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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Aussie Culture in the Classroom

Australian culture was definitely very prominent in my classroom at South Coogee Public School. The school is situated about two blocks from a beach, and as the weather is seasonally much warmer than in Boston, only classrooms are inside. The school takes advantage of the beautiful Australian weather by having all of the hallways outside and by having students eat lunch and snack outside and have gym class outside. Much more learning occurred outdoors there than at home in the U.S. because being outside and being active is a very important part of Australian culture.
In addition the culture being reflected in the layout of the school, the subjects taught also showed Aussie culture. Australians have a fierce love of sport and intense pride in their country, so naturally the Olympics were a very big deal in Australia. My class spent about five or six weeks learning everything about the Olympics, from when it started to where it has been held to what the different events are. They also learned about important Australian athletes like Cathy Freeman, and they followed to games closely to count how many medals Australia had won. I thought it was really fun that my teacher designed a whole unit around the Olympics, because the students could really get involved and relate to everything they were learning as they were watching it all happen right in front of them! The enthusiasm about the Olympics in my classroom was a very accurate microcosm of what was happening everywhere in Australia.
In addition to the Olympics, my students learned about a lot of other famous Australians. Among them was Brett Whiteley, an artist. They studied a lot of his paintings, which were basically all of uniquely Australian things like the lyrebird or the Sydney Opera House. It was great to see their interpretations of his art, especially of the opera house which is basically in their own backyard.
All of the units and lessons incorporating Australian culture were probably my favorite during my student teaching experience because they gave me a very unique experience that I would not get anywhere else. It was definitely an enjoyable insight into both the country and the Australian school system.


  1. I love the idea that they incorporate so much of what is happening in the world outside of the classroom in Australia. In England, I felt that the children learned a lot of information that impressed me because they were only four years old. However, there was not much connection to important events outside of school, which I think is valuable in helping children stay interested in their studies and appreciate learning.

  2. I was lucky to have a very similar experience by being in New Zealand during the Olympics. My CT took the opportunity to incorporate the Olympics into many of the daily subjects including Art, Music, History, Writing and Geography and also took part in a medal count. In Music, the students learned the New Zealand Olympic song and performed it for the school. In Writing, she used the olympics as a basis for a prompt for opinion writing, asking whether the students thought the next Olympics should be held in New Zealand. Some of their answers were very creative. Finally, (and most interesting to me) she used the olympics to create a geography unit on the major ciites of the world and their corresponding landmarks. The Sydney Opera House was definitely part of the discussion! It was interesting being from the US to hear a different perspective on different places around the world that seem so familiar to me being in my backyard but were a world away for these kids. Overall, I agree though that like you enjoyed your Australian specific lessons, I definitely most enjoyed the lessons that incorporated aspects of New Zealand culture as they provided me a chance to learn more about the country that I was living in.


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