Cultural characteristics of families
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Jeannie Baker: Mirror - Life Matters - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Jeannie Baker: Mirror - Life Matters - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | Cultural characteristics of families | Scoop.it
Two little boys, one living in big city Australia, the other in the Moroccan desert.
Katharine Thompson's insight:

Mirror is a picture book written by Jeannie Baker that is comprised of two parts designed to be read simultaneously. The book has no text. However, through Bakers use of collage the reader visually experiences a day in the lives of two boys and their families, one from inner city Sydney and the other from a small, remote village in Morocco. The text demonstrates that while each boy has a very different lifestyle, living in different countries, with totally different landscapes, customs and clothing. The families are essentially the same. They care for each other, they need to belong, to be loved by their loved ones and be a part of their community.

 

The text itself provides the perfect opportunity for students explore the cultural characteristics of two different families. There comparison also allows students to develop an understanding of the commonalities in families throughout the globe and enhance students identity as a global citizen by breaking down "us and them" dichotamies (Hicks, 2003).

 

This ABC interview allows students to delve deeper into the text by considering the reasons Jeanie Baker created this text and why she chose the format that she did. The interview is quite long and the whole interview would not be relevant for stage one students. However, relevant sections regarding her personal experiences of families in Morrocco and her thoughts regarding key themes in the text, played to Year 2 students via an Interactive White Board could be used as a stimulus for class dicussion.  As a form of assessment students could respond to comprehension questions that require them to recall and infer information based on the interview. Questions may include why did Jeannie Baker choose to write about a boy from Morroco? Did she have a possitive experience when she vistsed Morroco? Why? Why do you think she wrote two books, one about a boy in Sydney one about a boy in Morroco? What was the same and different about the two families? 

 

 

 

Hicks, D. (2003) Thirty Years of Global Education: A reminder of key principles and precedents. Educational Review, 55(3)

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Dust Echoes

Katharine Thompson's insight:

Dust Echoes is a series animated dreamtime stories from Central Arnhem Land. The Mimis tells the story of a young boy who follows the Mimi spirits into the underworld because he is insecure about his hunting skills and eager to impress his father. However, the father loves his son regardless of his weaknesses. When the boy leaves, the camp loses some of its much needed diversity. This resource is accompanied by a copy of the original story from oral history and study guide for educators which provides context and further understanding of the traditional meanings of the story. This increases the authenticity of the resource and allows students to move beyond the surface details that are presented by many dreamtime story resources (McLoughlin & Oliver, 2000). Each story has been iterpreted by contempory artists, musician, actors and animators, providing a truely engaging resource for students. 

 

The themes of identity and relationships with parents that are explored in this animation are particularly relevant for stage one students.However, McLoughlin & Oliver (2000) highlight that websites such as this that are 'local' in the sense that they are made in one context and culture, but visited by other cultures provides a challenge for teachers in terms of providing opportunities for cross cultural participation in which students identify the commonalities between the familial relationships depicted in this story and that of their own family. In order to address this students would be encouraged to dicsuss questions such as; What does this father value in his relationship with his son? What do your parents value about you? It also provides opportunity for students to explore The Dreamtime and how these stories are cultural artefact that inform the way families and kinship groups operated. 

 

However, watching the animation alone may not provide stage one students with a coherent understanding of the story. In response I would suggest a teaching acvitity that would involve reading the original story aloud to students in the class, asking them to create a story board of the key events using a graphic organiser, then showing them the animation and discussing as a class how the different aspects of this story are depicted in the animation. 

 

 

McLoughlin. C, Oliver. R. (2000) Designing learning environments for cultural inclusivity: A case study of indigenous online learning at tertiary level. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 16(1), 58-72.

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familytree.pdf

Katharine Thompson's insight:

This is an online resource that allows students to make their own family tree. There are various websites that allow individuals to make family trees. However, this was one of the few that was suitable for stage one students in that it is visually engaging and easy to navigate. This resource provides a stimulus for students to consider one of the key cultural characteristics of their family, which is their heritage. Australian classrooms are increasingly multicultural with students often coming from more than one cultural background. By engaging in the task of tracing their family history to find out who their ancestors were and where they came from students are encouraged to consider the different factors that influence their families culture today.It also allows students to engage with the concept of 'multiple identities' in which they can consider themselves an Australian as well an an individual of Greek, Chinese or Russian heritage. 

 

One of the limitations of this resource which arises from an effort to maintain its simplicity  is that the structure of the family tree is based on Western ideals and English names for members of the family. In a multicultural classroom, students may not refer to their grandparents as grandma and grandpa. This provides opportunities for students to engage in critical literacy. By posing questions for class discussion which involve students sharing the different names they call their family members. Should they change the family tree so you can have different names for family members?

 

Their ability to link their family tree and cultural characteristics of their family could be assessed through a written/ pictoral reflection on a cultural atrefact that has been passed on through the generations. This could be a recipe, a story, an object etc. 

 

 

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What the World Eats, Part I - Photo Essays

What the World Eats, Part I - Photo Essays | Cultural characteristics of families | Scoop.it
What's on family dinner tables around the globe? Photographs by Peter Menzel from the book "Hungry Planet"
Katharine Thompson's insight:

This resource addresses the question: What is on family dinner tables around the globe? It is presented in the form of a photo essay, which depicts families from different countries around the world and what they would eat in an average week. This resource provides a simple yet powerful depiction of a key cultural characteristic of families: food. By considering the food that different cultures and individual families consume, how they acquire it, who prepares it, who’s at the table, and who eats first, students develop an understanding that food provides a form of cultural communication that is rich with meaning. This resource could be used across the stages. However, it is particularly accessible to Stage One students because it's visual nature allows students to engage in higher order thinking skills regardless of their written literacy skills. 

