Lesson Ideas for Teachers

Making multicultural Australia

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KLA/Subject: HSIE

Stage: Stage 3



  • CUS3.2 describes different cultural influences and their contribution to Australian identities
  • DMS3.2 makes informed decisions and accepts responsibility for consequences
  • INS 3.3 acts in ways that enhance the contribution of self and others in a range of cooperative situations


This lesson looks at clothing as a reflection of one’s identity.

Material to Download

Worksheet: Clothing worksheet

Archival Images: Elise Hearst reading the Torah at her Bat Mitzvah

Archival Images: Italian Catholic Religious Festival

Archival Images: Traditional Australian Protestant Wedding

Archival Images: Young Muslim girls at Auburn Mosque

Political Photographs: Bavarian Baker

Archival Images: Dr Helen Irving Collection - Indigenous Dancers at Federation Celebrations, 1901

Suggested Activities

  • Introduction

  • Show the students the photographs downloaded from Making Multicultural Australia and selected for this lesson( see Preparation Checklist below).

    As a class, review photographs and pictures. Ask students to observe the different types of dress and clothing shown.

  • Class discussion

  • As a class, explore the meanings of the word uniform.

    On the whiteboard or butchers paper, record responses to the questions that follow.

Ask students how they feel when:

  • they wear a uniform
  • someone in the group is not wearing the uniform
  • they do not have to wear a uniform to partake in a group event

Ask students:

  • Do they behave differently when they are wearing a uniform?
  • How does wearing a uniform or standardised clothing make people the same?
  • How does not wearing the uniform or standardised clothing, or modifying the uniform, make people different?
  • Is it important for everyone to dress the same if they belong to a specific group?
  • Interviews
    Ask students to interview teachers, other students at the school, friends and family. They should include questions such as:
    • Does wearing a uniform make people the same? Why/why not?
    • Does not wearing a uniform, or modifying a uniform, make people different? Why/why not?

    • Collate the information into a class table. Tally the Yes/No responses. As reasons are written, ask students to tick responses that match theirs rather than write each answer on the worksheet provided.
  • Concluding discussion

    Ask students to consider the following question:

    • Do you think countries such as Australia foster multiculturalism where people dress differently? Why/why not?

Preparation Checklist

You will need to:

  • Download the images and photograph from the Making Multicultural Australia website (see 'Materials to Download').
  • Obtain photographs of students wearing school uniforms or photos from newspapers/magazines of groups wearing uniform (e.g. Olympic team, state sport teams). Students may be asked to bring these in.
  • Ask students to bring in photos of sporting clubs, cultural groups, religious groups, etc. that they belong to that require a uniform or a form of standardised dress (e.g. soccer, scouts).


Ask students to:

  • Research other forms of traditional dress, e.g. cheongsam, kimono, sari, sarong, turban, etc.
  • Research the events surrounding the Melbourne female soccer player asked to remove her head scarf and discuss implications. Scroll down to find the article on the Pluralism Project web page titled: Soccer Player Told to Remove Headscarf, Referee Suspended (Australia)
  • Research the recent French law which prohibits wearing of religious symbols in schools and discuss implications.

Related Resources

Not applicable

Lesson Notes

Not applicable

Date Added:

11 December 2004