Matthew’s Auslan Learning Journey

Deaf Connect Contact Centre officer and former Education student Matthew Lovett tells us about his Auslan learning journey, and his love of a language that doesn’t require him to sit still! 

My great uncle and aunty were Deaf. I only met them once at a birthday party when I was young, but still remember them with their Deaf friends communicating in sign language – I think this is what planted the seed of Auslan in the back of my brain! 

When I finished school, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, and I came into contact with someone who knew Auslan, and from there researched where I could study it myself. As soon as I started studying it, I knew it was something I wanted to continue with, for my own personal growth as well as being able to support the Deaf community. 

I actually started studying Auslan a little over ten years ago. I started with an Auslan introduction course with what was then Deaf Services Queensland, before moving onto the Auslan II course. I dropped out of uni to pursue this passion, and continued my studies up to a Certificate IV. This has allowed me to develop a career working with and supporting the Deaf community. 

What I really enjoyed about learning Auslan was that it was a visual language, and a complete language, with sentence structure, tone and expression all effecting how you deliver communication. 

I think it’s a really effective way of communicating in a range of environments, but also it’s really helped me with my non-verbal communication and how I express myself. 

It also worked well with my particular learning style. I’m not someone who does well sitting still – I learn best through doing things, and consider myself a kinaesthetic learner. Being able to follow along with our Deaf teachers allowed me to develop my skills in a very genuine way. 

I’d definitely recommend learning Auslan with Deaf Connect. You will improve your own communication skills, as well as developing your connection to a large community that exists here in Australia – the Deaf community. 

I found studying community classes as a really valuable step for me. It was a nice introduction to what Auslan is, and allowed me to ease into it.  

Then when I progressed onto my Certificates (I, II, III and IV) I already had that foundation, meaning I was confident going into a new learning environment.  

In the future I’d like to continue my Auslan studies, by completing a Diploma in Auslan, which would then give me the language skills to then continue into studying interpreting, should that be a path I’d like to pursue in the future.  

For now, I enjoy my work with Deaf Connect. Having worked at Expression Australia in Melbourne a few years ago, it’s lovely to return to a place where I can reconnect with some old friends and use Auslan in the office again! 

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