Drawn from the collection of the National Museum of Australia, the Symbols of Australia exhibition explored some of the symbols Australians have chosen to represent themselves and their nation.
|Scooped by Georgie Carter|
A national symbol is a symbol of any entity considering itself and manifesting itself to the world as a national community. It is important for students to understand the purpose of symbols and how they are used to convey meaning and become recognised as part of our identity. By identifying with Australian symbols and their significance in being Australian, students feel “a sense of personal power” (Gilbert and Hoepper, 2014).
The Symbols of Australia collection shows how Australian is represented by different symbols. Students can explore concepts such as national identity, culture, values and history through the online images in this collection.
Before visiting the Symbols of Australia exhibition, ask students what they think a symbol might be and to give examples of symbols they may already know (such as a students’ school uniform or logo, or a sporting club symbol). By drawing upon examples from student’s prior knowledge of symbols in their own environment, it heightens their engagement as it makes the content relatable (Clay, 1991). Following this, ask the students to build on these ideas by suggesting symbols that might be used to represent Australia.
Introduce the class to the Symbols of Australia exhibition using the interactive whiteboard. Enable students to identify with formal and informal symbols of Australia. Encourage students to consider what aspects of our national identity are these symbols are representing and what does this say about the Australian way of life; also consider how they came to symbolise these aspects.
Divide the class into small groups; allocate each group one symbol from the exhibition. Ask each group to examine their symbol and discuss what it says about Australia. Groups may use the exhibition and additional resources such as The Australian Government website:
Each group must report on their symbols by explaining to the class what aspect of Australia they think the symbols represent; how the symbol is portrayed in different ways; and what it tells us about ourselves as Australians, i.e. the things that are important to us as a nation.