Language Planning Priority - Acquisition

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The purpose of acquisition planning is to ensure:

  • deaf children and young people become fully proficient in NZSL
  • the Deaf community and other members of able to fully learn and use NZSL in all domains of society. The remaining three language priorities: attitude, documentation and status play essential supporting roles to the achievement of NZSL acquisition society can learn NZSL.

What success looks like in five years’ time

  • Deaf children and young people who use NZSL are learning and acquiring NZSL at age-appropriate levels throughout their education through full immersion with signing peers and adult NZSL models.
  • Families and whānau are able to learn NZSL throughout their child’s education, enabling them to communicate more easily with their deaf child.
  • Professionals working in educational contexts with deaf children and young people who are NZSL users, are proficient in NZSL to an appropriate level, supporting deaf children and young people to acquire NZSL at age-appropriate levels.

National education NZSL planning

Planning how deaf children and young people acquire a language is central to any national language strategy. Due to the complexity of language acquisition for children and young people, countries with national language plans for minority languages tend to have two approaches – a national language strategy and a related national education language strategy.

New Zealand examples of such an approach are the national strategy for Te Reo Māori − Te Rautaki Reo Māori (2014) and the associated national education Te Reo strategy, Tau Mai Te Reo (year).

The Ministry of Education has had various plans and strategies for deaf education and during 2018 is developing an up-to-date NZSL pathway, with a view to developing a long-term strategy for NZSL in deaf education.

The Board will continue to work with the Ministry of Education as well as key Crown entities and other relevant stakeholders in early childhood education, schooling and tertiary education sectors to:

  • support further developments and implementation of a national NZSL education sector plan
  • ensure the alignment of such a plan with the Board’s Strategy.

As the Ministry of Education is the government agency responsible for the funding of both deaf children and young people’s access to NZSL and services that support access to learning through NZSL within education settings, the Board will not replicate or replace the Ministry of Education’s NZSL planning and funding in these areas, but will work with and support the Ministry of Education in its NZSL education strategic planning.


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