Exploring cultural identity through symbols
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Exploring cultural identity through symbols
H.S.I.E: CUES1 Communicates some common characteristics that all people share, as well as some of the difference e.g. recognises easily identifiable Australian symbols e.g. the Australian flag
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SYMBOLS IN A SUITCASE

SYMBOLS IN A SUITCASE | Exploring cultural identity through symbols | Scoop.it

“Australia only became a nation in 1901, but over time has accrued many symbols to represent itself”. “Symbols are invariably inscribed with multiple meanings; people will interpret them in different and sometimes contradictory ways. These meanings are not fixed but can change over time. Symbols go in and out of fashion. Some endure, others fade away, and new symbols emerge”- from site.

 

The site: This site offers all the tools that a teacher needs in order to engage students and allow them to develop a deeper understanding of Australia’s Identity, and as a result meet the relating indicator. Titled ‘Symbols in a Suitcase’ – students interact with physcial objects that have given/ influenced Australia, and their current identity e.g. vegemite, a Holden car and the Australian flag. The page offers expert explanations of ten of Australia’s main symbols, a teacher can explore and use this content to enhance lessons. Further,there are links provided to pdfs or external pages which provide teachers with lesson plans that relate to the ‘symbols in the suitcase’. Note: A teacher can create a suitcase relevant to the age group of the students in their class. 

 

Learning experiences:

Literacy: In my opinion students are already engaged with this resource, however, to provide deeper understanding and engagement a teacher can use one of the links provided on the page e.g. http://www.nma.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/240170/symbols-activities.pdf; A class discussion occurs about how the symbols in the case may have developed and changed overtime, they then think deeply about what symbols they believe represent current Australia. In groups students create an advertisement via a poster for an overseas tourist market. The teacher assesses the successfulness of students learning by the level of understanding demonstrated by the students in their advertisement.

 

Literacy: As homework students select five symbols that represent themselves and write a short description about how they shape their identity, if possible students bring an item into class for the follow up lesson. Students present their symbols to the class  e.g. their football logo, a place they have visited etc. A question/answer session occurs between the teacher, the presenter and the students, where students begin to develop their intercultural understanding skills (Board of Studies NSW, 2006, p.13). Through this discussion the teacher assesses all student understanding; i.e.  what a symbol is and how it has shaped their identity.

 

Reference:

Board of Studies New South Wales. (2006). Human Society & Its Environment K-6. Sydney, Australia. Board of Studies NSW.

National Museum Australia. (No Date). Symbols in a Suitcase. Retrieved April 10,2013 from http://www.nma.gov.au/education-kids/classroom_learning/activities/symbols

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Megan Kopke's curator insight, October 31, 2013 4:03 PM

the way students (and anyone else, really) can establish an identity for themselves, for their culture, their country, anything!  also, how symbols that define identities may be different depending on who is describing the identity... students may use different symbols to describe their country 

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GUDJAL BOOK OF ANIMALS VIRTUAL BOOK

GUDJAL BOOK OF ANIMALS VIRTUAL BOOK | Exploring cultural identity through symbols | Scoop.it

“Language is the most effective means of human communication. It uses symbols to which the users give the meanings. We use language to communicate our thoughts, feelings, intentions, attitudes and desires to others” (Kathmandu University, 2010). Language then is a symbol that is part of one’s identity; as a teacher it is important to understand this link and its place in the curriculum. The video ‘Reawakening Australia’s Aboriginal Identity’ is a great resource to develop or enhance a teachers knowledge on this topic (view here): http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xw14fd_reawakening-australia-s-aboriginal%20languages_news#.UXDRZ6KKL44http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/primary/hsie/assets/pdf/talkingidentity.pdf

 

The site: This digital book instantly engages students as it captures their attention and interests, it is out of the ordinary.  It is suitable for Early Stage One as is uses images of Australian animals (a symbol) and links the Aboriginal name (Gudjal Aboriginal Language) of these animals using a voice over, a useful tool as the names are often difficult to pronounce. Understanding the way that others communicates provides students with a more diverse understanding of the people around them, thus developing their intercultural understanding skills (Board of Studies NSW, 2006, p13). Whilst this picture book does explore one specific Indigenous Language it relevance is still valid, as it is exploring a relevant culture other than their own.

