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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 first language learner (L1) pathway is pitched at two of the many types of potential learners in the Auslan cohort:

  • native signing children from Deaf families who have fluent language models to interact with at home and have been exposed to the language since birth
  • deaf children from hearing families with parents or older relatives who have learnt to sign and exposed their children early to rich signing models, for example in bilingual preschools.

There is another significant group of children in the L1 pathway: deaf children who arrive in a signing program in their first few years of schooling. These students begin learning Auslan with limited prior experience of any language, and may have additional disabilities that are hidden because of their language delay. The L1 pathway is appropriate for them since they will be using the language for more hours a week than just in the subject, thus making faster progress with language acquisition; and they have no other language to reference, as in the L2 pathway. Teachers working with students with delayed access to Auslan will need to adapt and differentiate the curriculum extensively to scaffold their learning, particularly in their first years of study. Additionally, hearing children from Deaf families who have Auslan as a first language may also be suited to the L1 pathway of learning.

The population of children who will follow the L1 pathway therefore has great variation in Auslan proficiency. Some will have had extensive access to a range of mature language users in early learning programs, in school and at home. Others will have limited quantity and quality of input in Auslan at home and sometimes even in school, and may not have attended an early intervention signing program prior to school. This pathway is primarily pitched at those students with exposure to Auslan prior to Foundation level; delayed language learners will need extra support to participate in the learning experiences outlined in this pathway.

Typically, L1 programs occur with constant involvement from a variety of fluent signers from the community. A key expectation in the L1 pathway is that students will have opportunities to interact with elders and members of the Deaf community.

Years 7–10 (Year 7 Entry) Sequence

The nature of education of deaf students is such that some learners arrive at high school with a very limited knowledge of English, and little, if any, Auslan. These learners may have come from other countries where they have had no access to schooling for deaf children, or from educational programs overseas or in Australia from which they have learnt only rudimentary speech and language, and not had access to quality signed language models. This group of learners, therefore, comprises students who are learning their first language well beyond the age of typical language development.

As a result, this group of learners are very different from the similarly aged cohort from the F–10 sequence, who have had exposure to quality language since birth or early in life, and who approach high school learning with established fluency in Auslan, which enables them to focus much of their Auslan class time on the development of higher-order skills, such as analysis and evaluation. Learners in the L1 pathway, 7–10 sequence begin learning Auslan with limited prior experience of any language. They may have additional disabilities, sometimes hidden, often caused by their language delay. Auslan is nonetheless considered their first or primary language, due to their lack of fluency in any other language. These learners need intensive support and extensive input from rich language models, especially at the initial stages. They are unlikely to reach native-like levels of fluency in any language, but will benefit greatly from the explicit teaching of Auslan as a subject to support their language acquisition and development.

Foundation to Year 2

Foundation to Year 2 Band Description

The nature of the learners

Most hearing children, or deaf children from signing families, enter the early years of schooling with established communication in one or more languages. Cognitive and social development at this stage is exploratory and egocentric; thus learning typically focuses on students’ immediate world of family, home, school and friends. Children at this age are learning how to socialise with new people, share with others, and participate in structured routines and activities at school. Auslan is learnt in parallel with English literacy and, for some children, spoken English. Some learners arrive at school with little experience of English and will learn it as a second language, while others may use spoken English with their hearing family members. The learning of Auslan supports and enriches deaf children’s learning of English and vice versa.

Auslan learning and use

Rich language input characterises the first stages of learning. Most children are familiar with the forms of signs and their fluency and accuracy is further developed through activities such as play, games and viewing texts. The curriculum builds on children’s interests and sense of enjoyment and curiosity, with an emphasis on active, experiential learning and confidence building. Creative play provides opportunities for using the language for purposeful interaction in less familiar contexts.

Children build vocabulary for thinking and talking about school topics, routines and processes, and expand their knowledge and understanding by interacting with other deaf children and adults in new contexts and by participating in more structured routines and activities. They use Auslan for different language functions, such as asking and responding to questions, expressing wishes, responding to and giving directions, greeting, thanking, apologising, agreeing and disagreeing, and taking turns in games and simple shared learning activities.

