Auslan student news a sign of the times in broadcasting


Inside the primary school with its own TV studio, where student reporters create news with a very important difference.

In a well-lit classroom in the suburbs of Adelaide, primary school student Tanya is standing in front of a green screen, reporting the news.  

“Welcome to W6 Klemzig news announcements,” she says.

Her classmate Simon records the report on an iPad, while another classmate, Prabin, watches carefully for mistakes.

The students at Klemzig Primary School take turns in each role until they’ve finished recording the week’s local news, world news and important school announcements.

Though they’re having fun in the process, this is a class with a serious purpose.

All the reporters are deaf, and their news is recorded in Auslan, also known as Australian sign language.

“We’ve got this program set up so that deaf people know what’s going on in the world,” says Tanya.

“Deaf people can’t hear the news on the radio, they can’t hear, so we need to find out information and share it around.”

Klemzig Primary is a bilingual school, where all students learn Auslan. Some parents of children at the school are deaf, as well as 18 students.

The news reports, which are edited by the reporting team and later broadcast on screens around the school, are designed to help those with hearing impairments access information they would otherwise find difficult to get.

Kyle Miers, Chief Executive of Deaf Australia, says access to information is a continual barrier for many deaf Australians.

“There’s a whole range of matters where information is made purely via the spoken word, and unfortunately deaf people miss out on that,” he says.

Sarah Lewis, a teacher at Klemzig Primary, started the news program at the school in order to help address that problem, inspired by similar programs run by schools in the United States.

“It’s important, because the hearing children pick up a lot,” she says.

“They overhear a lot of things. Their parents’ conversations, what’s happening on the radio, TV… they might not necessarily be watching it, but they’re hearing what’s happening, and deaf children miss out on a lot of the day’s events.”

Doing the news is helping student reporters like Prabin build confidence.

After moving to Australia from Nepal last year, he’s learning Auslan as a second sign language.  

“It feels good to work with the three of us together,” he says.

“We’re sharing this job, working together as a team.”

Young newsreader Simon sees other benefits.

“It’s good fun,” he says. “And I get to skip a class, too.”


Source SBS

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