This is a great resource for teachers as it gives an in depth incite into the importance of teaching cultural awareness in a primary classroom. This article places a positive emphasis on the impact that technology has had on children of today and how it can be advantageous in expanding their knowledge of the world around them. The writer uses her own experiences to detail how narrow-minded people can be should they not be exposed to a variety of cultures from an early age. This in turn can stifle an individual’s belief, which as a result fail to see the great issues that surround them. She states ‘Our students will struggle to serve as innovative contributors to our present and future societies unless they develop an understanding of, and appreciation for, our global partners.’ Connectivity is no longer an issue through social media and Skype, which all work in bringing people together all around the world. Utilizing technology can have a profusely greater effect on students as they can connect with students from other countries and become active members of the global community.
As an educator it is important to acknowledge the difficulties that were once faced when developing cultural awareness within schools. Students learning can be enhanced through ‘carrying out personal activity in collaboration with other people by using the tools, languages and social perspectives of the group’. (McInerney & McInerney, 2010) After having read this resource, as a pre service teacher I feel this can really enhance teaching practices. The examples throughout this article can be great tools in the classroom.
For a Stage one classroom, having students connect with a Pen Pal from a school in another country can help expand on the cross cultural understanding of both students participating. Students will be able to gain a broader understanding of their family life, school life, their customs and tradition, all through the interaction via social media and technology. This Pen Pal strategy that connects students all across the world can span over the course of the year.
As an assessment task, the teacher can link this learning about cultural awareness to an English literacy lesson. Focusing on the outcome EN1-2A plans composes and reviews a small range of simple texts for a variety of purposes on familiar topics for known readers and viewers, students can compose a written text in the form of a letter to their pen pal. Students will write a short written piece using a letter template about their own culture, outlining the things they enjoy doing with their family and the customs and traditions that are also associated with their family.
These letters can then be sent by post or scanned into an email and sent the student they are writing the letter too, in the corresponding country.
Board of Studies, NSW (2012) NSW Syllabuses for the Australian Curriculum. English K-6, Stage 1. Retrieved from http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/english-k10/content/871/
McInerney, D.M. McInerney, V. (2010). Educational Psychology: Constructing Learning. Fifth Edition. NSW: Pearson Australia.