is also used in translating, and in bilingual communication. Learners are supported to reflect on the different roles English and Auslan play in their academic work and in their conceptual development.

Years 9 and 10 Content Descriptions


Interact with peers at school and contacts in the wider community to build relationships, engage in debate and to discuss aspirations or social issues

[Key concepts: discussion, relationship, aspiration, convention; Key processes: discussing, explaining, justifying, elaborating, contextualising] (ACLASFC199 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • explaining or justifying positions in discussion or debate, for example, by using space and NMFs to contrast views

  • elaborating on opinions in relation to social, community or educational matters, for example, exchanging views on a newspaper article about eugenics and deaf people

  • using researched information to contribute to formal group interactions, for example, panel discussions on issues such as the roles and responsibilities of interpreters

  • creating hypothetical situations to contextualise a discussion or debate, for example:

    Pretend that you’re deaf …
    What would you change if you were boss?
  • communicating via video calls or social media platforms using Auslan in different online contexts to build relationships and share views

  • using strategies to initiate and support discussion, for example by providing the context of a conversation to a new participant:

    PRO3 SAY…
    She was saying that …
  • demonstrating awareness of social sensitivities or conventions, for example by using euphemistic signs or allusions, such as TOILET, BIRTH

  • using complex sentence structures to discuss current affairs or to justify a position in relation to issues of interest to their group, for example, gender equity, conservation or social media
Engage in activities that involve interactions, transactions, negotiations and management of different opinions and social/cultural behaviours

[Key concepts: perspective, culture, diversity, identity, action, transaction; Key processes: making choices, negotiating, planning, promoting, transacting] (ACLASFC200 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • managing shared learning experiences that involve differences in opinion or cultural perspectives
  • navigating multistep directions and decisions in learning activities that offer alternatives or choices, such as computer programming or theatre production
  • negotiating hypothetical scenarios involving members of the Deaf community to highlight issues associated with diversity, culture and identity, for example, experience in domains such as education or sport
  • planning and promoting cultural events such as Deaf festivals or the National Week of Deaf People
  • planning action on an issue affecting the Deaf community, such as captioning and funding support for Deaf organisations
  • organising real or simulated transactions that involve financial or service exchanges, for example, catering for a class celebration or ordering books/digital resources for the school library
Interact with peers and others in and out of the classroom through reflection, discussion and participation in shared experiences

[Key concepts: ideas, action, effect, discussion, culture; Key processes: making connections, reflecting, elaborating] (ACLASFC201 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • making connections between ideas, actions and effects, using reflective language such as:

    Sometimes things happen because you think they will, so it comes true.
    The car crashed because he was texting.
  • extending their repertoire of sign vocabulary through independent use of social media and digital resources to support more extended discussion
  • demonstrating culturally appropriate behaviours such as nominating themselves as interpreters in role-play interactions between deaf and hearing friends
  • demonstrating culturally appropriate behaviours when engaging with unfamiliar members of the Deaf community, for example, waiting to be introduced to new people, knowing how to introduce themselves as L2 Auslan learners
  • identifying and comparing learning strategies that support their Auslan learning experience


Investigate, synthesise and evaluate information from a range of perspectives and signed sources, identifying how culture and context affect how information is presented

[Key concepts: perspective, culture, context, debate; Key processes: investigating, synthesising, evaluating, summarising] (ACLASFC202 - Scootle )

  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • summarising key ideas/information provided by a guest speaker and identifying how context and culture shape opinions and perspectives
  • reviewing signed texts about a social or cultural issue of relevance to their peer group, and creating questions to prompt evaluative responses from their peers
  • finding information from a variety of signed sources to inform class discussions on issues of current debate within the Deaf community, such as the medical versus cultural view of deafness
  • researching and comparing signed information about significant movements associated with deaf rights across different times and contexts, such as the Milan Congress and Deaf President Now
  • identifying excerpts of signed documentaries or signed interviews or speeches that demonstrate how culture and context affect the presentation of information
  • critically analysing information contained in different signed texts produced by or about the Deaf community, identifying examples of bias and distinguishing between fact and opinion
  • researching information related to topical events or issues that affect the Deaf community, for example the provision of captions across different media
Contribute to presentations, reports, reviews, discussions and debates that focus on selected social and cultural issues

