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Teaching Resources

Explicitly teaching Intercultural Capability in Victorian schools

Intercultural Capability enables students to learn to value their own cultures, languages and beliefs, and those of others. This is important to all school settings and recognises that many schools and communities are multicultural. Through explicit teaching of the Intercultural Capability, students learn about diverse cultures, including their own. This learning will develop students' capacity to recognise commonalities and differences, create connections with others, and cultivate mutual respect.

During 2017 the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, in partnership with the International Education Division at the Department of Education and Training, conducted an action-research project with nineteen schools from the Government, Catholic and Independent sectors.

The project aimed to provide rich learning experiences supporting students to apply their learning about cultural diversity and cultural practices to questions of and for the globalised world. Students were able to examine, reflect on and challenge assumptions, stereotypes and prejudices and to explore how intercultural experiences may influence and change attitudes and beliefs.

'Intercultural Capability is really about challenging thinking. It goes far beyond facts about people and cultures to an appreciation of other people's perspectives and a respect for this', one project participant said.

Teachers discuss Intercultural Capability

Teachers discuss Intercultural Capability in the Victorian Curriculum F–10 transcript (docx - 71.33kb)

How do you teach Intercultural Capability?

PowerPoint presentation (pptx - 3.27mb)

This PowerPoint presentation is designed to help schools embed explicit teaching about Intercultural Capability in their learning programs. It summarises some key challenges identified by schools that participated in the Intercultural Capability project and provides advice and information based on their experiences. Schools may use this presentation to prompt discussion, to further their planning, and to consider their approach to this area of the Victorian Curriculum F–10.

This resource can assist schools to:

  • Become deeply familiar with Intercultural Capability
  • Choose a teaching approach
  • Understand the distinction between Intercultural Capability and cultural knowledge
  • Become familiar with the cultural iceberg concept
  • Distinguish between cultural stereotypes and generalisations
  • Address possible perception of cultural uniformity at the school
  • Be more confident in managing conflicting views in class
  • Reflect on the intersection of culture and religion
  • Discuss assessment approaches.

The Intercultural Capability Project - participating schools

The VCAA, in partnership with the International Education Division at the Department of Education and Training, would like to thank the following schools for participating in this project:

Albert Park College
Beveridge Primary School
Camp Hill Primary School
Eaglehawk North Primary School
Epsom Primary School
Kangaroo Flats Primary School
Marong Primary School
Mentone Girls Grammar School
Leongatha Primary School
Leongatha Secondary College
Portland Secondary College
St John the Baptist
St Kevin's Hampton Park
St Michael's Berwick
St Peter's College
St Margaret and Berwick Grammar School
Thomas Mitchell Primary School
Tulliallan Primary School
White Hills Primary School

Units of work

Primary schools

Units provided for the Primary years focus on student exploration of cultural diversity and cultural practices within their school and community. They also focus on learning through familiar celebrations and family life. Students also learning about Australian culture and understandings of their own cultural background. Students begin to be challenged by concepts relating to cultural and religious beliefs, stereotypes and generalisations.

YearSynopsisResource files
PrepThis unit explores familiar cultural practices related to student family life and the celebrations within the school community. It includes:
  • homework to construct a family tree
  • annotated student work samples
One land, Many families (docx - 1.45mb)
PrepStudents are encouraged to explore cultural diversity within the classroom. They identify where they and their family come from and explain where they're from to a friend. They undertake a range of activities and explore a range of resources. It includes:
  • assessment rubric
  • annotated student work samples.
My story, your story, our story (docx - 2.26mb)
1-2 Music from around the world

This short activity is designed to expose students to a range of music styles from around the world and to allow students to be curious about other cultures, particularly through music traditions.

Intercultural_Capability_Level-1-2_Music_ (docx - 1.06mb)
5This unit takes students through a range of intercultural and cultural activities and draws from both Levels 3–4 and Levels 5–6. It includes lessons from Difference Differently, the cultural iceberg, an interconnection activity and an exploration of stereotypes and generalisations. Intercultural Capability (docx - 1.41mb)
5-6 Cultural diversity poster

This short activity asks students to identify contemporary events where the value of cultural diversity is celebrated.

Intercultural_Capability_Level-5-6_Cultural diversity poster (docx - 1.06mb)

Secondary schools

Units provided for the Secondary years focus on further exploration of the concepts such as cultural diversity and practices, stereotypes and generalisations. Teachers are encouraged to use topical issues and media representations to provide context for applying this understanding to events in Australia and globally. Students are challenged and extended to bring a greater sophistication to their exploration of learning in Intercultural Capability.

YearSynopsisResource files
7-8 Water and the world

This short set of activities looks at water use around the world, and links to learning in the Geography curriculum.

Intercultural_Capability_Level-7-8_Water_and_the_world (docx - 1.06mb)
8This integrated Visual Arts and Intercultural Capability term plan provides students with the opportunity to explore a range of print practices and techniques from different historical and cultural periods including Japanese woodblock printing, early printmaking in European cultures and Australian printmaking. Students reflect on the cultural impact of significant developments in printmaking. Exploring cultures through printmaking (docx - 2.7mb)

9This unit takes a creative approach to teaching about empathy, inclusion and exclusion through a process drama based on the picture story book The Island. In this unit, students are also challenged to draw analogies with current events. It includes a video of teacher reflections. The Island process drama (docx - 1.35mb)

Teacher reflections
Intercultural Capability Teacher reflections transcript (docx - 71.49kb)