DEC Scan Journal : Volume 34 Issue 3
2015 Volume 34, Issue 3 32 Contents Editorial Reflections Teaching & learning Research Curriculum support Share this Resource reviews The resources selected for review include both teacher professional learning and classroom resources in the following key multicultural education program areas: Key concepts Critical to effective multicultural education practice is the understanding of culture in contemporary Australian society and related concepts in modern multicultural education discourse. The resources selected for review aim to assist in the development of transformative multicultural education practice and inform the conceptual framework which underpins this practice. Culture Culture is a widely contested term that is variously defined (UNESCO). Everyone has a culture (or a number of cultures) which influences their perspectives, values, behaviour, and along with other factors, their personal identity. Current research recognises that people are increasingly identifying with multiple cultures as a result of migration, globalisation and intermarriage and that culture, and expressions of culture, adapt over time, across generations and according to social, regional and geopolitical contexts (Noble & Watkins, 2014). The dynamic and complex nature of culture in contemporary society means that traditional approaches that define culture or cultural groupings in simplistic ways or which reinforce generalisations about the perspectives, practices and beliefs of people from similar cultural ancestries are largely irrelevant. Instead, understanding cultural complexity and the exploration of identity, belonging, citizenship and community relations are critical for achieving intercultural understanding, community harmony and social inclusion in Australian society. Cultural diversity Cultural diversity is a term that is generally used to describe the variety of cultural or ethnic groups that exist in a society. NSW public schools reflect the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of the communities they serve. Student enrolment data, such as Indigeneity, country of birth and languages spoken at home, are indicators of the diversity of NSW public schools, but do not provide a full picture of the cultural complexity in contemporary classrooms, where students collectively speak over 200 different languages as a first or additional language, identify with diverse ancestries and hold a range of religious and spiritual beliefs. It should be noted that within commonly grouped cohorts of students, such as students from language backgrounds other than English (LBOTE) and students learning English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D), there is a great range of cultural, linguistic and religious diversity as well as varying levels of educational need. Intercultural understanding Intercultural understanding is a key capability to be fostered through the Australian Curriculum and NSW syllabuses. In order for teachers to assist students to critically engage in curriculum based activities designed to promote intercultural understanding, they must first develop an understanding of the nature of culture themselves, its Anti-racism education and community harmony Community engagement and communication Culturally inclusive curriculum and pedagogy English as an Additional Language/Dialect education Refugee student support programs. The nature of diversity is often seen in relatively straightforward ways, with student populations organised into lists of students’ language backgrounds or countries of birth, for example. Yet diversity is much more complicated than that.... the nature of diversity in Australia is becoming increasingly diversified... due to intergenerational change, cultural adaptation, intermarriage, transnational mobility and the widening cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of Australia’s immigrants and their children. Noble and Watkins, 2014.
Volume 34 Issue 2
Volume 34 Issue 4