[Key concepts: social and cultural issues, influence; Key processes: creating, persuading, explaining, contributing] (ACLASFC203 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • working in groups to create multimedia texts that invite consideration of social or cultural questions, such as the medical versus cultural view of deafness
  • creating persuasive texts such as vlogs or advertisements to convince others of the value and relevance of learning Auslan
  • creating a video report of a significant event in Deaf history, such as the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to contribute to an e-book resource for other learners of Auslan
  • providing appropriate explanations for a younger audience of concepts associated with other curriculum areas, such as global warming or social justice
  • contributing to discussions that consider critically different perspectives on selected issues, for example, differences in views on Deaf education or the influence of social media on their lives
  • creating and presenting explanations about simple biological or mechanical phenomena or processes, such as how the ear, hearing aids and cochlear implants work
  • presenting a critical review of media representation, for example by analysing media profiles of respected/high-profile members of the Deaf community
  • presenting a summary of information on a selected topic, for example, by interpreting graphs and statistics relating to the Deaf community, discussing findings and making predictions about future changes or patterns


Respond to different types of imaginative and creative texts that invite consideration of values, themes and ideas and involve different modes of expression

[Key concepts: Deaf experience, expression, cultural values, effect, emotion; Key processes: analysing, evaluating, profiling] (ACLASFC204 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • responding to forms of Deaf art that challenge perceptions and stimulate discussion, such as the work of Christine Sun Kim or members of the Australian Theatre of the Deaf
  • searching the internet for examples of work by Deaf dancers, musicians or performers of physical theatre that they find particularly effective or moving, for example, performances by Bernard Bragg, Evelyn Glennie or members of the Deaf Arts Network
  • comparing responses to creative texts that present personal or controversial points of view in powerful ways, for example, Deaf slam poetry
  • exploring the use of technology in Deaf art, film or performance, for example to help build mood or emotional expression
  • responding to signed poems that use extended metaphor to communicate values and ideas or to express emotional experience, for example, ‘Butterfly Hands’ by Walter Kadiki
  • reflecting on reactions of hearing audiences to deaf performances, for example by evaluating comments made by judges on reality/talent television shows
  • discussing the complexity of live theatre performance interpretation and the use of deaf interpreters and consultants
  • responding to animations created by or about deaf people and discussing the effectiveness of conveying all parameters of signing, for example, The Long Knife, or Gallaudet: The Film by Braam Jordaan
Creating a variety of imaginative and expressive texts that draw from elements of their own life experience or of their experience as Auslan learners

[Key concepts: improvisation, stimulus, performance, humour, tension, interpretation; Key processes: improvising, performing, role-playing, creating, interpreting] (ACLASFC205 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • creating a piece of art such as a sculpture, collage or film clip that reflects their experience of moving between Deaf and hearing worlds
  • creating a website to showcase performances that incorporate elements such as comedy, satire or drama
  • creating a short film in Auslan using and explaining video techniques that are particularly appropriate for a Deaf audience
  • creating a signed interpretation of a wordless animation
  • selecting a signed narrative text that has an extended metaphor and reworking it to take the story in a different direction
  • creating a signed poem that reflects elements of their own emotional response to particular personal experience


Consider the dynamic nature of translating and interpreting and the role of culture when transferring meaning from one language to another