 

Learning experiences:

Literacy: Prior to reading the book this interactive map of Australia would engage and educate students about the diversity of Aboriginal language across Australia http://www.abc.net.au/indigenous/map/

 

Students interact with the book learning about Australian animals using the Gudjal Aboriginal Language.

Use this additional resource to provide further examples: http://enc.slq.qld.gov.au/vbook/slq/gudjal_bk_of_birds/index.htm

To improve the quality of this resource and the learning experience, it would be essential to make the lesson more ‘local’ so that students can relate deeply to it. For instance, it would be essential to get an Indigenous person from the community, or a student in the class to talk about their native language using the same examples in the book. The teacher assesses student understanding via observation and questioning of student knowledge.

 

References:

Board of Studies New South Wales. (2006). Human Society & Its Environment K-6. Sydney, Australia. Board of Studies NSW.

France-Presse, A. (2012). Reawakening Australia’s Aboriginal Language. Retrieved April 8, 2013 from http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xw14fd_reawakening-australia-s-aboriginal%20languages_news#.UXDRZ6KKL44http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/primary/hsie/assets/pdf/talkingidentity.pdf

Horton, D. (1996). Indigenous Language Map. Retrieved April 8, 2013 from http://www.abc.net.au/indigenous/map/

Kathmandu University. (2010). BODHI Interdisciplinary Journal. Retrieved April 17, 2013 from http://www.ku.edu.np/bodhi/vol4_no1/12.Rebati_Neupane._Language_as_a_Way_of_Shaping_Identity.pdf

Santo, W. (No Date). Gudjal Book of Birds. Retrieved April 8, 2013 from http://enc.slq.qld.gov.au/vbook/slq/gudjal_bk_of_birds/index.htm

Santo, W. (No Date). Gudjal Book of Birds. Retrieved April 8, 2013 from http://enc.slq.qld.gov.au/vbook/slq/gudjal_bk_of_animals/index.htm

 

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AMERICAN SYMBOLS

AMERICAN SYMBOLS | Exploring cultural identity through symbols | Scoop.it

Every person around the world has a unique identity which is defined by many characteristics, including culture and symbols. It is important for students to develop an awareness not only of their own identity, but also others, and this is best captured through gaining a global perspective. Students explore how symbols of other countries influence  identity (Board of Studies NSW, 2006, p.11).

 

The site: This website is a great teaching resource as it not only provides relevant learning activities and additional resources but also specific and insightful information about the main symbols of America.

 

Learning experiences:

Using this resource and the Americas Symbols: Teachers Resource Book (click on link in references section) a teacher can create a range of rich learning experiences. Some examples would be:

Literacy: ‘Shared/interactive’ writing; upon discussing the National Bird of America in pairs students critically think about, discuss and reach a decision about what animal they would choose as the National Bird by using a pros/cons list of the qualities of that animal. Students then individually write a letter to the president stating their case. Assessment: Students need to identify that they understand the purpose of symbols e.g. students can justify why they have chosen the particular bird e.g. because it is a strong and determined bird and I want my country to be those two things.

 

Lesson: A personal favourite that I would incorporate into my classroom would be conducting a symbol search either at the library or in the local community, where students learn about what symbols represent other groups of people in their own community. Assessment: Using a magazine students cut out everyday symbols and create a collage i.e. students identify that symbols are not just related to country but are in everyday life.

 

References:

Library of Congress. (No Date). Teachers Guide Primary Source Set. Retrieved April 9, 2013, from http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/symbols-us/pdf/teacher_guide.pdf

Newbridge Early Social Studies (No date). American Symbols: Teachers Resource Book. Retrieved April 10, 2013, from http://www.newbridgeonline.com/articles/820795S_ESS_AmericasSymbolsSA.pdf

 

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ABORIGINAL SYMBOLS

ABORIGINAL SYMBOLS | Exploring cultural identity through symbols | Scoop.it

The site: This website has been curated by the Victorian Government, therefore it is assumed that an array of research would have been conducted to develop accurate information and resources. This website provides teachers with the knowledge, skills and tools to create a lesson about ‘exploring identity through symbols and storytelling’.