 

 

The global perspective presented by this resource which allows students to realise the extent to which this cultural characteristic is diverse in families around the globe. This allows students to make important comparisons regarding the differences and similarities between the families in the photos and their own. While this is a possitive thing, it is important that students are not encouraged to make generalisations about dominant cultures in different countries. In order to ensure this, educators should develop activities that enhance students understanding that the role of food in different cultural practices and religious beliefs is complex and varies among individuals and communities. This process reorients students understanding of their identity in terms of their nationality towards an understanding of their identity as a global citizen, which is essential for them to adapt effectively to an increasingly globalised world (Hicks, 2003). 

 

One way in which this can be achieved is by looking at the diversity of foods eaten by children in their own class and comparing this to the photo that depicts what an average Australian family eats. Students could either take a photo next time their parents go grocery shopping and e-mail it to the teacher. The teacher could then compile these photos into a PowerPoint, which can be presented to the class and used to stimulate discussion. If that is not possible students could write a grocery list of the common foods they buy or bring in a recipe for a common meal that they eat at home which reflects their culture. This could be extended as a form of assessment if students were to present these recipes to the class, considering questions such as: Where does this recipe originate from? Who prepares this meal at home? Who do you eat this meal with? The teacher could also compile these recipes into a class cook book which not only gives students a picture of the diversity in their own class but the opportunity to explore each others cultures by cooking a classmates recipe in their own home. 

 

 

 

Hicks, D. (2003) Thirty Years of Global Education: A reminder of key principles and precedents. Educational Review, 55(3)

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Harmony Day - Lesson Plan - Anh's Story

Harmony Day - Lesson Plan - Anh's Story | Cultural characteristics of families | Scoop.it
Katharine Thompson's insight:

I was unable to directly "scoop" this resource because it is only available as an Ipad/Adroid application. The Harmony Day Stories app allows students to explore the story of a young Australian student of Vietnamese heritage (Ahn's) in augumented reality. Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology 

that allows "computer-generated virtual imagery information to be overlaid onto a live direct or indirect real-world environment in
real time" (Lee, 2012, p.14). Lee (2012) highlights that despite the potenital for the use of AR within educational setting to maximise learning opportunities, there has been limited use of this technology due to lack of financial support and understanding. This resource clearly demonstrates the benefits of this resource in egaging students as they are not only able hear Ahn's story but are able interact with an animated version of the Vietnamese foodmart where she shops with her grandmother. 

 

This is Ahn's story:

 

Hi. I'm Anh.

It's not often I ask myself who I really am, but that's what I'm doing right now.

We're going to have a day at school where we have to wear clothes and bring food to celebrate who we are and where our families are from.

Well, I was born here and so were both my parents. So I was thinking that I'd wear shorts and take some lamingtons. And celebrate being an Aussie: that's who I am!

But tonight my bà made my very favourite dinner: I call it 'magic noodles' and that makes her smile. Bà often looks really sad so it's good when she smiles. Her mother taught her to make the noodle soup in Vietnam; but she couldn't make it for a many years because her life was very hard. And when she first got to Australia, she couldn't buy the things to make it taste like it should.

But now there are lots of Vietnamese shops here. And I go with Bà when she buys the spices and incense that she has always loved.

So, I am an Aussie. But I love 'magic noodles' and it would make Bà so proud if I took them to school. I'm thinking that I really do have a special story to share about who I am and where my family is from.

 

This resource provides signifiact opporunity for students to explore cultural characteristics of family, particularly food, clothing and relationships. This application is particularly accessible for stage one students as it is designed from a students perspective. Anh herself engages in higher order thinking processes by reflecting on the cultural characteristics of her family and how this informs her identity as an "Aussie" with Vietnamese heriatge. This provides a scaffold through which students are able to reflect on their own culture and identity and a great stimulus for teachers to develop relevant activities. Class dicussion about Ahn's story may involve asking students questions such as; Why do you think that Anh decided to take Vietnamese noodle soup to school instead of lamingtons? Do you think that this was a difficult decision for her? Why do you think that Anh says her grandmother will be proud if she takes the noodle soup to school? How have your family members taught you about your culture?

 

Further activities may involve pinning where their families originate from on a world map. Students could also create a 'museum' where classmembers select one of the countries that their family member was born in, draw a picture representing something interesting about life in that country or bring in a photo or object. Students set up around the classroom and other classes/ parents can be invited in to explore the 'museum'. Students could be assessed on their understanding of the cultural characteristics of families, through a written/ pictoral reflection about their museum exhibit and others that they found interesting.  

 

Unfortunatelty one of the limitations of this resource is that it is only available through the use of an I-pad/ Android device. While the use of these technoligies are increasing in primary classrooms, it does mean the accessibility of this resource is reduced. While the use of the application of preferable as the interactive interface is particularly engaging for students, teachers could overcome this issue by presenting Ahn's story in a different format for instance "teacher in role".  

 

 

Kangdon, Lee. (2012) Augmented Reality in Education and Training, TrenchTrends, 56(2), p.13-21

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NYTimes: One Roof, Three Generations

NYTimes: One Roof, Three Generations | Cultural characteristics of families | Scoop.it
In a converted apartment building in Chinatown, five adults and seven children blend traditional values and rituals with modern roles and responsibilities.

 

This article from the New York Times by Sarah Kramer leads to many cultural question worth exploring.  How does migration impact the culture of families?  How is culture maintained and reproduced?  Why is maintaining cultural connection so vital to these families?  


Via Seth Dixon
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