Intercultural Understanding: How can we teach it?

Intercultural understanding is an essential part of living with others in the diverse world of the twenty-first century. It assists young people to become responsible local and global citizens, equipped through their education for living and working together in an interconnected world.”

Intercultural Understanding is now considered an essential General Capability in the Australian Curriculum (ACARA) and each teacher from Foundation to Year 10 needs to come to grips with how this subject can be approached and taught effectively across the learning areas. Being denoted as a General Capability, Intercultural Understanding needs to be woven into other subject areas. This is difficult as most of our teacher training took place before these General Capabilities where give such a strong and mandatory emphasis. Where does one begin? How are such things interwoven into the curriculum? What tools are available to bring the students into sync and be ahead in this area?

And then the key questions: What is, effectively, Intercultural Understanding and what are the outcomes?

Intercultural Understanding involves the community and an enhanced sense of belonging within a diverse community that is Australia of the 21st century. Intercultural Understanding is far more than food and festival days – it’s about developing empathy and seeing the world through different eyes and belief systems; seeing things in a different way. Intercultural Understanding reduces bullying, racism, and xenophobia, bringing a wider experience to the students. 

“It is on these questions, and with these aims, that the digital platform of Learning Lands was conceived and eventually designed over years of consultation with universities, educators and social anthropologists.”

The key components of Learning Lands that target these issues directly is the Intercultural Citizenship Ambassador Program (ICAP) and Diversity Atlas. Together these curriculum tools ensure a solid foundation for this Capability embeds into the general curriculum. ICAP provides comprehensive lesson plans, mind mapping techniques, and Icebreaker activities to truly bring students into the idea of being leaders, critical thinkers, and change agents in and for the future. The platform of Diversity Atlas maps the rich languages and ethnicities within your school. Students can teach students in Project-Based Learning of their ancestral lands and belief systems – encouraging tolerance and understanding within your school community.

Learning Lands offers a free forum for all subscribing schools for teachers to ask questions and gain ideas when applying these platforms in a hands-on way. You are not left alone. Reach out and we have friendly trained educators in these learning platforms that can assist you, give you classroom ideas, and learn how other teachers are applying these platforms in their classrooms.

All state curricula bodies now emphasize Intercultural Understanding – in one form or another – in their outcome statements.