Contexts of interaction

Across Foundation to Year 2, learning occurs largely through interaction with peers and the teaching team, with some access to members of the Deaf community for additional enrichment and authentication of students’ language learning. Information and communication technology (ICT) resources provide additional access to Auslan and to the cultural experience of deafness. A key expectation in the L1 pathway is that students will have opportunities to interact with a variety of native or near-native signing models.

Texts and resources

Children engage with a variety of signed texts, live and recorded. They watch the teacher signing, share ideas and join in activities and stories and various forms of play and conversational exchanges. Text types include descriptions of appearances, relationships between people, and stories and recounts, as well as texts that talk about self, such as comparing likes and dislikes with others. Students become familiar with ways of recording Auslan, either through film, photos of signs, line drawings of signs, or simple symbols. An important source of natural signed texts are members of the deaf community. The early stage of language learning is also supported by extensive use of concrete materials and resources. Play and imaginative activities, games, and familiar routines provide essential scaffolding and context for language development.

Features of Auslan use

Children in Foundation to Year 2 learn to produce all handshapes, movements and locations of single signs. They make use of handling and size and shape specifiers (SASS) depicting signs with increasing accuracy, and use entity depicting signs to talk about simple movement and locations. Children in this band level produce a range of clause structures with the correct sign order and non-manual features (NMFs), such as questions, negatives and topic-comment structures, as well as using a range of non-manual adverbs. They learn to modify indicating verbs to show participants involved in events and can sometimes maintain those locations across multiple clauses. They are learning to integrate multiple viewpoints, such as that of narrator and of one or two characters, through constructed action and marking manner in longer signed texts.

As children learn to adjust their language to suit different purposes and situations, they begin to understand how culture shapes language use. They compare how they feel when they use different languages and how they view different languages and people who use them. This introduction to the meta dimension of intercultural learning develops the ability to ‘decentre’, to consider different perspectives and ways of being, and to become aware of themselves as communicators and cultural participants. Metalinguistically, children learn to describe features of signs, such as handshapes, to identify whether they are iconic; to recognise the importance of space in Auslan; and to categorise signs as nouns, verbs and adjectives.

Level of support

Learning is supported through the provision of experiences that are challenging but achievable with appropriate scaffolding and support. This involves modelling, monitoring and moderating by the teacher; provision of multiple and varied sources of input; opportunities for revisiting, recycling and reviewing; and continuous cueing, feedback, response and encouragement. Use of recounting, experiencing and retelling assists in establishing early language skills based on real-life experiences.

The role of English

Auslan is the language of all classroom interactions, routines and activities. It is the principal medium of instruction in L1 pathway classrooms. English may play a complementary role, such as when comparing signs and words and looking at fingerspelling. English is necessarily discussed in the translating strand.


Foundation to Year 2 Content Descriptions

Socialising

Communicate with teacher, peers and familiar adults in guided and free interactions that develop social and communicative skills

[Key concepts: self, family, interaction, experience, preference; Key processes: interacting, greeting, asking/answering questions, recounting, describing, comparing] (ACLASFC001 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • interacting with others using greetings according to relationship, context and time of day, for example: HELLO, HOW-ARE-YOU? SEE LATER, GOOD MORNING M-R-J-O-N-E-S

  • asking and answering questions about families, friends, pets, routines or pastimes, for example:

    PRO2 ARRIVE SCHOOL HOW? CAR TAXI WALK G:WELL?
    How do you get to school?
    WHAT POSS2 FAVOURITE SPORT WHAT?
    What’s your favourite sport?
    POSS1 BIRTHDAY WHEN D-E-C
    My birthday is in December.
  • using everyday social exchanges such as thanking, apologising, expressing wishes or congratulations, for example:

    THANK-YOU HELP-me
    Thank you for helping me.
    SORRY A-C-C
    I’m sorry, it was an accident.
    GOOD-LUCK POSS2 RACE
    Good luck for your race.
  • introducing themselves or a friend to class visitors, for example:

