Making Multicultural Australia


What's New
A MULTICULTURAL history of Australia...
Hot words - Triggers for debate...
Lesson ideas and resources for teachers...
Student activities for home and school...
A MULTICULTURAL research library...
Download eLEARNING Objects (e-LOs)...

Key issues and landmark events in our diverse society...

A search for real meaning in emotional language...

Classroom materials designed by experienced educators...

Quizzes, research and discussion topics...

3000 pages of reports, articles, speeches, interviews...

Classroom resources: videos, audios, slides, interactives...

Stage 3 | Stage 4 | Stage 5 | Stage 6

Lessons most appropriate for 'Stage 5'
  Arab-Australian: What's in a name?
This lesson uses Hot Words from Making Multicultural Australia to generate student discussion. Student activities include finding the definitions, discussing them and then developing texts that could lead to more extended discussion. It is intended to explore the meanings of the words ‘Arab’, ‘Arabic’ and ‘Australian’, as well as the issues that may arise from different interpretations and understandings. In English the focus would be critical literacy, while in Geography issues of cultural identity would be more the focus. It could be a single lesson or extended into a series of lessons using the extension activities.
  Before the Modern Australian Nation
The areas in which people choose to live and settle are greatly affected by the type and abundance of resources in close proximity. This lesson serves as a basis for learning about the locations of different Aboriginal regions and the resources clans in those regions may have used. It can then be built upon by a discussion about environments and vegetation patterns in Australia. Information in the form of a map encourages students to use geographical skills such as direction. By using the climatic/vegetation map from the Bureau of Meteorology, students synthesise information from two sources, a higher order thinking skill. Also, by examining a photograph, students are engaged in an interpretation task whilst practicing geography skills. A Worksheet is included to support the classroom activities.
  Chinese History of Australia – Harvest of Endurance
The purpose of these lessons is to discover more about the Chinese community in Australia. These lessons provide students with an opportunity to investigate the history of the Chinese community in Australia from the perspective of a Chinese art work. The "Harvest of Endurance" is the Australian Museum's 50-metre long scroll of Chinese-Australian History and was a gift for Australia’s bicentenary. The associated questions require students to interpret the visual information in terms of perceived relationship to being in Australia, historical period of Australian history and historical implications. They encourage students to consider alternative perspectives on Australian history as well as address the question of the contribution of the Chinese community to Australian history and culture.
  Early Contacts - "Boat People" of the Past
This lesson uses graphic, audio and text resources from Making Multicultural Australia to explore the contact between the Macassan people of Indonesia and Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. As Mick Dodson says: “We were trading with the Asians for hundreds of years before you guys arrived… and the feature of that exchange was one of respect for difference”. Graphic details of this contact are described in the story by Charlie Wurramarrba, of Groote Eylandt, which is a primary source and gives us a picture of Aboriginal life and pre-British influences on their culture. It also illustrates the impact of the White Australia policy and how that changed their life. It is envisioned as series of lessons, but could be a single lesson as part of another unit of work.
  Every Individual has Rights
The intention of this lesson is to explore the relationship between language and how we understand certain ideas, like human rights, and how it affects the kinds of societies we create. This lesson uses Hot Words from this site to explore the definitions of phrases like ‘human rights, ‘international obligations’ and ‘equal opportunities’. What these words mean can greatly influence the way we think about these issues. This is an introductory lesson that could stand on its own or be at the beginning of a unit.
  Letters to the Editor
This lesson provides students with an opportunity to explore ideas and opinions around multicultural topics as they appear in the letters section of daily newspapers. As they are short texts and often in less formal language, letters can be more accessible to students and in this case can be used to identify the ‘hot’ topics of the day. These can then be correlated to the ‘Hotwords’ on Making Multicultural Australia.

Students are either given a hard copy of the newspapers or they can access the websites listed below and go to the letters page. The worksheet then allows recording and classifying the information collected. For example, on the 20/4/04 there were a number of letters discussing the events in the Middle East where the words ‘terrorist’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘Arab/Islamic’ were used. These are all included as ‘Hotwords’ on Making Multicultural Australia. Students can use the information available to unpack these words and consider how they are being used in the letters. They can also analyse the meanings and ideas that are created by the use of such words and the impact they may be expected to have on the reader of such a letter.

This analysis may then be extended to issues of culture and identity and how such words influence our thinking about these. Suitable as a single lesson or as part of other work like a unit on newspapers or mass media.
  Post War Immigration
In this lesson idea students are invited to examine immigration as a complex process using images, a video excerpt, various texts and policy documents from Making Multicultural Australia. This lesson idea intends to present the challenge of how the post-war immigration programme began in the context of the White Australia policy and developed into a more inclusive policy in the 1970s as attitudes in the community began to shift and in response to pressures to ‘populate or perish’ (Calwell). This idea is best conducted over several lessons to allow adequate exploration of concepts.
  Racism – An introduction
This lesson provides an introduction to racism. It begins by examining what the term ‘racism’ means and associated legislation. A cartoon task enables students to creatively depict their idea of what can be done to combat racism at school. This can then provide a springboard into another lesson on legislation, the consequences and extent of racism today. The acrostic poem is another creative medium. A worksheet is included to support classroom activities. Ideas are included for extension activities.
  Raising the Issue of Racism
This lesson raises the issue of racism. It begins with a definition, considers the ways it affects Australian society and examines ways of dealing with racism. It draws on legislation like the Racial Discrimination Act (1975) and considers reports like the National Inquiry into Racist Violence (1991). Students have the opportunity to explore how they as a group consider this phenomenon and challenges them to consider ways of countering racism. The idea of the lesson is also to draw attention to the resources at the Racism. No Way! website and to place the issue in an historical context. This lesson idea can be used for a single lesson or a number of lessons.
  Shaping Multicultural Australia
The topic begins by exploring the diversity of cultural backgrounds of the students in the class. Students then examine a range of cultural influences, explore what the term ‘multiculturalism’ means and how it has been interpreted in Australian Government policy.

The Making Multicultural Australia website has a comprehensive timeline of historical events. Each section develops the theme of multiculturalism from a number of perspectives. This lesson idea uses resources from this site as an entry point for understanding key events in the development of a multicultural identity for Australia.

This lesson idea is best conducted over several lessons, depending on the depth to which the teacher wishes to explore this subject. Three worksheets are included to support classroom activities.
  White Australia - Then and Now
The White Australia policy played an important role in the shaping of Australian demographics through racist means. This policy was slowly abolished by successive governments and now we have one of the most multicultural societies on earth, one motivation being to boost our population. However, every now and then, political groups both in Australia and overseas attempt to revive the ‘whites only’ notion of society.

This lesson uses Making Multicultural Australia resources to examine these concepts, and also aims to improve literacy and comprehension skills.

Worksheets are included to support classroom activities.
  Who is a Refugee?
The intention of this lesson idea is to examine issues associated with refugees and asylum seekers as they have impacted on contemporary Australia. It begins with definitions and then continues with material from Making Multicultural Australia, especially stories and children’s drawings. There are also references to materials which students can explore from the Roads to Refuge kit and from a number of websites devoted to refugees. At least three lessons could be based on this theme. There are also numerous ideas for extension activities.