[Key concepts: equivalence, representation, meaning, interpretation, ethics, culture; Key processes: translating, interpreting, comparing, explaining, analysing] (ACLASFC206 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • experimenting with literal Auslan translations of popular English idioms, noticing when this creates confusion (for example, ‘raining cats and dogs’) and recognising the nature and function of cultural elements of communication and their impact on language use
  • comparing different translations of online Auslan and English public announcements or government policy/information texts in terms of approaches to translation, for example, free versus literal translation
  • using different resources, including online dictionaries and footage, to assist in translation, for example by comparing individual translations, back-translations and reviewing useful references
  • viewing and discussing the quality of online Auslan translations, such as the Catching Fire series of safety videos
  • recognising the need to sometimes recast language, and considering why one language may use more words/signs than another to communicate a particular meaning or concept, for example, Auslan uses spatial concepts or depicting signs to describe the scene of a car crash, which will take longer to explicate in a linear spoken language
  • translating small chunks of unfamiliar English text such as a news update from an autocue or poster card into Auslan in consecutive mode
  • providing annotated examples of translations of poems or other text types, identifying challenges involved in transferring meaning, expression, culture or mood
  • translating songs, poems or short stories from English into Auslan, for example, ‘I Am Australian’
  • exploring the role and function of Deaf interpreters and differences between Deaf interpreters and Auslan–English interpreters
  • researching aspects of available interpreting services in the area, for example, qualifications required for employment, ethical considerations, and issues of interpreting and translating in specialised contexts such as health, education, legal settings
  • developing guidelines on culturally appropriate and ethical behaviour when interpreting and translating, for example explaining ways people should act in interpreting contexts, considering potential consequences of inaccurate interpreting
  • role-playing interpreting in a range of contexts, for example, in a shop or at a sports match
  • participating in an excursion to an interpreted theatre event, with prior knowledge of the text/story and attending to the interpretation for discussion later in class
Create glossaries and classifications in English to interpret cultural aspects of Auslan texts

[Key concepts: bilingualism, interpretation; Key processes: recording, creating, captioning] (ACLASFC207 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • collecting and explaining to non-Auslan users expressions and culturally specific terms encountered in Auslan texts, for example, ‘hearing’, ‘residential school’
  • creating collaborative translations of Auslan texts in spoken English or captions of selected signed texts and vice versa
  • collecting and recording various Auslan phrases and expressions used by native Deaf signers, attaching English captions with appropriate translations, for example, pah! = finally, talk = communicate in speech or Auslan, chat = talk in Auslan
  • creating a bilingual virtual tour of the school for use on a school website
  • developing a signed and captioned film presentation about the role of interpreters in school


Recognise the complex and multifaceted nature of identity and how exploration of cultural identity in relation to a different language can provide insights and different perspectives to a first culture and language

[Key concepts: identity, gender, culture, perspective, difference, representation; Key processes: analysing, reflecting, viewing, evaluating, comparing, describing, discussing, creating] (ACLASFC208 - Scootle )

  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • using photographs or digital images to create stories using elements of identity such as gender, ethnicity, social justice, disability or difference
  • reflecting on a range of filmed texts to identify examples of inclusive or exclusionary language that might impact on a person’s sense of identity, for example, the representation of deaf teenagers in the TV program Switched at Birth or the documentaries Welcome 2 My Deaf World or Deaf Teens: Hearing World, comparing these representations to their own experiences as teenagers
  • viewing and evaluating documentaries such as Audism Unveiled or commentaries by well-known members of the Deaf community on their sense of identity development in relation to growing up deaf, considering the impact of additional factors in individual stories, such as gender or race
  • creating vlogs or filmed texts to explore aspects of Deaf/hearing identity and to encourage consideration of common views among hearing communities on Auslan and the Deaf community and to reflect on what it means to be deaf, hard of hearing or hearing
  • viewing signed news and other media texts, such as episodes of See Hear or SignPost, to identify examples of discrimination, oppression or rejection experienced by deaf people, and considering how these may shape identity or affect societal perceptions of the Deaf community
  • surveying deaf people about their perspectives on the significance of Deaf places that contribute to a shared sense of identity, for example, the Deaf Club, Deaf schools or sites of historic significance such as original Deaf Society/Mission buildings or other former meeting places
  • making comparisons between different international Deaf communities in relation to perceptions/representations of Deaf identity and changing values of place and space, for example, the loss of Deaf clubs or closure of deaf schools, considering the implications of such changes on the development of Deaf identity
  • analysing notions of ‘Deaf gain’, Deafhood and audism, and sharing their response to these concepts as second language learners of Auslan