    HELLO POSS1 NAME G-A-V-I-N SIGN-NAME:GAVIN
    Hi, my name’s Gavin and this is my sign name.
  • supporting interaction when socialising with their peers, for example by indicating agreement or disagreement through nodding or head shaking

  • recounting personal experiences using specific time markers such as BEFORE, AFTER, LONG-TIME-AGO, YESTERDAY

  • recounting experiences shared as a class, such as excursions or special visitors, using appropriate sequencing of information

  • describing family members, friends or teachers in terms of physical appearance and characteristics, for example:

    PRINCIPAL YOU-KNOW SHORT LONG-HAIR GLASSES?
    You know the principal? She’s short, has long hair and wears glasses.
    POSS1 BROTHER OLD++ TALL SKINNY
    My brother is older; he’s tall and skinny.
  • comparing likes, dislikes and preferences, for example:

    PRO1 LIKE APPLE PRO1 DON’T-LIKE ORANGE
    I like apples but I don’t like oranges.
  • exploring different ways of expressing emotion through the use of NMFs and lexical signs, for example:

    PRO3 TEASE-me
    She teased me.
    NOW PRO1 HAPPY BEFORE PRO1 CRANKY
    I’m happy now but before I was cranky.
  • sharing their opinions about classmates or classroom resources using evaluative language and superlatives, for example:

    S-A-M RUN FAST C-H-R-I-S WOW FAST SPEED
    Sam runs fast but Chris runs the fastest.
    THAT BEST COMPUTER
    That’s the best computer.
  • sharing information about personal experiences or recent events, using time markers that incorporate numerals, such as THREE-DAYS-AGO, NEXT-WEEK, LAST YEAR, IN-TWO-DAYS

  • referring to family members’ and classmates’ names using fingerspelling or sign names as appropriate

  • describing class activities using plain or indicating verbs, modifying the indicating verbs some of the time, for example:

    THERE SIT BOOK READ, FINISH PUT++
    Over there we sit and read books, and when we’re finished we put them away.
    PENCIL PRO1 GIVE++
    I’ll give out the pencils.
  • conversing with friends using appropriate turn-taking strategies

  • asking and answering questions related to time, place, number, days of the week, months and seasons, for example:

    WHY SHOULD LOOK-left LOOK-right BEFORE ROAD CROSS
    Why do we need to look left and right before crossing the road?
    ONE WEEK DS:length HOW-MANY DAY?
    How many days in a week?
  • describing relationships between members of their family or between classmates, for example:

    PRO3 POSS1 COUSIN WE2 GOOD FRIEND.
    She’s my cousin; we’re good friends.
    POSS3 FATHER PUNISH PRO3
    Her father punished her.
Participate in group learning activities that involve taking turns, playing action games, making choices or swapping and classifying items

[Key concepts: play, action-learning, problem-solving; Key processes: participating, playing, collaborating] (ACLASFC002 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • participating in signing songs and games that involve repeated signs, gestures and NMFs, for example, I went to the market and I bought … Old MacDonald had a farm …

  • participating in activities that involve classifying objects by attributes such as shapes, colours and numbers

  • following directions in activities such as an obstacle course or action game, using directional terms or depicting signs such as

    DS:turn-left DEAD-END DS:turn-right
    Go left, then at the end turn right.
    PLEASE BRING MILK FRIDGE DS:open-door POINT
    Please bring the milk; it’s at the bottom of the fridge door.
  • playing games that involve choice, memory or information exchange to reinforce number skills or language patterns

  • collaborating in art or craft activities that involve making decisions about choices or contributions

  • participating in barrier games and other information-gap activities that focus on describing appearance or scenes, such as a game of ‘Guess Who’ on paper with some characters named on paper A and some not named on paper B, and vice versa; taking turns to describe appearance of the characters with no name and having partner fingerspell their names back

  • participating in role-plays that involve scenarios such as ordering a meal, buying food or other items, transacting payment or giving feedback

Participate in classroom routines and activities such as following directions, attracting attention, responding to questions and turn-taking

