This sequence of lessons uses video excerpts, a quiz and articles from the Making Multicultural Australia website to raise awareness that many Australians speak a language other than English and that use of first language is a right and is important for identity. The notion of productive diversity is also introduced.
Worksheet: Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Policy
Audio Interviews: Is Australia a multicultural society?
Audio Interviews: National Language Policy
Audio Interviews: The special broadcasting service - Ten Tears of SBS Television
Advertisements: The Media - Advertising
Documentary Excerpts: Citizenship - National Agenda Launch Special
View and Discuss
Discuss the following:
Download the quiz, 'How much do you know about Australia's population?'. Divide students into groups of four. In groups, ask students to complete the quiz. Students may complete the quiz online or, alternatively, hard copies of the quiz. Record correct answers on the board for students to check.
Review quiz answers as a whole class noting:
Explain that Australia has always been a multilingual nation – before European settlement there it is estimated there were about 700 different cultural groups speaking some 250 different Aboriginal languages.
View and Discuss
Show students the documentary excerpt, 'Citizenship – National Agenda Launch Special'. As a class, discuss the following:
View and discuss
Download for students to consider:
The aim is for students to develop an understanding that culture and language are intertwined and that it is seen as important, as well as a right, for people to maintain and develop their own culture and language. It is also an asset to Australia to have speakers of languages other than English, for example in the business world – this is termed ‘productive diversity’.
There are many bilingual/multilingual Australians. It is very important for them to use and continue to develop their first language as language is central to culture. It is a right enshrined in law that every Australian can enjoy their culture and language. Having bilingual and multilingual Australians is also an asset for the nation which can be utilised to the advantage of all Australians.
You will need to:
Ask students to:
Teachers need to be sensitive to the fact that some students only speak English. Schools offer LOTE (Languages Other Than English) programs to give all students the opportunity to learn a language other than English.
Teachers need to ensure that only positive comments are made in relation to languages other than English and to diverse cultural backgrounds.
Teachers need to be aware that an outcome of students developing their first language (in this case, a language other than English) is that their second language (in this case, English) will be strengthened. Often parents and students need to be reassured of this.
11 December 2004