Module 13

Module 13 Home

Multi-cultural perspectives:





Section I - Introduction

A. General Introduction

B. Icebreaker activity

C. Goal Setting Exercise (optional)

D. Workshop Rationale - What is culture and why do we need cultural awareness?

Section 2 Cultural Perceptions of the Marine and Coastal Environment
Section 3 Application to Teaching Practice Section 4 Conclusion  


Section I - Introduction

A. General Introduction

Introduce the facilitator and give background to the workshop. Explain the aims and workshop outline using OHT 1 and OHT 2, emphasizing participatory nature of workshop format.

B. Icebreaker activity

The game of "Cultural Bingo" relaxes the group and establishes rapport amongst participants. It gets people used to the idea of speaking up and introduces key concepts. It can also be used as a classroom activity.

Distribute Resource 1 and instruct participants to mingle through the group looking for people who match the descriptions in the boxes. If the group is large enough, allow only one match per person to encourage greater mingling.

When the group is seated again briefly call for feedback. Any surprises? Who in the group has...?

Take home message - diversity of experiences within the group.

C. Goal Setting Exercise (optional)

This activity identifies expectations and skills of group members and sets `ground rules' for workshop such as maximum participation and respect for all points of view. It is optional and best done in the first session of a workshop series.

  • Divide into 3 small groups, each with a scribe and someone to report back
  • Ask groups to brainstorm:

    i What are you hoping to learn from this workshop as individuals and as a group? (i.e. your expectations)
    ii What can we contribute to this workshop as individuals and as a group? (i.e. personal skills and experience, role of participants)

• Each group reports back and sticks responses on wall for reference during the workshop.
• Facilitator summarises expectations and links to workshop aims. Acknowledge skills within group, set ‘ground rules’.

D. Workshop Rationale - What is culture and why do we need cultural awareness?

This activity challenges our perceptions and explores the concept of ‘culture’. It encourages participants to develop cultural awareness by examining values and attitudes through discussion rather than giving neat definitions or answers to particular cultural issues.

• Begin by calling for ideas from floor: what do we mean by culture?
• Distribute Resource 2. Ask people to reflect on the forces that have shaped their identity over the course of their life. How have these forces affected the way you see the world? Point to factors such as age, gender, family relationships, education, sexuality, peers, home environment, life experience, class, economic status and ethnic background.
• Note that concept of culture is complex. One approach is to look at culture in terms of a sense of belonging or identity. Identity is shaped by a multitude of factors, both at an individual and societal level. Ethnicity is one influence, but there are many more. There is diversity within every ethnic community.
• Note that cultural identity is mostly subtle ‘unseen’ values, customs and assumptions. It is a way of seeing the world rather than just the visible signs of ethnicity such as food or dress.
• Display OHT 3 and call for responses to the quote. Draw examples from the personal experiences of group members or the field of international relations.
• Note that we all see the world from our own perspective. We tend not to notice our cultural biases because we take them for granted as universal values or common sense truths.
• Note that ‘cultural perspective’ is more than just race or ethnicity. A person’s political and economic context shapes their world view. Where there is power imbalance between two parties, cultural biases become oppressive (refer back to quote on OHT 3).
• Every dominant culture has images that are commonly associated with mainstream society. If we actively search for alternatives to these stereotypes, we may uncover a rich cultural heritage that is not evident by the dominant images. Refer to Resource 3, 'Cultural Origins of Surfing', which can be used to engage students with concepts of cultural difference and the effects of colonization on indigenous cultures.
• Display OHT 4 with take home message - Cultural awareness is about exploring our value system, questioning the dominant paradigm and seeing the big picture. Avoid looking for cultural answers and let participants speak for themselves. The process is all-important

Section 2

Cultural Perceptions of the Marine and Coastal Environment

A. Historical Perspectives


The aim of this section is to highlight the historical contribution of migrants to shaping the development of coastal communities and the way in which we use marine and coastal resources in Australia.

Present a mini-lecture on the history of coastal settlement and use of marine resources using Reading 1 which discusses the primary role of ports and harbours in the settlement of Australian coastal towns, and the development of a multicultural society.

Case Study - Multicultural Broome and the Pearling trade

Give an outline of the history of Broome and the pearling trade using Resource 4.

Optional: Show exerts from the video Ted Egan's This Land Australia: Broome and the Pearl Coast, which shows original film footage of divers in full dress and a song written in homage to Japanese migrants in the pearling trade.


Group discussion - how could we use Broome in a teaching situation? Call for ideas and write them up on the wall.