[Key concepts: direction, response, support, protocol; Key processes: participating, responding, interacting, turn-taking] (ACLASFC003 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • recognising their own and their classmates’ fingerspelled names used in games or routines such as roll call

  • asking for help, offering assistance or requesting permission in polite ways, for example:

    PLEASE HELP-me?
    Can you help me, please?
    CAN SHARE?
    Can we share these?
  • demonstrating attentive watching across a range of school contexts, such as assemblies or classroom discussions

  • following instructions for class routines, for example:

    PLEASE WITH-2++ DS:sit-opposite
    Please find a partner and sit opposite each other.
    DS:line-up PLEASE
    Line up, please.
    LOOK-AT-me PRO1
    Look to the front.
  • gaining others’ attention in appropriate ways, relying less on tap and more on other strategies, and responding to others’ attempts to gain their attention

  • following protocols such as stopping when lights are flashed, and observing appropriate distance between signers

  • learning to be a supportive group discussion member, for example by asking relevant questions, providing feedback, prompting, using NMFs to indicate agreement or disagreement

  • formulating different kinds of open and closed questions, including WHEN, WHY and HOW questions

  • signing appropriately to maintain or change a topic, to remain on task and take turns

  • interacting with each other or the teacher by using eye gaze and other NMFs to indicate agreement/disagreement or understanding/lack of understanding

  • negotiating turn-taking, for example:

    PRO1 FIRST YOUR-TURN
    It’s my turn first, then your turn.
  • watching, remembering and responding to increasingly complex instructions of two or more steps, for example by moving or locating objects in the classroom

  • using the appropriate NMFs for asking questions and making statements when interacting in small groups

Informing

Identify specific points of information in simple Auslan texts and use the information to complete guided tasks

[Key concepts: information, family, games, hobbies; Key processes: collecting information, identifying, retelling, categorising, recording] (ACLASFC004 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • retelling and responding to key points of information in class messages, directions or introductions

  • gathering information from their peers about topics such as family members, favourite foods, toys or games to report back to the class

  • identifying information in simple Auslan texts that relates to properties such as colour, number, size or shape and responding through activities such as manipulating concrete materials and objects

  • identifying and categorising signs in simple Auslan texts according to handshape

  • following a signed text that involves several steps to progressively collect information needed to complete a task, such as an obstacle course

  • watching short Auslan texts about topics such as hobbies, animals or sports, recording key points of information using tables or graphic organisers

  • watching a presentation by a teacher, peer or visitor and recalling and retelling specific points of information

  • recording new language in personal sign dictionaries acquired from simple Auslan texts in different curriculum areas, for example, when learning about the weather or countries of the world

Present information about self, family, people, places and things using signed descriptions and visual prompts

[Key concepts: self, family, routines, home, community; Key processes: providing information, describing, presenting, demonstrating, labelling, reporting] (ACLASFC005 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • describing an object, animal or person using lexical adjectives, for example colours, or SASS depicting signs relating to size and shape

  • contributing to a digital class presentation such as a video by signing a description of their own photo or piece of work

  • demonstrating a simple procedure using list buoys and related sign vocabulary to demonstrate the different steps

  • labelling objects in the classroom and in learning resources such as books and wall charts with pictures of signs

  • recounting to the class details of a personal experience such as a holiday or weekend event

  • reporting aspects of their daily routines or family life, such as how they travel to school or what they eat for lunch

  • categorising and displaying pictures of signs, for example on a handshape wall

  • presenting specific information such as a weather report using visual prompts or a digital presentation

  • sharing information about their family, home or local community with their classmates, for example, through signed commentary to a display or digital presentation

  • reporting key elements obtained from predominantly visual infographics or diagrams related to different learning areas, for example, life cycle charts

  • providing information needed to complete an information-gap activity, for example, ‘20 Questions’ with yes/no answers, or ‘Guess Who?’

