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About "Thumbs Up!"

The title "Thumbs Up!" is a play on words across languages. It encourages and celebrates learning achievements – you as a teacher and students’  as learners – when together you learn NZSL together.

In English, the expression "Thumbs up!" is often accompanied by the gesture of both thumbs in the upright position. This communication indicates encouragement, approval, and acceptance.

NZSL uses a handshape with the thumbs held up to express a similar range of positive meanings. A single handshape with the same movement of the thumb can also mean a number of words that share the same basic meaning, for example, GOOD, GREAT, FABULOUS, LOVELY, and GOOD-ON-YOU.

Resource design

The Thumbs Up! resource acknowledges that this may be your first contact, as a teacher, with NZSL. It enables you to adopt the role of facilitator in the classroom so that you can learn alongside your students. Potentially, you will learn from each other. See yourself as an NZSL learner, too.

Each unit has a distinct theme and four activities.

  • The first activity is designed to introduce new learning. 
  • The next two activities reinforce the learning. 
  • The fourth activity can be used in two ways: 
    • for additional learning experiences
    • for assessing how well your students have achieved the unit’s objectives.

Lesson time

Thumbs Up! promotes pair and group work – students communicate with each other in NZSL as much as possible.

Sessions are likely to be  busy. The pace at which classes work varies, so the activities lack time limits. Be mindful, though, that students at this level can often successfully  and quickly learn a language. Set the pace of your lessons accordingly.

Scheduling lessons varies between schools, but a frequently doing a bit of learning is the best way to master another language. Schedule session on a regular basis in your timetable. Aim for three or four half-hour lessons a week.

View video clips more than once and at times throughout the day. For example, you might show part or all of a video clip at times outside the scheduled NZSL lesson time such as before the students go to lunch or at the end of the day.

Using the resource

Take a moment now to become familiar with all the components of the resource. Look at some of the supporting video clips. When you teach NZSL using this resource, you and your students will be able to preview the upcoming unit of work online. Finally, explore opportunities in your local community to further your study of NZSL. 

Learning Languages in the NZ Curriculum

You can find resources and links related to the Learning Languages area on this external page, including a PDF download of Learning Languages: A Guide for New Zealand Schools (2002).

The resource offers advice on planning language programmes and provides information that supports the introduction, delivery, and growth of these.

Learning Languages: A guide for New Zealand Schools

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