Intercultural understanding is one of the seven General Capabilities identified by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACAR). Cultural understanding is a key requirement for students to acquire in order to function effectively in a global economy and within the 21st Century and beyond. ACAR defines intercultural understanding as, ‘students learning about and engaging with diverse cultures in ways that recognise commonalities and differences, create connections with others and cultivate mutual respect’. To survive and thrive post schooling, students need to be exposed to other cultures in order to learn about multiple perspectives in order to make connections and negotiate difference.
The Australian Government declared 21 March Harmony Day to coincide with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day allows everyone in Australia to celebrate cultural diversity and all its benefits to our society. For students to celebrate difference, they need to understand their own culture and belief system and compare and contrast it with other cultures. This gives insight to the student’s own perspective and that of other people and cultural groups. By making connections to commonalities, and negotiating difference in regards to culture, students gain valuable insight and gain new perspectives in order to enrich their way of seeing, doing and being in the world.
I am fortunate to work in a school that has more than 70 ethnicities and 48 language groups. What I love most about the richness of the school’s diversity is the connectedness the students have with forming a community where everyone belongs.
We celebrated the day with student cultural performances, sharing cultural food and enjoying special guest rappers and singers from the SBS ‘The Logan Project’ Jr N Rosa Ejunio and Mike Orcher (Mad Mike).
612 ABC Brisbane radio broadcasted live from our school. ABC reporter, Terri Begley interviewed one of our refugee students from Afghanistan to share his story. A number of our students are refugees who have come to Australia on humanitarian visas.
Currently we are in the process of compiling a digital book of art work and stories shared by the refugee students who have travelled to Australia under very tragic circumstances. The blessing is that we get to celebrate their gifts and talents in our school and country by calling them fellow Australians.