Integrating the Australian Curriculum Using Web2.0
In class this semester, we have been studying EDUC 343: Literacy in a multicultural society. It has been a very very interesting experience being in this class as it has made us think and reflect on our own identity, assumptions which we hold and how we are going to teach in the future.  This class is based on two main concepts, social justice and identity. 

The first assessment which we completed was about our own identity. It is called a cultural plunge. We were expected to go out and place ourselves in a situation, a context which is different from our own culture and experiences. It had to be something which we had not done before and something which we would feel uncomfortable doing. I chose to complete my plunge in the indigenous Australian community.  If you don't know this is a community which has been very poorly treated over the past 200 years, through stolen generations, the dispossessing of land and the government continues to make an absolute mess of providing equal opportunity to the community. However, I knew this is what would make me feel the most uncomfortable and it would make me begin to question some of the assumptions which I held from my upbringing.  Living in the north shore of Sydney, i had rarely met indigenous people and I didn't have any indigenous friends that I was aware of, so this was going to be a very very very new experience. 

The plunge taught me a lot about my own identity and strengthened in me a desire to teach. I feel an inherent need to help people who are less fortunate. I am not sure where this comes from, I am not religious (in fact quite the opposite) however I feel powerful and strong enough in myself that I need to help others, I think I get strength from that.  After the experience, I found that my racist preconceptions were not warranted. I felt completely comfortable in the community and I really enjoyed the experience, something I wish I could do again, but unfortunately I have not. 

So today in class, we were looking at social justice in literature, particularly the plight of women and how we can show an image of strong women through literature. We read a book to each other and it was about a young girl who was a bit of a tom boy (thats what the others called her) who wanted to climb trees. Her mother (we suppose) asked her several times to come down from the tree but she wouldn't. She wanted to keep climbing because that is what the boys were allowed to do. The moral of the story was all about women continuing to fight against all the forces who tell them they can't do something.  I believe (not being a woman of course) that this story is universal. In society, particularly in such an open visual society it is important that we strive for what we want in life, what we need to make us happy and what we feel good doing. 

A clear example is the lecturer of this class. He is gay and proud of it, and as a result of the injustice and lack of equity he has felt being a homosexual in a very straight white community, he is trying to teach the next generation of teachers not to fold to societal pressures which he was subjected to. He experienced prejudice, and he doesn't want to see that happening to any one. 

There was an interesting point raised in one of the podcasts which we had to listen to, can a gay man stand up in front of a class and talk about the bad parts of prejudice towards gays?  The point here is, the crowd is going to witness that and think, "Here he goes again", and that he is on his soap box.  It will be seen as agenda pushing, which would be ok if it came from a non-gay person however from a gay person is disregarded and thought of negatively.  Can an indigenous person stand up and talk about the injustice which has occurred, I will assume they cannot.  The moral here is, being in the white male population, holding the most amount of power and say in all society, I have the ability to do something, to stand up and to change things. This is going to be done through education, in my classroom every person will be free to contribute their thoughts and ideas, no one will be held back due to their cultural differences or perspectives.  EDUCATION is the way forward. 

In a research subject I am taking, the unit is focused on Teachers making a difference. This resonates with me, I know teachers can make a difference. It is now up to me to do it. 

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    This blog is that of a very confused, bewildered and amazed new scheme teacher in Sydney Australia who is hoping with all his might that he doesn't fall on his face. Enjoy!


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