Next week is New Zealand Sign Language Week! The theme for NZSL Week 2022 is NZSL is Essential, and it runs from May 9th to 15th. This theme was chosen to highlight essential workers who are Deaf and demonstrate the importance of NZSL for allowing Deaf people to participate equally in society.
We've collected some NZSL resources & activities you can take into the classroom:
- NZSL Alphabet
This poster can be printed and downloaded for free and displayed in your classroom. Have a go learning your names in NZSL!
- NZSL Dictionary
Look up specific words relevant to your school or class in the free online NZSL dictionary.
- Learn NZSL
Get stuck into learning NZSL through the online learning portal, Learn NZSL. You could work through the modules yourself or do it as a class group.
- First Signs
If you work at an early childhood centre, take a look at these signs, which you can use to communicate with young children who are Deaf.
- Play a Game
Sign Ninja is a free online game that helps you learn NZSL. You could put it on the big screen and play with your class! Plus, it's an opportunity to teach your students about the history of NZSL and its importance to the Deaf community.
- Learn a Song
There are plenty of songs translated into NZSL online - below, we've linked the NZ National Anthem, a great one to learn with your students!
- NZSL Pepeha Song Challenge
Similarly to the above, this is a fun song learning challenge for this year's NZSL Week! Film yourself (and any students who have permission to take part and be filmed) performing a verse from Six60's song "Pepeha" post it next week and tag it with #NZSLPepeha, and you'll go in the draw to win a prize!
- "What it's like to be a Deaf kid in Aotearoa"
Looking up real-life stories is a great way to learn more about NZSL. The linked article is from Upstart Magazine, which talked to 11-year-old Natalia about her experience as a Deaf kid in New Zealand.
- Twinkl Resources
If you have a Twinkl account, there are many resources available there for NZSL Week.
Other things to keep in mind
- New Zealand Sign Language should be shortened to NZSL, not NZ Sign Language.
- NZSL is a distinct language with its own grammatical structure and linguistic features.
- NZSL is also distinct from other sign languages - it is not interchangeable, although there are similarities between NZSL and BSL (British Sign Language) and Auslan (Australian Sign Language).
- NZSL is an official language of New Zealand, alongside te reo Māori (English is a de facto official language).
- Deaf should be capitalised when referring to the Deaf community. You can read more about Deaf culture here.