HSIE K-6 - Local government structure and processes
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Bagless in the Bay - YouTube

A video released by the City of Canada Bay Council last year, encouraging residents to use less plastic bags. 

Lucy McVay's insight:

This video was released by the City of Canada Bay Council last year. It encourages residents of this local council area (and anyone else watching) to decrease their use of plastic bags and also to encourage people to bring their existing bags with them when they go shopping. This video demonstrates the local government’s role in promoting practices for sustainability, which is important in HSIE as one of the Cross-curriculum Priorities is ‘Sustainability.’

 

This video could be used while teaching a class, as an example of how a local government promotes a healthy environment. The students could then brainstorm ideas of how their own council area (if the school is not located within this area) could be more environmentally friendly, or they could do some online research on it – most council areas will have something about this on their website.

 

However, if I was using this resource and teaching in this area (I live in Concord West), as a follow-up to this video I would perhaps find out if someone from the council was willing to come out to the school and talk to the students about other things the council does to promote sustainability and what the students themselves can do to help. 

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Electoral Commission NSW

Electoral Commission NSW | HSIE K-6 - Local government structure and processes | Scoop.it

Voting information at a local, state and federal level for people in NSW.

Lucy McVay's insight:

This website contains information about elections across New South Wales at a local, state and federal level. The scooped site leads to the section specifically about local elections in New South Wales. The Stage 2 syllabus introduces concepts of civic action and civic duties, therefore an introduction to at least the local government voting process may be apt. However, teachers may find that this site is more appropriate when teaching a Year 4/5 composite class, as electoral processes do not come into the syllabus as a specific subject matter dot point until Stage 3. Despite this, I believe it is important to know the basics of this local government process and this site provides just that, in addition to other voting information. As a child I was always interested in how the voting system worked and I would always want to know what my parents were doing when they were filling out their ballots on election days. Consequently I believe that there would be interest in this resource for Stage 2 learners.

 

A potential activity (probably best for a Year 4/5 class) could be to stage a class “election” for various classroom roles and create a ballot paper for it – a good way to put the voting system into practice while making it relevant to the students.

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Local Government | Schools | Discover & Learn | Sydney Town Hall

Local Government | Schools | Discover & Learn | Sydney Town Hall | HSIE K-6 - Local government structure and processes | Scoop.it
The Sydney town hall website provides information on venue hire spaces, events, building history, architecture and construction. The website facilities are event information and specific room specifications for hire. You will also find extensive content on key features such as the Grand Organ, Centennial Hall and the newly established Collections of artefacts and memorabilia.
Lucy McVay's insight:

This site contains information that could provide a good introduction to how the local government works for Stage 2 learners. It acknowledges that the Australian Aboriginal people had their own form of local government long before the European colonisation. However, it does not elaborate on that point, therefore further resources are necessary for a well-rounded perspective, for example a website describing the Australian Aboriginal social structure. It describes how a typical local council works and what services they provide for their local community. There is also a hyperlink titled ‘Classroom Activities’ that contains a few suggestions for activities to try in the classroom.

 

After exploring this site, a basic classroom activity could be to then find the website for the local council area of the school you are at (it should be noted that this is not the City of Sydney Council website, just the site for Sydney Town Hall, where the council offices are) and explore the various services they provide and how they engage with their community. It would be worth finding out what kind of programs the council offers for school students, as there is the potential for an incursion or excursion. An opportunity to see in person how the local council works would be invaluable to the students and would also cover other subject matter in the HSIE syllabus.

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Reconciliation Action Plan in City of Cockburn - YouTube

The City of Cockburn believes in closing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians and are turning these intentions into real actions. We are...
Lucy McVay's insight:

This video is an excellent demonstration of how a local council has embraced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. The City of Cockburn is a local council in Western Australia. They state that they wish to “close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians” by taking real action. It outlines various projects that the council has undertaken, such as dual names on sign posts and street signs. The video was released two years ago, so it is definitely up-to-date. There are no stereotyping or racist connotations present in the video and appropriate terminology is used.

 

More importantly, the video includes the perspective of someone from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background. He speaks about how the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community has come to accept and join in Australia Day festivities in Cockburn, challenging the general view of Australia Day as “Invasion Day” held by many. He talks about the journey taken by the Indigenous peoples and the people of Cockburn as they have grown together over the decades.

 

Students could brainstorm ways that their community and local government has acknowledged and embraced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. This could be anything from acknowledgements of country to murals throughout the community. Further to this, it may also be worth looking into how well Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are represented in their local government. The students could also take on Reverend Sealin Garlett’s view and try to think of ways that the Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples could grow together as a community.

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Willoughby Council - Multicultural

Willoughby Council - Multicultural | HSIE K-6 - Local government structure and processes | Scoop.it
Willoughby City Council - Services for people of different languages and backgrounds.
Lucy McVay's insight:

Note: this site is merely a starting point for a potential activity. The aim of providing this site is to demonstrate the types of services a local council could provide to develop a global community within their local council area. This site lists the services provided by the City of Willoughby Council, such as Migrant Services and help for those who do not speak English. From here, the students can look up other local councils in the Sydney area and find out what services they provide to their citizens that encourage a global community. For example, the City of Hurstville Council and the City of Sydney Council provide a great deal of Aboriginal services and the Municipality of Strathfield Council provides English classes focused on shopping and gaining employment. 

 

The City of Willoughby Council is a good place to start as they have also established relationships with two “sister cities” in China and Japan – a clear connection to the Cross-curriculum Priority, ‘Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia.’ This activity would also provide students with an opportunity to “explore avenues, both formal and informal, for improving community life, including through local government agencies and procedures” (Board of Studies, 2006, p. 58).

 

It is really important to focus on councils that engage with other countries. It can be somewhat difficult to find resources that cover a global perspective on local governments, when they are just that – local!

 

It is also important to choose your online resources carefully – you could use any council site, if you really wanted to. There is a certain challenge in the use of technology – we need to use it to enhance students’ content knowledge, not just use it for the sake of using it. However, it is acknowledged that technology use and content knowledge are sometimes viewed separately (Mishra & Koehler, 2006, p. 1024), so it can be difficult. I think it is important to just remember that if you do not think it is really relevant, do not use it. 

 

References:

 

Board of Studies NSW. (2006). Human Society and Its Environment K-6. Sydney: Author. 

 

Mishra, P & Koehler, M.J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teacher College Record 108(6), 1017-1054.

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