Intercultural Understanding: more than food, flags and festivals
Wednesday, 9 November 2016
By Renee Kobelt
What does it mean to belong? How can we avoid stereotypes and remain culturally sensitive at the primary teaching level?
Through geography we teach about place, people, homes, environments and identity. Geography is more than just looking at places on a map; we can explore locations and characteristics, but unless we explore stories and consider the interconnectedness between people and places, we won't gain a deeper understanding of what life is like elsewhere, and why and how people are different.
Similarities and differences are important!
As cultural, social, environmental and technological changes transform the world, the demands placed on learners and education systems are changing. Technologies bring local and distant communities into classrooms, exposing students to knowledge and global concerns as never before. Traditional facts and knowledge of the world that you find in old encylopedias are no longer enough; teaching needs to extend beyond food, flags and festivals to include modern landscapes and ways of life. This means resisting the temptation to fall back on oversimplifications and the dominant narratives of 'first' and 'third' worlds.
Check out this fantastic geography leaders' resource video produced by the Department of Education in SA:
Students develop geographical thinking through two strands in the Australian Curriculum- geographical knowledge and understanding, as well as geographical inquiry and skills.
This is where Just One Day and the resources available through Just Like Me?
are so effective, giving students a context in which to learn through inquiry about both themselves and others.
Through Just One Day children are given an authentic experience, reinforcing their understanding and cementing the learning. Learning through authentic experiences gives the students an understanding and respect for other cultures, ways of life, places, conditions and helps develop a character of inclusion and empathy.
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