Creating

Participate in a range of imaginative experiences and respond through drawing, telling with familiar signs and written words or enacting with constructed action

[Key concepts: imagination, story, character, emotion; Key processes: viewing, retelling, expressing, responding, interpreting] (ACLASFC006 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • viewing fairytales or stories from sources such as National Simultaneous Storytime books, demonstrating understanding through retelling or enacting

  • engaging in imaginative play that involves the creation of mood or momentum through repeated use of signs, handshapes and facial expressions to modify manner or intensify adjectives

  • responding to forms of Deaf art such as handshape creations, for example by reproducing key elements in their own artwork and indicating emotional response using lexical signs such as LOVE, LIKE, LOOK GOOD, NOT BAD, UGLY

  • responding to performances of Deaf poetry that evoke emotions such as sadness, fear or excitement, for example by indicating enjoyment or personal feelings

  • interacting with a signing puppet or doll in a fantasy context or situation, for example by asking questions such as WHAT YOUR NAME? or YOU HUNGRY G:WELL?

  • participating in indoor and outdoor games that use signs, handshapes and body movements in creative ways and focus on all Auslan parameters, for example, ‘Simon Says’

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

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

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

Express imaginative experience through creative games, role-play and mime, using familiar signs, modelled language and constructed action

[Key concepts: imagination, emotion, expression; Key processes: creating, enacting, expressing, experimenting, imagining] (ACLASFC007 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • changing elements of favourite stories to create their own versions, with a focus on varying manner or constructed action

  • interacting with imaginary characters using lexical and non-lexical signs and NMFs to express emotions such as excitement, fear or amazement

  • using iconic signs to create their own variations on familiar nursery rhyme actions, such as in ‘Incy Wincy Spider’

  • depicting the movement of people, animals or means of transport by using handshapes in creative ways

  • creating amusing sequences of signs using a fixed handshape, such as YOU THINK PRO1 SHY

  • experimenting with NMFs and handshapes to play games such as ‘Simon Says’, taking turns to be Simon

  • experimenting with facial expressions to match different emotional expressions, such as HAPPY, SCARED, TIRED

  • changing an aspect of a cartoon or picture story, using gestures, handshapes and NMFs to explain differences

  • representing objects using combined bodies and hands in amusing or creative ways

  • exploring the use of constructed action such as eye gaze change, body shift and head orientation when enacting imagined adventures

  • making their own handshape creations

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

    YOUR NOSE DS:long-nose WHY?
    Why is your nose so long, Pinocchio?

Translating

Translate familiar words and phrases from Auslan into English and vice versa, using visual cues, signs and English words, noticing how signs and words differ

[Key concepts: similarity, difference, meaning; Key processes: noticing, recognising, identifying, translating, explaining] (ACLASFC008 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising that every language uses words or signs to make meaning

  • identifying aspects of Auslan which are the same in English, such as the fingerspelled alphabet

  • participating in shared reading of children’s books containing Auslan images and English text, asking and answering questions about unfamiliar words and phrases, and noticing the comparative number of signs and words used in the book

  • translating simple Auslan signs to family and friends by fingerspelling or writing the English word, for example, DOG, CAT, BIRD

  • comparing Auslan expressions used in everyday interactions such as greetings with equivalent English expressions, for example, HOW-ARE-YOU? compared to How are you?

Create simple print or digital texts such as labels, posters, wall charts or cards that use both Auslan images and English words

[Key concepts: code, translation; Key processes: labelling, creating, captioning] (ACLASFC009 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • labelling objects and classroom items in both English and Auslan, using posters, word cards and alphabet cards, pictures and images of Auslan signs and words, for example, ‘a is for apple’ with a fingerspelled letter for ‘a’

  • creating and using handshape images to represent signs and label with words, for example, flat hand = FISH

  • developing a simple handshape dictionary with English captions

  • using photos of family members to create a family tree or similar representation of relationships, captioning and labelling in English with corresponding images of Auslan signs for each family member

Identity

Explore ideas of identity, social groupings, relationship, space and place, and how these relate to the Deaf community

[Key concepts: identity, self, relationship, community, place, space, connection; Key processes: identifying, exploring, describing, talking about] (ACLASFC010 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • describing themselves as belonging to their family and to social groups such as their class or age cohort of deaf children

