Module 13


Multi-cultural perspectives:





Resource 1 Cultural Bingo Resource 2 Sources of Socialisation Resource 3 The Cultural Origins of Surfing
Resource 4 Multicultural Broome and the Pearling Trade Resource 5 A Childhood by the Sea Resource 6 The Beach in Community Life
Resource 7 A Journey Across Seas Resource 8 Sense of Identity / Sense of Place Resource 9 Accessing Migrant Communities
Resource 10 Contact List Resource 11 Teaching Strategies Resource 12 Sample Projects
Resource 13 Evaluation Form


Resource 9

Accessing Migrant Communities

Source: "Embracing Cultural Diversity in Parkland Planning and Development", by D. Bouzalas and L. Kendal in conference papers Changing Societies: Challenges for Parks and Recreation, Eighteenth National Congress of the International Federation of Parks and Recreation and First National Conference of Parks and Leisure, Australia (1998).

The first step to bringing cultural diversity into your teaching practice is to start with the resources you have in your own classroom. Give your students a chance to talk about the cultural background of their families and friends. Invite parents to come and share their experiences with the class. If they are active within their own ethnic community this could be a way extending networks out into those groups. There may be teachers or other members of the school community who may also be interested in being involved in some sort of cross cultural exchange. The more you get to know your local community the more diversity you will find!


At a broader level there are a number of established channels through which to access migrant communities :

A great way to make contact with people from a range of backgrounds is through English as a Second Language classes run by Centres of Further Education. ESL teachers are often keen to have guest speakers or to involve students in excursions and other activities. Their focus is educational so there are clear opportunities for collaboration with schools and community education programs.


Ethno-specific groups are groups of people with a common background or language who get together to socialize and support each other (eg. Vietnamese Senior Citizens and Spanish Speaking Women's Group). These groups often meet in community (health) centres, neighbourhood houses, and Migrant Resource Centres. Groups can be accessed through community workers at these centres; through ethno-specific welfare agencies (eg. Russian Ethnic Representative Council) or through your local council. Working with these groups is a way of accessing people who are more difficult to reach through more commonly used mediums of communications.

Religious centres such as churches, mosques or temples are key meeting points for many communities and can be useful way of developing networks with community minded people.


Generally it is more effective to proactively approach group and invite them to participate rather than sending out information and waiting for their response. They may not see the benefit of being involved or may not understand your intentions. Trust can be developed through face to face contact, which can overcome misconceptions and dissolve barriers.


Groups have nominated leaders who can provide the `key' to working with their community. Often they are chosen because of their familiarity with societal structures (they know how to get things done) and the community trusts their judgment and ability to represent their needs. Building a relationship with community leaders can encourage greater and participation and ownership within the community.


The benefits of getting to know the people you are working with cannot be underestimated. This may involve finding out about the culture, norms, migration patterns of a group. This may happen informally over a cup of tea or by formally approaching agencies that represent those communities. This will mean that activities are more likely to meet the needs and interests of the group and that the people involved will have a clearer understanding of your objectives. Gradually trust will develop and the opportunities for involvement will gradually unfold. It is important to be flexible - what sounds like a great idea to you might not be relevant for the community involved.


It is important to be sensitive to different language needs. This is a way of showing respect and recognizing that just because their English is limited does not mean that they do not understand environmental issues. Avoid jargon without simplifying concepts, and use an interpreter when necessary. Non-verbal communication is a particularly powerful tool for explaining concepts, especially in the natural environment where there is so much to explore.


As educators it is important to remember that for the lay person environmental issues can often appear somewhat remote to their everyday experience. To help people understand where you are coming from you need to give them a chance to experience marine and coastal education for themselves. Invite them to

  • visit your marine education centre
  • join in a coastal revegetation project
  • attend a rock pool ramble
  • visit a little known local beach
  • have a picnic by the sea

Simple activities like these can overcome the language barrier because they rely on doing things together rather than just talking. They will give you a chance to get to know each other better and will stimulate some interesting discussion and ideas.

Resource 10

Contact List

Each State should have a Multicultural Resource Directory which lists ethnic communities councils, community organisations, elderly organisations, media, interpreting and translating services, migrant resource centres, multicultural organisations, and relevant government departments in your area. Available through Multicultural Affairs Unit of State Government


Migrant Resource Centres

Migrant Resource Centres are non-government organisations that assist with the settlement needs of migrant communities as well as informing the general community and mainstream service agencies about the issues facing migrant communities. Inquiries should be directed to the Executive Officer or Director. There are MRCs in every state and territory, with 35 nationwide. For contact details call directory assistance.


Ethnic Community Organisations

Federation Of Ethnic Communities Council Of Australia is the national umbrella group for ethnic community organisations (Women's organisations not necessarily covered).

PO Box 344
Curtin St
ACT 2605
Ph : 02 6282 5755
State Ethnic Communities Councils (ECCs) can put who in touch with community groups in your area. Direct your inquiry to the Executive Officer.
ECC of Tas
49 Molle St
Ph : 03 6231 5067
Multicultural Communities Council of SA
Walsh Building
44 Gawler Place
Ph : 8223 6962
221 Cope St
NSW 2017
Ph : 02 9319 0288
64 Angrove St
Ph : 08 9227 5322

PO BOX 394
Civic Square
ACT 2608
Ph : 02 6249 8994

GPO Box 331
Ph : 08 8981 1784
Statewide Resource Centre
217 Church St
Ph : 03 9427 1300
26 Marivale St
07 3844 9166

English As a Second Language Centres

Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES) and centres for further education offer English as a Second Language classes for migrant communities and newly arrived adults. State Education Departments can put you in touch with Language Centres which run ESL classes for children.