Reflect on the experience of learning and using Auslan, considering how intercultural communication involves shared responsibility for making meaning

[Key concepts: intercultural communication, perspective, insight, self-reflection, making meaning, discrimination, audism; Key processes: comparing, analysing, explaining, reflecting] (ACLASFC209 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • reflecting on how learning Auslan provides a distinctive and additional means of understanding the world in which they live

  • reflecting on the relationship that exists between language, culture and issues of access, identity and audism, and considering issues of discrimination, inclusion and exclusion

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

  • considering the layers of complexity and depth that characterise the Deaf community experience, for example in relation to implicit hierarchical structures such as deaf members of deaf families

  • sharing and comparing cultural and intercultural experiences and capabilities in different languages including Auslan, and exchanging views on benefits associated with using more than one language, such as a larger repertoire of communication skills and strategies, additional insights and perspectives and opportunities for new experiences

  • reflecting on the experience of communicating in a visual world and on challenges they have experienced in relying on visual cues

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

Systems of language

Understand the perceptual and articulatory reasons for the structure of signs, consider limitations of glossing and explore how video annotation software can improve transcription

[Key concepts: iconicity, metaphor, annotation; Key processes: noticing, recognising, distinguishing, glossing, transcribing, annotating, analysing] (ACLASFU210 - Scootle )

  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • noticing limitations on perception of signed languages, such as the more limited space for signed communication compared to space for mime

  • exploring perceptual and articulatory reasons why some handshapes are more common than others

  • understanding that the elements of a sign can be arbitrary (for example, the handshape or movement of the sign WHY) or meaningful, such as the movement and the handshape in the sign GIVE

  • beginning to identify and describe metaphorical iconicity, for example, LOVE, AVOID/RESIST, and discussing how it relates to metaphors in English, for example the ‘time as space’ metaphor in both languages

  • applying knowledge of iconicity in signed languages, for example how the path movement of a verb can be a metaphor for the timing of an action, for example PRO1 WAIT-for-a-long-time PRO2, observing that English can do the same with changes to the length of phonemes, for example, I screeeeeeaaaaaamed!

  • evaluating video annotation software such as ELAN as a tool to assist in the transcription and analysis of signed languages

  • glossing a text, including identifying which signs are used, and transcribing DSs and periods of CA

Understand and use signing space, including making distinctions between character and observer space for constructing different types of texts

[Key concepts: character and observer space, depicting signs, constructed action; Key processes: contrasting, analysing] (ACLASFU211 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising that signers can set up referents in the signing space as if they are part of that space (character space, for example, using a bC handshape (use of non-dominant hand) to indicate putting a glass on a table) or as if they are outside it (observer, for example, using 5claw in two locations to represent two houses)

  • appreciating the possible production of reciprocal forms of some indicating signs, such as LOOK, GIVE, INVITE

  • independently identifying instances of DSs and their type

  • analysing a video of a signed narrative and identifying where and how signers are using CA, for example by eye gaze change

Understand and describe complex grammatical structures combining depicting signs, constructed action and various clauses for a range of language functions, such as interaction, narration or description

[Key concepts: clause structure, clause conjunctions, reference; Key processes: applying, noticing] (ACLASFU212 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising signs that function as interjections or discourse markers

  • understanding the difference between definite and indefinite reference and how Auslan shows this distinction

  • noticing how to use modal verbs and NMFs to express possibility, obligation and ability (MIGHT, SHOULD)

  • recognising that conditional forms have a main and dependent clause and associated NMFs

  • identifying coordinated clauses showing causation and describing how it is shown, for example:

  • recognising how emphasis in sentences can be changed by reordering clauses or parts of clauses

  • recognising that the presence of CA or DSs affects how a clause is structured

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

[Key concepts: audience, choice, conventions, cohesion; Key process: analysing, identifying, explaining] (ACLASFU213 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • analysing specific types of text by identifying characteristic language features

