“Nina Marni, Guten Morgen, Ohayou Gozaimasu, Bonjour!”
These were the opening words our College captains spoke to welcome our staff and students to the welcome ceremony of our Intercultural Week celebrations. As you may have seen within our classrooms and learning communities, all students have been participating in a variety of units of work during Weeks 2 and 3, aimed at providing them with a range of learning experiences to develop intercultural understanding and the dispositions of a ‘global citizen’.
Our Intercultural Week officially began with a whole school assembly, including a variety of cultural performances enjoyed by staff, students and visiting dignitaries from the Department for Education and University of South Australia Research Centre for Languages and Cultures. Culminating the celebration was the official opening of our International Centre by our Principal Ms Caroline Green and the Director of International Education Services, Ms Narelle Slivak.
Our College has a long and proud history of International programs. With sister-school partnerships in Japan, Germany and Reunion Island, we have enjoyed reciprocal exchange programs over many years. The restriction in International travel has created opportunities for global collaboration projects to develop, allowing our students from Years 1-12 to engage with students from multiple countries, across various learning platforms. It is also important to consider, however, that we don’t have to look across borders to develop our understanding of interculturalism, and that we are part of a rich and diverse community at Reynella East.
The Preschool have been looking at similarities and differences between people: hair colour, eye colour, clothing, our languages and accents, the food we eat, the games we play and the events we celebrate. Students read a variety of cultural stories and created themed displays. Students also role played different scenarios they may be faced with, such as being told that they cannot play somewhere because of their hair colour or the way they talk.
In the week leading up to Intercultural Day, the Reception-Year 4 children have been travelling the world! They visited ten different countries and enjoyed a diverse range of cultural experiences to help them connect with the world and begin to understand how their lives vary from the lives of children in other countries. Some of the activities they participated in included:
Every student was issued with a ‘passport’ in which they recorded their travels to the various countries. In addition, our Year 5 and 6 students have been investigating games from around the world and students recreated games as part of their Design and Technology studies. Students then taught the games to younger students, educating them about the cultural significance of the games.
Our Year 1 and 2 classes participated in Zoom sessions with Year 1 students from Ritsumeikan Elementary School, Kyoto. REC has a longstanding relationship with Ritsumeikan High School, however this is the first time we are embarking on such an exciting “exchange” with their primary school students. The classes have already sent each other letters and shared information about each school. The Zoom sessions involved a shared game and the opportunity to communicate with a small group of students in the target language. In addition, four of our classes participated in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony called a ‘Chanoyu’.
Students opened the Intercultural Day ceremony, presenting a Punjabi dance they’ve practised with guest dance instructor and REC parent Ms Simran Kaur. Through establishing stronger links with our community with parents engaging in our Arts events as volunteer mentors, we have appreciated our authentic family cultural connections and their contributions to the Arts. During the ceremony, Year 3/4 students presented the official Tokyo Olympic Dance Tokyo Gorin Ondo they had learned with Mr Rusk. An Arts Academy visual art exhibition was presented in the library with the inquiry theme of ‘What is my culture?’ In the lead up to the week, music students presented cultural music, rehearsals for a Greek play and a flash mob Hip Hop dance inspired by SA’s Hilltop Hoods and First Nations artist Baker Boy.
Global Studies and English
Students explored ancient cultures, citizenship and planned a new public holiday that better represents inclusion for all Australians. Year 9 students wrote a welcome letter and created ‘Suitcases of Love’ for Afghani refugees as part of their learning around Global Interconnections in Geography. Students in Year 10 displayed their ‘Closing the Gap’ posters to highlight the need to close the gap on Indigenous wellbeing and life as a refugee, learning about global inequality. One of our Middle School classes continued with the online exchange with students from Lycee Antione de St Exupery School in Reunion Island, where they learned and reflected on each other’s culture through an interactive Zoom meeting with students from the French speaking nation.
Health and Physical Education
Middle School classes ran indigenous games for warm up activities in the lead up and during the week. Our Sports Academy football students participated in a panel with Isaac Cumming (GWS) to discuss culture within football clubs and applicable skills and mindsets of elite athletes. There was also a traditional Karate lesson run by Mr Pearce.
Reynella East College has longstanding partnerships with Mishima Senior High School and students studying Japanese in our senior classes met with their international ‘mates’ to talk about their school life and cultures. These students also had the opportunity to hear from the UniSA Japanese Club president about his journey living in Japan, roles and responsibilities at UniSA and future studies in Languages. German and French students continued their online communication with our partnership schools in Reunion Island and Lindau Germany, and investigated the culture of dance across the countries.
Mathematics and Science
Do you know how many people in Australia speak a language other than English? How many people do you think were born overseas? These questions allowed students to explore the recent census data with an interactive quiz to challenge their knowledge of the statistics underpinning stereotypes.
In addition, the question of ‘Just how different are we? Or are we actually all the same, homo sapien’ helped students to collect data as part of a giant experiment on people in our community, to show that we are all different but all one. The giant interactive live data display instantly showed the results!
We have an ongoing relationship with schools in New Zealand for E-Sports training and preparation for tournaments. Students trained and competed against each other and gave each other feedback on their performance.
Students in our Year 8 STEM classes investigated Swedish engineering methods and how those are being used to develop land yachts. They analysed these methods and attempting to alter them to produce versions of their own.
Our Year 11 Food and Hospitality classes cooked and ate within appropriate cultural etiquette with staff and dignitaries during the celebration. Students made traditional Japanese bento boxes and reviewed their history, significance and how they are used differently in western society today.
The Library offered a range of experiences including displays of authentic clothing and artefacts and interactive apps on the iPad for students to practice different languages of the world. Our World Map depicted what a multicultural country that Australia is by showing the country of origin of many of our students. In addition a selection of culturally themed books was explored with our Primary classes.
The experiences over the week helped to not only allow our students to interact across a huge variety of experiences, but also consider their own assumptions in regards to multiculturalism. I would like to acknowledge the amazing effort from so many staff and the planning committee for their wonderful work in delivering such interactive and engaging learning experiences. We look forward to continuing the journey in developing the intercultural understandings of our students across our programs in 2022 and beyond.
Assistant Principal – International Programs and Languages