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Intercultural Understanding

1. From ACARA:

In the Australian Curriculum, students develop intercultural understanding as they learn to value their own cultures, languages and beliefs, and those of others. They come to understand how personal, group and national identities are shaped, and the variable and changing nature of culture. The capability involves students in learning about and engaging with diverse cultures in ways that recognise commonalities and differences, create connections with others and cultivate mutual respect.

Intercultural understanding is an essential part of living with others in the diverse world of the twenty-first century. It assists young people to become responsible local and global citizens, equipped through their education for living and working together in an interconnected world.

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA 2008) recognises the fundamental role that education plays in building a society that is ‘cohesive and culturally diverse, and that values Australia’s Indigenous cultures’ (MCEETYA, p. 4). Intercultural understanding addresses this role, developing students who are active and informed citizens with an appreciation of Australia’s social, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, and the ability to relate to and communicate across cultures at local, regional and global levels.

Organising elements

The Intercultural understanding learning continuum is organised into three interrelated organising elements:

  • Recognising culture and developing respect
  • Interacting and empathising with others
  • Reflecting on intercultural experiences and taking responsibility

The diagram below sets out these elements.

Organising elements for Intercultural understanding

 2. Resources

Global Education: (filter by issues) http://www.globaleducation.edu.au/resources-gallery/resource-gallery-teaching-activities.html

Asia Education Foundation: http://www.asiaeducation.edu.au/teachers/professional_learning/intercultural_competencies/intercultural_understanding_landing_page.html

 AEF: A What Works research program - The eleven schools featured in the research represent a spectrum of approaches to intercultural understanding, from those that involve minimal change to the existing curriculum to those that feature innovations in teaching and learning. Intercultural Understanding thru Asian Perspectives: http://www.asiaeducation.edu.au/policy_and_research/what_works_series/what_works_3/what_works_3_landing_page.html

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 2006, Guidelines on Intercultural Education, Paris: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001478/147878e.pdf


A unit developed for AFSSSE when the Olympic Games were held in Beijing.  This unit could be adapted to any Olympic or Commonwealth Games and any year level. It has an emphasis on learning enough about the culture of the host country to develop a culturally appropriate Opening Ceremony: AUSTRALIA-CHINA.doc

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