Lesson Ideas for Teachers

Making multicultural Australia

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KLA/Subject: HSIE

Stage: Stage 3

Who Lives Here?


  • CUS3.3 Describes different cultural influences and their contribution to Australian identities.


This lesson uses a picture, quiz and historical information from Making Multicultural Australia, as well as a statistical printout, to investigate the cultural and linguistic diversity of Australia and of the local area. Students explore Australia's multilingual population of the past and today. A worksheet is included to guide students through the discussions in the lesson.

Material to Download

Worksheet: Who lives here

Archival Images: Acland Street, St Kilda

History: Fifty Years of Post-War Migration

Quiz: Quiz 3: How Much Do You Know About Australians Today

Statistical Profile: Statistical profile of the school community such as an OASIS printout - see section below called 'Preparation Checklist' for further details

Fact Sheet: Key Dates: Pre-1700s, from Racism. No way! website

Suggested Activities

  1. Group discussion
  2. Divide students into groups of four. Download and show the archival image, 'Acland Street, St Kilda' to the class. Distribute the worksheet 'Who lives here' to each group. Ask groups to discuss what is in the picture, then answer the questions in the first section of the worksheet entitled, 'Acland St, St Kilda'.
  3. Class discussion
  4. As a class, review answers to the worksheet noting that St Kilda is in Melbourne and that the environmental print in St Kilda includes signs in languages other than English indicating that there are many people in the community who can read those languages. Introduce the terms "bilingual" (people who can speak two languages) and "multilingual" (people who can speak more than two languages) in the course of the discussion.

    As a class, discuss the following questions:
    • Which places have students visited where they have seen signs in languages other than English?
    • Which languages were represented there and why? (reasons may include major community language other than English, recently arrived migrant group, tourists from one language group, etc.).
    • Does the local area have signs in languages other than English? Why?/Why not?
    • Are students aware of any main languages other than English spoken in the local area? If yes, which one/s?
  5. Read and discuss
    • Obtain a statistical profile of the school community. Divide students into groups of four and give each group a copy of the school's statistical profile. Ask groups to consider, interpret and discuss the profile to find out which languages are spoken within the school community.
    • Ask students to then answer the relevant questions of the second section of the worksheet, 'Who lives here', entitled 'Our School Community'.
  6. Quiz
    • Download and distribute to groups the quiz, 'How much do you know about Australians today'. Ask groups to complete the quiz to find out more about the Australian population. The quiz may be completed online or in hard copy. In the case of hard copies, teachers will need to provide answers to the quiz questions. Ask groups to review their answers to the quiz and discuss.
    • Ask students to then answer the first question of the section of the worksheet called 'Australian Community'.
  7. Read
    • Download and distribute to groups the fact sheet 'Key dates: Pre-1700s'. Ask students to skim read the fact sheet to find the answer to the last question in the section of the worksheet called 'Australian Community'. Ask students to write the answer on their worksheet.
  8. Class discussion
    • Conclude that Australia has a large proportion of people who speak languages other than English. Many people are bilingual or multilingual. Australia has always been a land where many languages are spoken.

Preparation Checklist

You will need to:

  • Obtain a statistical profile of your school's community. For example, "OASIS" is a collection of data gathered at the time of student enrolment in NSW public schools and includes information on the school population by languages other than English. For information on your school's community, contact your school administration.
  • Organise student access to computers for completing the quiz, 'How much do you know about Australians today' or alternatively download and copy the quiz for students. You will need at least one copy for each group of four students. Ensure that you have the answers to the quiz which can be obtained from doing the quiz yourself online.
  • Download the following and copy for groups of four students:
    • Worksheet: Who lives here?
    • Archival Image: Acland Street, St Kilda
    • Quiz: Quiz 3 - How Much Do You Know About Australians Today?
    • Fact sheet: Key Dates: Pre-1700s
    • History: Fifty Years of Post-War Migration for the extension activity.


Ask students to:

  • Research when migrants arrived in Australia and from which countries.
  • Review the document, 'Fifty Years of Post-War Migration' (see Materials to Download) and then investigate when, why and from which countries migrants have come to settle in the local area.

Related Resources

Not applicable

Lesson Notes

Teachers need to ensure that only positive comments are made by students about people speaking languages other than English. Teachers should indicate that the ability to speak more than one language is an asset and that schools offer Languages Other Than English (LOTE) programs which give native English speakers the opportunity to learn another language. Teachers can also point out that in most regions of the world it is the norm for people to be bilingual or even multilingual.

Date Added:

11 December 2004