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Activity 7.1

Activity 7.1

Some aspects of Deaf culture

The students will learn more about NZSL and about the specialist schools for the Deaf.

The information in the introduction and the NZSL guidelines (NZSLiNZC) will help you to lead a discussion with your students about the origins and use of NZSL in New Zealand.

Tell the students that there are two deaf education centres in New Zealand: one in Auckland (Kelston Deaf Education Centre) and one in Christchurch (van Asch Deaf Education Centre). There used to be a third deaf school, St Dominic’s, in Feilding, which explains why NZSL has three regional variations. Although the students at these centres learn to read and write English because they follow the same curriculum as your students do, they use NZSL for their everyday communication.

Most Deaf students are enrolled in mainstream schools and are supported by teacher aides, itinerant teachers for the Deaf, and, occasionally, NZSL interpreters. Some mainstream schools have Deaf units.

Play scene I so that your students can see what happens next in the story. How much can they understand? As usual, play the scene several times and use your copy of the scene I transcript to help you guide the discussion.

Investigation: Ask your students to ask five people what they know about NZSL and the Deaf community in New Zealand. They are to ask questions such as:

  • Who is in the Deaf community?
  • What kind of language do they use?
  • Have you ever heard of NZSL?
  • What do you know about Deaf people?

These five people can include parents, friends, classmates, and students in their school who are not learning NZSL. Tell your students that they will report this information back to the class so that the class can assess the level of knowledge in the community about NZSL. This research provides an opportunity to raise the profile of NZSL in your school and community.

Where feasible, invite members of the Deaf community to your school. This will help your students to learn more about NZSL and Deaf culture, and it will give them an opportunity to interact with first-language speakers of NZSL.

If there are Deaf students in your school, you may be able to invite them to come along and share some of their experiences with your class, possibly with the assistance of a NZSL interpreter.

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