New Level One Resources

19 June 2020

TeachSign and Merge NZ are excited to launch new NZSL Level One resources: 20+ Deaf culture videos, 33 assessment materials, and 35 teaching / class sample videos.

So, what’s the story behind this?

In 2018, the Office for Disability Issues commissioned a large project to look into NZSL teaching, and an NZSL tutors survey was conducted to look at improving NZSL Level One curriculum. A resources advisory group met in June 2018 to discuss the report, and make recommendations. With support from the NZSL Board, the Office for Disability Issues contracted Merge to do a large-scale one-year project to improve and develop new NZSL Level One resources.

Deaf Culture videos

Language and culture are strongly related to each other. It’s a must for NZSL learners to understand Deaf culture, such as visual conversational behaviours and cultural knowledge. Without an understanding and appreciation of Deaf culture, NZSL learners are missing something.

Over twenty Deaf culture videos have been filmed at Auckland Deaf Society showing Deaf and hearing people interacting and using cultural behaviours. NZSLTA members can download these videos on TeachSign website to show students. If you want to use closed captions, you will need internet connection to show videos directly from TeachSign website. These videos will be available in NZSL students’ level one homework webpages later on.

Enjoy watching Deaf culture videos!

Assessment materials

A range of NZSL assessment materials have been developed for NZSL Level One, which include comprehension quizzes, expressive tasks, and placement assessment. You could give your students a quiz at the end of each term to find out how they are doing. It is up to you to mark the quiz yourself, or ask students to mark during class time. The placement assessment tests (mid-year and at end of level one) will help you find out whether an interested student from another NZSL class is ready to do your class.

Teaching samples

We now have over 51 teaching sample videos on TeachSign website, which include old units 1-3 teaching samples produced in 2014. During the summer of 2019-2020, Victoria Lessing was brave to be filmed teaching 1A class for 8 weeks. Special thanks to Victoria for showing her professional teaching skills. These class videos are edited, which means you can watch approximately 1.5 hours of teaching per lesson = 12 hours of 1A teaching footage! These videos are available for NZSL tutors registered with RAP. So if you’re new, get registered with RAP to watch these videos to help you teach better. There are 20 new short teaching samples focusing on selected units 4-9 activities. So, if you do not understand an activity, you could visit TeachSign website and see if a video is there explaining the activity.


TeachSign wishes to thank the NZSL Board and ODI for their financial support with this project.

Also, TeachSign would like to congratulate Merge NZ, their brilliant crew and signers for producing these much-needed new resources. See a full list of people involved with this project at the end of this page. Handswave everyone.

Missed other new resources? Click below for more info:


The team

Deaf culture

  • Script writer: Lynette Pivac, Victoria Lessing
  • Camera: Victoria Lessing, Jaime Brown
  • Video editing: Jaime Brown, Grace Covey


  • Developer: Lynette Pivac, Susie Ovens
  • Proofreading: Jaime Brown

Teaching/class video samples

  • Presenters: Victoria Lessing, Julie-Anne Taylor
  • Camera: Wendy Orellana, Monica Leach, Greg Lessing
  • Video editing: Jaime Brown


  • Project management: Merge NZ
  • Advisors: Sara Pivac Alexander, Lynette Pivac
  • Website: Kirsten Morgan
  • Signers: Wendy Orellana, Marianne Spencer, Tamatoa Mana, Grace Covey, Darryl Alexander, Greg Lessing, Jaime Brown, Victoria Lessing, Jennifer Lum, Rosie Elder, Daryl Crosbie, Susie Ovens, Kelly Neves, Mark Fellows and Meghan Coppage, Damiano Agnew, Sally McAra, Gabrielle Hepburn, Kathy O'Carroll, Cheryl Astley