 

Symbols have been a prime tool for Australian Aborigines to tell and retell stories overtime.These symbols have particular meanings for different groups of people and as a result play a major role in shaping the cultural identity of Aboriginal Australians. The Central Art Aboriginal Art store provides a deep understanding/ example of some of these symbols. http://www.aboriginalartstore.com.au/aboriginal-art-culture/aboriginal-symbols-glossary/ The main website uses Aboriginal Artworks as a prime tool in teaching others about the use of symbols in telling stories and shaping identity.

 

Learning experiences:

To begin with, students explore the qualities of Aboriginal artworks (provided on the site) to discover their meaning. A class discussion then occurs about what the students think is happening in the artworks. Secondary research as a class is then conducted to uncover their hidden meaning (assessment through discussion and questioning).Students then work through a range activities (provided on the site) to help them discover their own identity. They begin by defining themselves, reflecting on their life and then creating an identity spiral/symbol which represents themselves. Students then present these to the class as a form of assessment, the teacher  questions students to examine if they have understood the link between symbols and identity. Literacy: Students create a personal recount about the processes involved in the development of their own symbol i.e. why they created their symbol in that particular way, how does it reflect their identity? etc

Note: As teachers we need to ensure that we are sensitive to the Aboriginal culture i.e. ensuring that we uphold copyright therefore not copying or using Aboriginal symbols.

 

Reference:

National Gallery of Victoria. (No Date). Tradition and Transformation. Retrieved 8 April, 2013, from http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/ngvschools/TraditionAndTransformation/symbols/

The Central Art Aboriginal Art store. (No date). Aboriginal Symbols Glossary Articles. Retrieved April 17, 2013, from http://www.aboriginalartstore.com.au/aboriginal-art-culture/aboriginal-symbols-glossary/

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AUSGOV SYMBOLS

AUSGOV SYMBOLS | Exploring cultural identity through symbols | Scoop.it

“People interpret their experiences through the language, symbols and ideas of their culture” (Gilbert et al, 2011, p.288) and as a result they develop a unique identity.

 

Broader identities, such as culture or country are continuously developing and changing and therefore students need to develop an idea of ‘who I am’ and further ‘who we are’ as two separate entities that are interrelated (Gilbert et al,2011, p.290) (Board of Studies NSW, 2006, p.10).

 

The site: This website is exceptional through its relevance, organisation of information and its validity as it has been created by the Australian Government. Using the information on this website, a teacher can create a range of meaningful learning experiences. Through this students develop an understanding of their broader culture i.e. what symbols represent their own county, Australia, thus  ‘who we are’, and further they develop an understanding of ‘who I am’. This source increases a teachers knowledge on such symbols, for instance;  The National Anthem,  National Dress, Commonwealth Coat of Arms, National Colours and The Australian Flag. The website provides in depth knowledge on these topics by clicking on relevant links, where a teacher can explore the topic in more depth.

 

Learning experiences:

The provided information can be used in combination with the Educational Activities provided on the website A-Z Kids Stuff http://www.atozkidsstuff.com/aus.html which explores activities that correlate with the K-6 H.S.I.E Syllabus ‘skills’ component. The site is divided into music, additional links, and stories; each aspect provides lesson ideas which correlate with the main resource.  For instance;

Literacy: Interactive slideshow: Students interact and gain a deep understanding of the ‘The National Geographics of Koalas’ by ‘reading, viewing, listening’ (Board of Studies NSW, 2006, p.11). Upon interacting with this page students/ the class can research other Australian Animals using the same resource  or as a form of assessment students can write a factual report about; the life cycle of a Koala,  as a result the teacher can assess the students level of understanding gained from the activity.

 

References:

A to Z Kids Stuff, Fun Educational Activities. (No Date). Australia. Retrieved April 10, 2013 from http://www.atozkidsstuff.com/aus.html

Australian Government. (No Date). National Symbol. Retrieved April 9, 2013 from http://australia.gov.au/topics/australian-facts-and-figures/national-symbols

Board of Studies New South Wales. (2006). Human Society & Its Environment K-6. Sydney, Australia. Board of Studies NSW.

Gilbert, R. Hoepper, B. (2011). Teaching Society and Environment. Australia. Cengage Learning Australia

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