Studying a sign language: What are hearing adults doing outside of class?

Louisa Willoughby, Cathy Sell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Scholars of second language (L2) learning and teaching are increasingly exploring students' use of the L2 outside the classroom setting, in recognition of the powerful effect this self-directed study can have on language learning. Within sign language studies, students have long been exhorted to immerse themselves in the Deaf community. However, until now we have lacked an evidence base of the degree to which they do this (or other out-of-class study), how effective they find it, or whether/how engagement changes as proficiency develops. This study explores these issues by considering responses from 157 students enrolled in four different levels of Auslan (Australian Sign Language) units at the same tertiary institution. Findings indicate that students at all levels have low engagement with structured revision but make good use of media resources and face-to-face interactions, and that uptake of these increase in relative frequency to their developing capabilities and personal networks. Innovative students also integrate Auslan study into everyday situations and interests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-478
Number of pages26
JournalSign Language Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

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