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

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

  • noticing how grammatical choices can shade meaning, determine perspective and establish relationship, for example the effect of choosing to be more or less English-like

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

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

  • analysing the ways in which Auslan uses NMFs to link clauses and achieve textual cohesion

Language variation and change

Investigate and analyse the nature of and community attitudes to variation in the use of Auslan

[Key concepts: standardisation, contact, evolution, flexibility, variability; Key processes: recognising, investigating, researching, analysing, considering] (ACLASFU214 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • recognising that there is a greater degree of flexibility and variability in ‘oral’, face-to-face languages such as Auslan compared to spoken/written languages passed on from parents to children, for example, less standardisation and minimal ‘frozen texts’, and considering reasons for such differences

  • researching different aspects of variation in the use of Auslan, considering influences such as geographical location, social groupings, history, educational experience, age of learning, family background and contact with Signed English or other languages

  • debating the merits and disadvantages of creating a standard form of Auslan, for example the benefits of mutual comprehensibility versus the practical problems involved in who decides on the standard and how to get signers to comply

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

  • noticing ways people might adapt language according to situation of use, such as when signing to a large audience, the use of one hand or two, clarity of sign production, size of signing space, pace, NMFs, pauses and amount of fingerspelling

  • considering how Auslan has been influenced by the use of Signed English in education settings (especially from the 1970s to 1990s) and cultural attitudes towards Signed English

Language awareness

Investigate and compare the nature and status of Auslan and other signed languages, considering issues such as language and education policies, language rights, representation and processes of language preservation and language building

[Key concepts: policy, rights, representation, status, expansion; Key processes: researching, comparing, investigating, analysing, explaining] (ACLASFU215 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Ethical Understanding
  • identifying historical events, government policies and educational initiatives that have impacted on the status of Auslan and the identity of the Deaf community, such as ALLP, DDA, the mainstreaming of deaf students

  • researching the nature of International Sign, including its relationship to national signed languages and its use by deaf people

  • exploring how deaf people around the world build shared group identity, for example through gathering formally as national and international communities through activities such as Deaf film festivals, performing arts or sporting events such as Deaf Way, Australian Deaf Games, Deaflympics, and how these contribute to language building, language preservation and greater awareness of signed languages

  • analysing subjective measures of language vitality, such as societal attitudes towards Auslan or the perceived strength of the language identity group, and identifying challenges facing Auslan in terms of societal attitudes, provision of resources, access, education systems and social networks

  • analysing the status and use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander signed languages and comparing these to Auslan

  • appreciating the impact of the use of Auslan in settings such as education, health care and different workplace settings in terms of the evolution of the language and specialised terminology

  • analysing representations of deaf people and sign language in the Australian media and wider community, making comparisons with representations of other languages and cultures

  • exploring the role of the Deaf ecosystem in language and cultural maintenance

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

  • considering how processes of language building and evolution may expand existing Auslan linguistic and cultural resources in the Australian community

  • investigating programs and initiatives that maintain and strengthen Auslan use, such as school language programs; bilingual education and research programs; recording, archiving and documentation of the language; and the establishment of websites and databases

  • appreciating the importance of documenting and promoting Auslan in raising community awareness of the richness and value of signed languages

  • recognising that Auslan requires maintenance, development and documentation, considering historical and contemporary circumstances which have either contributed to or impeded these processes, for example the use of technology such as ELAN for capturing and documenting the language

  • considering domains where Auslan may grow in the future, and contributing to localised Auslan signbanks on specific topics, for example, creating a bank/dictionary of signs used by deaf students and interpreters in Year 9 Science

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

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

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

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

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

  • discussing the concept of ‘language health’ and how it applies to Auslan, for example by designing a chart of relevant factors such as status (social, economic, historical), demography (number and distribution of users) and institutional support (media, government, education, religion, industry, culture)

Role of language and culture

Understand that Auslan and Deaf culture are interrelated, that they shape and are shaped by each other and that their relationship changes over time and across contexts