Take-home message - ethnic communities have made significant contribution to development of coastal communities and the way we use marine resources. Broome is just one example; all coastal towns are migrant centres and will have their own story to tell.

Wake-up activity - habitat scramble

This game re-energizes participants and breaks participants into three groups for the next activity. It is a variation of musical chairs. Begin with participants seated in a u-shape or semicircle. Go around the group and assign each person one of three animal names (eg. crab, penguin, octopus, or any local marine species). Give each animal a signature sound and corresponding arm movement. (this is the facilitators chance to be creative!) Run through a couple of times with participants repeating the sound / movement of their species. Ask one person to stand in the centre and remove their chair from the circle. This represents habitat loss (eg. marina development, sewage out fall, or a local issue). When you call out an animal name, all members of that species must stand up and run to an empty habitat. The one who is left in the middle loses out and gets to call out the next animal name. Game is easily adaptable to local issues or for the classroom.


B. Culture And Personal Experience

The aim of this activity is to appreciate how culture and personal experience shape our perceptions of the marine and coastal environment. It identifies different uses of the coast and explores the notion of `Australian beach culture'.

Some contemporary authors describe Australia as a nation clinging to the fringe of a harsh dry continent. The coastal strip that supports 90% of the population is a kind of symbolic `verandah' from which we look out toward the sea. The beach itself is our refuge from an inhospitable land, a place of sensual delights and personal renewal. Lead a short discussion on the role of the beach in Australian society.

What kind of images do you associate with `Australian beach culture'? Are these images inclusive of multicultural Australia? Do you think the notion of `Australian beach culture' is culturally biased?


Divide the group into three based on animal names from the wake up activity. Hand out Resources 5, 6 and 7, giving one activity to each group. Ask groups to discuss the questions in relation to the stories and using their own experiences. Each group must chose their own form of expression to communicate these stories to the other groups. Each group then `reports back' using role play, dramatization, drawing etc.

At the end of the activity refer to the Coast Action poster. What uses of the coast are depicted? Write list on the wall. Which sectors of the community do you think might normally participate in these activities (think about age, economic status and cultural background)? From the work you have just done, can you think of other activities or images that could be included in the picture?

Take-home message : Multicultural Australia includes a diversity of experiences and relationships with the coast.


drawing out local diversity - look closely and it will be there


C. Migrant Experience - a personal story

This is an opportunity for members of local ethnic communities to share their experiences with the group. It is a process of cultural exchange so time should be allocated for questions and discussion at the end. The choice of what to talk about is up to the speaker, but suggested themes might include :

• their experience of migration
• memories of the sea from their own country
• practices and beliefs related to coastal life

During the planning phase you will get to know what is appropriate for them to discuss. Be clear about what you expect but above all be flexible. Their contribution may not conform to your original agenda but if it comes from the heart it will be deeply affecting for all involved.

D. Migration and Migrant Issues

The aim of this activity is to understand the issues facing migrant communities and how this can affect the way they use and value the coast.
Present a mini-lecture based on Reading 2. Note that for many migrants issues of settlement and cultural factors present barriers to the use of the coast and that this can limit their ability to form personal relationships with that environment.

Section 3

Application to Teaching Practice

A. Features of Best Practice in culturally aware Marine and Coastal Education

This activity uses case studies to illustrate successful strategies for involving people from non-English speaking background in environmental education and management.


Present a mini-lecture based on Reading 3 which outlines the case studies of Greening Hume’s Cultural Program, the Vietnamese Fisheries Education Project and the Inner Western Region Migrant Resource Centre’s Cultural Perception of the Coast Project.
Display OHT 5 to emphasize features of best practice.

B. Strategies for Accessing NESB communities

Present a mini-lecture based on Resource 9. Note need to value local knowledge and experience by starting with diversity within your class and school, then moving out into the community through local ethnic groups. Distribute Resource 10 for list of multicultural agencies.

C. Designing Activities

Distribute Resource 11 and outline strategies for taking the community development approach into the classroom.
• Call for ideas from the floor: Have these triggered any ideas?

D. Developing Sample Projects

Break into groups again for an activity to develop sample projects, using Resource 12.

Section 4


A. Summary

Highlight key concepts :

• bringing together people from diverse backgrounds
• learning through doing and working together

• drawing out local diversity - look closely and it will be there

B. Reflection

Ask participants to spend a few minutes reflecting on :

  • What did you get from todayís workshop (skills and perspectives)?
  • What is the first action you will take to implement what you have learnt?


C. Evaluation

Distribute Resource 13 evaluation sheet and ask participants to return to facilitator before they leave.