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Banyan Fields Primary School is currently working with students on developing an understanding of Auslan.


What is Auslan?

Auslan is short for Australian sign language, a language developed by, and for, Australians who are deaf or hearing impaired. It’s a visual form of communication that uses hand, arm and body movements to convey meaning.

Auslan relies on a combination of hand shapes, movements and facial expressions to deliver messages.

These include a combination of:

Hand shapes – Auslan has 38 hand shapes with 28 variants

Orientation – This is the direction of your palm and hand in relation to your body.

Location – Signs are made near different parts of the body to convey meaning

Movement – Small or large movements of the head, arms and hands can suggest different words

Expression – Head and facial movements or expressions are used to convey emotion and emphasis.

​Auslan is recognised as a language in its own right. Auslan was recognised as an official language by the Australian Government in 1991.


Why do we need it?

The prevalence of hearing loss in Australia is projected to increase from one in six in 2017 to one in four by 2050. (Access Economics, Listen Hear! The economic impact and cost of hearing loss in Australia, (February 2006), p. 5)

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

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

  • Opportunities to develop intercultural capabilities, understanding and respect for others, appreciation of diversity and openness to different perspectives and experiences.

What will the child learn in Auslan classes?

Foundation – Year 2

In year one and two Auslan classes teach children how to sign simple greetings including signing about their emotions, , colours of the rainbow, finger spell most five letter words and their name, describe their family and school through Auslan and sign the numbers from 0-20. Children will be able to view a text presented in Auslan and respond through drawing or signing. Children will be able to translate frequently used signs from Auslan into English and vice versa.


Year 3-6

In year three and four Auslan classes teach children to communicate with peers and teachers in relation to their personal life, past times and preferences. The children will be able to ask and answer questions in Auslan as well as follow directions given by signing. The children will be able to use the answers from these questions to collate data to be presented in graphs and tables. The children will listen to / view creative texts in Auslan which the children will analyse, then the children will create their own creative texts using descriptive language to be presented to the grade in Auslan. The children will be able to sign the alphabet and numbers to 31.

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