[Key concepts: knowledge, value, transmission; Key processes: reflecting, exploring, analysing, comparing] (ACLASFU216 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • analysing language used in pathological and sociocultural models of deafness, and the impact that each model, the philosophy that frames it and the language used to express it may have in regard to services for deaf people

  • appreciating the complexity of the relationship between language and culture, for example by discussing distinctions between Deaf cultures and other cultural minorities, such as the fact that most deaf people are born to hearing parents and typically access and experience Deaf culture through communicating with peers and other Auslan users in and out of school, in addition to their cultural experience in their families of origin

  • recognising the cultural significance of symbols and language features used in Auslan, for example the use of light and darkness in stories, poetry and performance, as in stories featuring gaslight

  • considering cultural explanations for conversational strategies used by Auslan signers to avoid conflict and to maintain privacy, such as changing signing space and style, using indirect language such as signing lower or under the table, or fingerspelling instead of signing overtly

  • understanding that Auslan plays an important role in the expression and maintenance of Deaf culture, that each deaf person has the right to learn and use Auslan as part of their birthright, along with their membership of the Deaf community, and that they become custodians and owners of the language

  • appreciating the cultural value and importance of festivals and events in the Deaf community, such as NWDP, as celebrations of language, history, culture and identity

  • understanding that sign language literatures recount significant journeys and events associated with the beginnings of Deaf education and the development of Deaf communities, and that they embody history and values of Deaf culture, for example, the Gallaudet and Clerc meeting or US Civil War stories that validate and reference shared Deaf identity, culture, language and experience

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

Years 9 and 10 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 10, students use Auslan to build relationships and to initiate, sustain and extend interactions with teachers, peers and contacts in the wider community. They engage in debate and discuss aspirations and social issues, explaining and justifying positions and elaborating opinions using expressions such as NEVER THOUGHT YEAH-RIGHT. Students use strategies to support discussion, such as self-correction, rephrasing or elaborating if not understood. They use smooth and fluent fingerspelling. They use spontaneous language to participate in activities and learning experiences that involve collaborating, planning, organising, negotiating and taking action. They use modal verbs and non-manual features (NMFs) to express possibility, obligation and ability, such as PRO1 MAYBE SEE THAT MOVIE or PRETEND PRO2 DEAF…. Students use culturally appropriate norms, skills and protocols when engaging with and learning from Deaf people and the Deaf community, for example, waiting to be introduced to new people and knowing how to introduce themselves as second language Auslan learners. They analyse, synthesise and evaluate information from a range of signed sources, summarising key ideas and specified points of information. They predict the meaning of unfamiliar signs and expressions from context and their knowledge of depicting conventions. They compare responses to creative texts such as Deaf poetry, Deaf art and signed narratives. Students demonstrate understanding of Auslan and Deaf culture, for example by preparing and delivering presentations or signed narratives on social and cultural issues, community initiatives and lifestyles. They build cohesion and complexity in texts by using fully-lexical connectives such as IF, THEN and/or NMFs to link clauses. They use constructed action (CA) to show different points of view. Students demonstrate culturally appropriate and ethical behaviour when interpreting and translating texts and consider potential consequences of inaccurate interpreting. They describe how they feel and behave when communicating in a visual world, for example by discussing how the experience fits with their sense of self. They reflect on the role of Auslan in connecting and building Deaf identity.

Students recognise and explain different ways that signers represent signing space, such as character or observer space. They understand and use depicting signs and CA in complex ways to create composite utterances. They investigate variation in the use of Auslan, explaining influences such as geographical location, social groupings and history, educational experience, the age of learners, family background and degree of contact with Signed English or other languages. They make comparisons between the ecologies of Auslan and those of signed languages in other countries, taking account of issues such as languages policy and rights, advocacy, language reform and language vitality. They identify factors that help to maintain and strengthen the use of Auslan, such as intergenerational contact and bilingual school programs. Students know that Auslan plays an important role in the expression and maintenance of Deaf culture and in assuring the rights of every deaf person.