  • exploring concepts of difference and sameness

  • representing their relationships with others by drawing pictures, adding captions to photos, creating posters or digital presentations to depict their family, labelling immediate and extended family members as deaf or hearing

  • identifying themselves as members of different groups and describing their relationships with deaf, hard of hearing and hearing children, family members, the Deaf community and the wider ‘hearing’ society

  • identifying and describing physical markers of identity among deaf children, for example hearing devices such as hearing aids, cochlear implants and FM systems

  • identifying and discussing their own and each other’s family names, given name/s and name signs

  • identifying elements of their behaviours or relationships that mark their individual or Deaf community identity such as the use of Auslan

  • identifying places that are significant to them personally and are important to their identity

  • exploring relationships between place, space and people, considering why some places and spaces make deaf people feel comfortable and promote a sense of belonging, for example those that facilitate face-to-face communication

  • considering roles and responsibilities in relation to membership of a Deaf community, for example by describing how they can help others to be aware of their communication preferences in the classroom or with extended family

  • exploring their shared experience as ‘people of the eye’, for example by identifying the importance of space for waving or using flashing lights to gain attention or to give visual applause

Reflecting

Notice similarities and differences between Auslan and spoken languages in relation to ways of interacting, sharing stories and playing games

[Key concepts: language, culture, similarity, difference, respect; Key processes: noticing, comparing, responding] (ACLASFC011 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • comparing aspects of their lives as signing children with those of non-signing children represented in digital images, video clips or stories, for example, ways of playing games, telling stories or interacting at school, home and in the community

  • discussing changes or adaptations they have to make to their communicative style when interacting with non-signers

Systems of language

Recognise the main formational elements of handshape, movement and location in Auslan signs, and understand that a sign is the same as a spoken or written word even though it can be iconic

[Key concepts: handshape, movement, location, iconicity; Key processes: noticing, recognising, understanding] (ACLASFU012 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • noticing the handshape of individual signs, and identifying signs that are made with a particular handshape, for example, COCKATOO (hs:5) and SOCCER (hs:fist)

  • recognising that signs are categorised by the handshape at the start of the sign

  • understanding that signs can be organised by handshape, for example in Johnston’s Auslan dictionaries or localised handshape dictionaries in schools, and that this is useful if an English word for a sign is not known

  • noticing the path movement of a particular sign and identifying signs associated with the major types of path movements, for example, THROUGH (forwards) or FULL (down to up)

  • noticing the five major locations of signs on the body or in space, and identifying signs associated with each, such as SEE (head/face), SAY (mouth/chin), WHY (chest), TALK (hand) and ONE (signing space)

  • understanding that sounds in English words are like handshapes, movements and locations in Auslan in the sense that they are combined together to make signs

  • recognising that some signs are iconic, linking to the appearance of a referent, for example, HOUSE, TREE, DRINK, ELEPHANT and that some are not, such as SISTER, WHY, SIMPLE

  • recognising that unlike English, which can be spoken or written, signed languages are not usually written down but occur ‘through the air’

  • experimenting with different methods of capturing the signed language, such as: a class-invented script, drawing pictures, videoing, English glosses or ASL-phabet

Recognise that signing happens in a finite space that can be used meaningfully within individual signs, learning in particular how depicting signs, some verbs, pronouns and enacting make use of spatial relationships

[Key concepts: signing space, numeral incorporation, verb modification to show who; Key processes: explaining, describing, noticing, identifying] (ACLASFU013 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • realising that meaning is communicated through the use of signs, pictures, written or spoken words or miming

  • describing the range of signing space in normal signed discourse

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

  • noticing that Auslan pronouns are different from English ones because they don’t show gender but they can show location and a specific number of referents, for example, WE2 (inclusive) and WE3 (inclusive) or WE2-NOT-INCLUDING-YOU (exclusive)

  • noticing that enacting a role or modifying the beginning and end locations of some verbs can show the referents involved, for example:

