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 Internationalising 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
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.
Additional units for the Primary years will be published in Term 2, 2018. This will include:
- Year 2 unit exploring music practices from a range of cultures in Asia
- Year 6 Visual Arts unit that focuses on the Afghan landscape.
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.
Additional units for the Secondary years will be published in Term 2, 2018. This will include:
- Two Year 7–8 units: one comparing Australian and Indonesian cultural norms, and a second focusing on the development of a cultural diversity portfolio
- A Year 10 unit exploring cross-cultural challenges that arise in the context of war.