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Unit 1 – HELLO Hello!

Clip 1.3: Visual prompting in Deaf culture

Video description

Visual prompting in Deaf culture

Basic greetings in NZSL

The students will learn basic greetings in NZSL.

Scene A – Ben Comes to Visit

Before starting this activity, show this video clip, which shows people greeting each other using NZSL.

Afterwards, discuss with the students what they noticed, what they thought, and how they felt.

Ask them to make comparisons and connections with the way people greet each other in their own cultures.

Revisiting "Ben Comes to Visit"

Play scene A again so students deepen their observation.

Explain that both of the following involve facial grammar – the use of the hands, the body, and facial expressions to convey meaning.

Also explain that they will need to practise these features until they become automatic.

Clip 0.7: Non-manual signals, question forms 

Provides an explanation of facial grammar and examples of signing a question, especially when a signed sentence or question must have certain facial expressions to ensure grammatical sense and clarity. 

Signing basic greetings

Clip 1.1a: Basic Greetings 

Show the clip and ask the students to observe closely the signing.

Watch the clip several time so your students learn the vocabulary, in particular:

  • the way the hands and faces convey meaning and
  • how the dominant hand is used. 

Encourage them to have a go at signing along with the presenters so that they get used to moving their hands, faces and bodies in new ways to communicate with others without using voice.

Clip 0.3: Dominant hand

Details the use of dominant hand.

Worksheet 1.1: Basic greetings

Downloadable PDF. Give your students this hand-out, which is a tool for reference when they practice basic greetings.

In pairs, have the students make up short dialogues where they greet and respond to each other.

Ask them to use suitable cultural behaviours as they engage with the task, for example:

  • tapping a person’s shoulder or arm to get their attention when not in face-to-face contact
  • taking turns in the conversation, with only one person signing at a time, because the watcher cannot focus on both signers simultaneously
  • turning their chairs to face each other and making sure that they can see each other clearly, which may mean closing the curtains or blinds if the sun is too bright.

Visual prompting in Deaf culture

Clip 1.3: Visual prompting in Deaf culture

This clip shows examples of visual prompts.

Before you view the clip, ask your students what visual prompts they already know or use.

After you watch the clip, discuss what changes your class could makes to ensure they use appropriate cultural behaviours when learning and using NZSL.

Changes could apply to physical behaviour and to the use of classroom space.

Examples include:

  • horseshoe or circle-seating arrangements so that each person can see everyone else
  • attracting attention by turning the light on and off 
  • stamping on the floor to cause a vibration
  • waving your hands in the air to applaud instead of clapping.

Ending the session

Have the students perform their dialogues using appropriate linguistic, cultural, and visual-prompting behaviours.

Signing the numbers from one to 10

The students will learn to sign the numbers from one to 10.

Show clip 1.1b so your students can view the numbers from one to 10 and practise signing them along with the presenters. Hand out worksheet 1.2 as a reference tool.

Ask the students, working in pairs, to sign a number to each other. The viewer writes down each number as they see it signed, and the signer confirms or corrects it.

Extend this by asking some students to present a sequence of three numbers to the class. The class members write down the numbers as they view them. Then the signers give the correct numbers and check to see how many classmates made correct responses.

Ask the students whether this task was easy for them and why it was or wasn’t. For example, it’s difficult to watch others making signs and practise signing at the same time. Keep showing clip 1.1b so that the students have a good model to follow. Encourage them to make their handshapes carefully so that they learn good habits right from the outset.

Now challenge the students to take turns to count in twos, and to count backwards from 10 through to one. Or they could use other number combinations as they work in pairs to practise their signing.

Then play bingo to further develop their number fluency in NZSL. Ask the students to write down six numerals between one and 10. They work in groups, and one student signs the numbers between one and 10 in a random sequence. The first student to mark off all the numbers is the winner. The other students applaud appropriately (by waving their hands).

Students develop their confidence and competence when they have many opportunities to practise the language they are learning and when others show interest and give feedback on their efforts.

Learning the fingerspelling alphabet

The students will learn the fingerspelling alphabet in its sequence from A to Z and will practise fingerspelling their first names.

Fingerspelling the alphabet

Play clip 1.1c. Ask the students to notice that signers mostly use their fingers to spell out words and keep eye contact with the viewer when fingerspelling. They do not look down at their fingers. They mouth the whole word, not each individual letter.

Hold up a fingerspelling alphabet chart, which you can make by enlarging worksheet 1.3 and reproducing it on card. Do a round robin, with the students signing each letter in turn.

Place the chart on the classroom wall for reference. The students fingerspell the alphabet with a partner, seeing who can be the first to finish.

Then they fingerspell along with clip 1.1c. Hand out copies of worksheet 1.3. Give the students the web link reference so that they can go online to practise fingerspelling in their own time.

Fingerspelling names

Play clip 1.2. Play the clip again and have the students practise their signing along with the presenters.

Either hand out cards, with the first names of class members on them, or project them.

The students fingerspell their own first names and then learn to fingerspell the names of three other students.

As a class activity, have the students introduce themselves using the following pattern. The first student signs:

Give name

HELLO IX-me NAME fs-(name)

Ask for name


The next student responds and then turns to a third student to ask the question, and so on around the class until everyone has had a turn. Time the activity. Challenge the students to develop their NZSL fluency by completing the task once more in a shorter time.

Play scene A, where Ben flies in from Christchurch to stay with his friend Max. Use your copy of the scene A transcript to check your students’ understanding of the scene. Ask them to pick out the language they know and guess what is going on in the rest of the scene. Replay scene A often to help your students build their understanding of NZSL as it is used in everyday situations.

You will see name signs used in Scene A. Name signs are commonly used in Deaf culture instead of fingerspelling a person’s name. See About NZSL for more information.

Assessing progress

The students will assess their own progress, and the progress of others, for each outcome.

Hand out copies of the Activity 1.4 (the achievement checklist) to the students. At the simplest level, the achievement checklist criteria assess whether the student can do what is required. Use this model as a template for assessing the achievement of the learning outcomes for other units.

Assessment of each outcome

The students use the Unit 1 achievement checklist to assess each other, working in pairs. They demonstrate their learning for each outcome and jointly agree on whether it has been achieved.

Where students have not achieved an outcome, encourage them to work with others, using tasks that will help them to achieve it.

Holistic assessment

For a holistic assessment of the students’ communicative competence in NZSL, use the Unit 10 assessment criteria for assessing the curriculum level 1 and 2 achievement objectives. Discuss and confirm the assessment criteria with the students.

Ask the students to compose a dialogue to perform in groups or in front of the class. This way, the students can get additional feedback from others on their communicative competence, based on the levels 1 and 2 assessment criteria. You can also monitor individual performance and plan how to address specific learning needs.

When they have demonstrated their learning to the agreed standard, the students colour in band 1 on their copies of the Thumbs Up! Progress chart. Place these in their portfolios as evidence of their achievement. Follow this pattern in the subsequent units.

In assessing learners’ second-language proficiency, it is important to examine free as well as controlled production.

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