    PRO1 ASK PRO3 versus PRO1 ASK-her
    PRO3 ASK-me CA:I-was-shocked
  • identifying what sort of things can be represented in a DS by a particular handshape, for example a distant person, pole or tree can be represented by a point handshape, and a cylinder can be traced by a C handshape

Recognise that groups of words combine to make clauses and include nouns and pronouns (people, places, things), adjectives (qualities) and verbs (happenings, states); and distinguish between statements and questions based on non-manual features

[Key concepts: sign class, clauses, telling versus showing; Key processes: recognising, observing, distinguishing] (ACLASFU014 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • categorising noun signs into those for people, animals, places or things

  • understanding that proper nouns can have a sign name or be fingerspelled

  • knowing that adjectives describe nouns in different ways, such as how they look (BIG or RED), feel (SOFT or HOT), smell (SMELLY) or sound (LOUD)

  • identifying verb signs (SIT, EAT, FEEL, WONDER, HAVE) and recognising that they are central to a clause

  • recognising that there is no verb ‘to be’ in Auslan

  • understanding that a clause is one or more signs expressing a single idea and that a clause has at least one verb, but often one or more nouns as well, for example,

    CALL-him
    I called him.
    MAN THERE GO-TO POSS3 HOUSE
    That man went to his house.
    BIG MONSTER SCREAM
    A big monster screamed.
  • recognising different nouns in clauses, including those that are shown with a pointing sign, such as GIRL READ versus PRO3 READ, or VISIT FRIEND versus VISIT PRO3

  • noticing that Auslan has more flexibility in word order than English

  • distinguishing between clauses that are statements and those that are questions

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

    MAN WALK SLOW
    DS(point):man-walks-slowly
    CA:man-swinging-arms-nonchalantly
Understand that texts are made up of units of meaning, such as words, gestures or sentences/clauses and that different types of texts have particular features that help serve their purpose

[Key concepts: text, referent; Key processes: recognising, identifying, discussing] (ACLASFU015 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • recognising that texts are made up of one or more clauses which together make meaning

  • recognising that different signed texts serve different purposes, and discussing and comparing these purposes (for example, the text genre procedure is to explain how, a narrative is to narrate, tell or entertain)

  • identifying characteristic structures and features of particular types of Auslan texts and noticing how they suit the intended purpose, for example, the expression of emotions in a recount compared to presenting facts in an information report

  • identifying different signs used by a signer to refer to the same person in a text, considering how this helps to maintain interest and understanding

Language variation and change

Understand that all languages including signed languages vary and borrow words and signs from each other

[Key concepts: dialect, language borrowing, variation; Key processes: noticing, recognising] (ACLASFU016 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • understanding that there are two main Auslan dialects: the southern dialect used in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania and the northern dialect used in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory

  • viewing videoed examples of Auslan signers from different parts of Australia, identifying the different signs used in southern and northern dialects, for example, signs for colours and some numbers

  • noticing that words such as proper nouns for names of people, places or schools are borrowed from English by fingerspelling and mouthing, but some also have sign names

  • recognising that Auslan borrows from other languages just as English does, and collecting words and signs used in their everyday lives that come from different signed and spoken languages

  • noticing the variation in ‘handedness’ between signers in relation to signs and fingerspelling: right handers using their right hand as their dominant (main) hand; left handers doing the opposite

Language awareness

Recognise that Auslan is a legitimate language, one of many languages used in Australia and around the world

[Key concept: language diversity; Key processes: identifying, recognising, comparing] (ACLASFU017 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • identifying different languages used by their classmates or members of their families, for example by creating a class profile or language map

  • exploring similarities and differences between the many languages used in Australia and represented in the school, including spoken and signed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, and comparing the ways different languages use writing, sound/speech, gestures, drawings, art and signs to communicate

  • recognising the unique nature of signed languages and understanding that there are many different signed languages in use around the world, including in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and that there is not one ‘universal’ signed language

  • recognising that Auslan is a legitimate language, different from mime and gestures such as those used to accompany songs in spoken languages