PO Box 1222
NSW 2010
Ph : 02 9289 9222
English Language and Literacy Services
5th Floor
Renaissance Centre
127 Rundle Mall
Ph : 08 8224 0922
Faculty of Communication and Community Services
Canberra Institute of Technology
PO Box 826
Ph : 02 6207 4963
4th Floor
12 St. Georges Tce
PERTH 6000
Ph : 08 9325 1728
GPO Box 4381QQ
Ph : 03 9926 4666
NT Adult Migrant Education Centre
Faculty of Foundation Studies
Northern Territory University
Ph : 08 8927 8344
Institute of Adult Education
GPO Box 1182M
Ph : 03 6233 7119
Language Services
GPO Box 2599
Ph : 07 3234 1669


Multicultural Environmental Projects

Laura Stuart, Coastal Project Worker, Inner Western Region Migrant Resource Centre, 41 - 45 Pickett St, Footscray, VIC 3011. Ph : 03 9689 2888.
Dam Tran, Vietnamese Fisheries Education Officer, Vietnamese Community in Australia / Victorian Chapter, PO Box 2115 Footscray, VIC 3011. Ph : 03 9687 9198.
Pauline McCarthy Team Leader Community Programs, Coastal Unit, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Locked Bag 3000, PO Box Hill, VIC, 3128.
Ph : 03 9296 4535
John Tomkin, Senior Fisheries Education Officer, Fisheries Victoria, PO Box 103, Geelong, VIC, 3220.
Ph: 03 5226 4667
Dimi Bouzalas, Greening Community Development Officer, Hume City Council, PO Box 119, Broadmeadows, VIC 3047. Ph : 03 9309 1052.

Resource 11

Teaching Strategies

Cultural awareness:

• avoid generalizations
• let people speak for themselves
• emphasize universals
• acknowledge difference
• use examples from different cultures in regular teaching

Participatory approach:

• link students with ethnic communities
• involve other young people as peer educators and role models
• include students and community in planning projects

Genuine learning opportunities:

• in situ - on site field visits
• experiential - learning by doing
• collaborative - learning by sharing
• continuity - linked activities (eg. journals, photographic record, themes)
• outcomes - make a product (eg. quilt, mural, booklet, play, festival)
• enjoyment - make it fun

Resource 12

Sample Projects

The Sea In Mythology and Literature

The folklore and legends of coastal and seafaring cultures have similar themes : heroic voyages, mermaids, sea spirits and a cast of marine characters. They give meaning to the mysterious and often unpredictable nature of the sea and were passed down between generation in the form of story telling.
For younger children stories can be an accessible way to learn about marine plants and animals as characters they can identify with, and to meet their fears and myths about ‘monsters of the deep’. Often inherent in these stories are a strong respect for nature and messages about how to care for the environment. Literature can provide teachers with a basis to explore values and attitudes, to discuss different perspectives and to encourage children to understand conservation issues.

Design a lesson plan for Grade 4 students based on a story from the Macmillan Folk Tale Series. Create three homework projects that will :

• develop locally relevant themes
• develop knowledge of animals in the story
• convey a conservation message.

Sense Of Place In A Local Environment

Presenting environmental concerns in a global context has great power but its impact is limited if not connected to the reality of our local environment. We talk about the global village, yet how many of us even know our next door neighbours? The character of our urban fabric is being eroded by the mono-culture of brand name convenience stores, fast food outlets and anonymous tilt slab dwellings. A sense of place is different for every person, but essentially it is about knowing where you are in space and time. If we feel we belong to our environment we are more likely to care for it.

Design a local history project for your coastal town that will :

• illustrate the role of marine industries / coastal recreation
• include contributions from people from diverse backgrounds
• involve parents and older members of the community.

Your product will be a map or maps of your local area including natural features and historic landmarks (eg. fishers coop, mangroves, original pier). Use My Place by Sally Morgan for inspiration and ideas. Your project will be the major focus for a full semester unit of Year 7 history, and you have support from an Art teacher who has allocated class time for the development of the creative product.

Celebrating the Fruits of the Sea

Eating food goes far beyond filling our tummies! Sharing food is a reflection of pride, trust and acceptance. It is an opportunity for people to express their culture in a truly personal way. Food brings together people from all ages and backgrounds, and is a fun way to introduce cultural awareness into a classroom setting.

Your community has an annual food festival every Autumn and this year the theme will be ‘Fruits from the Sea’. Design a project for your Year 9 students that will:

• have people from different backgrounds prepare food from their culture
• examine changes in eating habits across different generations
• investigate ecological impacts of different fishing methods.

Sources: Bouzalas, D. and Kendal, L. (1998) “Embracing Cultural Diversity in Parkland Planning and Development”, in conference papers Changing Societies: Challenges for Parks and Recreation, Eighteenth National Congress of the International Federation of Parks and Recreation and First National Conference of Parks and Leisure Australia.
Calder, M. (1993) “On the Seashore of endless worlds - literature, enquiry and global education” in Ethos 7 - 12, July Edition.
Shannon, A (1996) “Sustainability and Sense of Place”, in conference papers Sustainability and Local Environments: Myths, Models and Milestones, Environs Australia pp. 70 -72

Resource 13

Evaluation Form

This evaluation form is confidential and anonymous
Please return this form to the facilitators during the session or mail to :

Did the workshop meet your expectations?

Yes No

What was the most outstanding feature (positive or negative) of the workshop that you would like the facilitators to note?

What changes can you suggest which would improve the workshop ?

Are there any particular areas of the workshop you would have liked to have spent more time on ?

Are there any particular areas of the workshop you would have liked to have spent less time on ?


Are there any additional areas you would like added to the session?

Was the language of the facilitator clear and easy to understand?

Do you feel you now have enough practical tools to incorporate cultural awareness into your teaching of marine and coastal studies?

Any other comments?