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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Australian Culture

During my time at South Coogee Public School, I got the chance to go to two all-school assemblies.  Both of these assemblies were great opportunities for me to see everyone in the school, not just my 1st grade class.  The first assembly I went to was an award assembly.  My CT told me that this assembly is held bi-weekly.  Every teacher can reward his/her students with a blue star award.  Once a student has earned a certain amount of blue stars, he or she is given a bronze award at this assembly.  A certain amount of bronze awards leads to a silver award, which then leads to a gold award.  I really liked this idea because it connects each individual class to the school as a whole.  Students get the chance to be rewarded not only in his or her own class, but also in the entire school.  I noticed in my classroom that students work really hard to get these blue star awards. 
            The other assembly I saw was on my last day at South Coogee Public School.  The older students (5th and 6th grade) did a song and dance show about Australia for the younger students.  Watching this assembly was a good way to finish off my time at South Coogee.  The show incorporated many different aspects of Australian culture, including their Indigenous people.  When thinking back to my own elementary school experience, I remember having assemblies about American culture and singing American songs.  This assembly was very similar except it was with Australian culture.  The theme of this assembly was the Earth (the land of Australia).  The previous assemblies had been about the water and air surrounding Australia.  The students sang songs about keeping Australia clean and pollution free.  This was a great learning experience for the younger students because it taught them useful lessons while encouraging Australian pride. 
            Both assemblies opened up by students acknowledging the Aboriginal (native people of Australia) tribe whose land South Coogee Public School is built on.  I thought this was very respectful for the Aboriginal peoples to be acknowledged.  Another teacher told me that this acknowledgement is done at all social gatherings in Australia.  After this, everyone stood to sing the national anthem of Australia.  This reminded me of saying the Pledge of Allegiance in the U.S.
            I’m very grateful for my opportunity to teach at South Coogee Public School.  I loved observing the similarities and differences between Australian school and American school. My CT was wonderful, as were my students.  The knowledge gained from my international preprac is invaluable and I’ve definitely learned some things I can bring back to the U.S.!

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