Role of language and culture

Understand that people use language in ways that reflect their culture, such as where and how they live, who they live with and what is important to them

[Key concepts: language, culture, community, observable phenomena; Key processes: noticing, recognising, questioning, making connections] (ACLASFU018 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • recognising that people from different places and backgrounds may use different languages and have ways of living and communicating that differ from their own

  • appreciating that culture and cultural difference means that people may value different things or live differently, and noticing observable examples of such difference, such as ways of greeting (bowing versus shaking hands) or conveying information (through words versus signs)

  • exploring how hearing people live in ways that may be different from how deaf people live, for example by responding to stimuli such as: Compare how deaf and hearing people know someone is at the front door. or How do deaf and hearing people wake up in the morning?

  • recognising the importance of facial expression, eye gaze and non-manual features in conveying information in a visual-gestural language and culture

  • recognising the importance of language, community and culture in relation to their own lives and in relation to other language groups and their communities

  • considering how some spaces make deaf people feel comfortable, for example, contexts where distance between signers allows for easy visual access


Foundation to Year 2 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 2, students interact with the teaching team, class visitors and each other to share information about themselves, their families, friends, routines, pastimes and experiences. They use fingerspelling or sign names as appropriate and lexical adjectives or size and shape specifiers (SASS) depicting signs (DS) to describe the appearance and characteristics of family members, friends or teachers, for example, POSS1 BROTHER OLD++ TALL SKINNY or POSS3 SISTER FRECKLES. Students recount shared and personal experiences and favourite activities, using plain or indicating verbs that are modified, such as PRO1 GO-TO-right, PLAY-continuous, RETURN-left, or LAST-WEEK PRO1-plural VISIT NANNA. They sequence events correctly using time markers such as YESTERDAY, LAST-YEAR, TWO-DAYS-AGO. They use everyday social exchanges such as greeting, thanking and apologising, and express feelings through the use of NMFs and lexical signs. They compare likes, dislikes and preferences, for example, PRO1 LIKE APPLE DON’T-LIKE ORANGE. They use appropriate NMFs to ask and respond to a range of wh- questions and yes/no questions. They indicate agreement/disagreement or understanding/lack of understanding by using other NMFs. They follow directions for class routines, for example, PLEASE DS:line-up-facing-front, and give and follow instructions of two or more steps, using directional terms or DSs such as DS:turn-left T-JUNCTION DS:turn-right. Students follow culturally appropriate protocols, such as responding to and using attention-gaining strategies such as flashing lights, waving or tapping a shoulder or table, using voice-off while signing, and observing appropriate distance between signers. They recall and retell specific points of information from texts such as class messages, directions, introductions and ‘visual vernacular’ descriptions, and they recognise familiar fingerspelled words. They follow procedural texts involving several steps and retell them using list buoys. They view short Auslan stories and respond by identifying and comparing favourite elements, characters and events. They use features of constructed action (CA) such as shifting eye gaze, or head or body–head orientation when creating imagined texts, and use NMFs to modify manner or intensify adjectives, such as REMEMBER PRO1 JUMP-really-far-and-high. They identify themselves as members of different groups and describe their relationships with deaf, hard of hearing and hearing children, family members, and the community. They identify similarities and differences between how people interact and share stories in Auslan and in spoken languages.

Students know that Auslan is a language in its own right, different from mime and gestures used in spoken languages. They know that eye contact is necessary for effective communication and that meaning is communicated visually through the use of signs, fingerspelling, NMFs and non-conventional gestures. They recognise and describe the main elements of Auslan signs: handshape, movement and location; and identify and categorise signs according to these. They recognise that some signs link to visual images, for example DRINK, ELEPHANT. Students know that some words, such as proper nouns, are borrowed from English by fingerspelling and mouthing, and that locations or orientations of signs can be modified meaningfully, for example to show who is involved in an event. They recognise that signers can tell with lexical signs or show with DSs and CA, and that clauses include a verb and sometimes nouns. They recognise the importance of facial expression, eye gaze and NMFs in a visual-gestural language and culture.