Ways to better understand different cultures
Australia is renowned as one of the most successful multicultural societies in the world. A recent study from the Scanlon Foundation reported that Australians are proud to live and work in a diverse and tolerant society, with the majority supporting an increase in immigration.
The importance of our rich multicultural identity is instilled in our education curriculum which prioritises intercultural understanding as one of the main focus areas for student development.
Why it’s important to teach intercultural understandingA greater understanding of other cultures gives students a broader perspective. It offers opportunities for them to challenge their beliefs and attitudes in a critical light, so that they can empathise with others and effectively analyse the world around them.
These capabilities are essential to future success in our social lives, the workplace and for interpreting international affairs. We have provided some ways to help your child develop their intercultural understanding below.
Learning another languageWhile it’s never too late to start learning another language, young people have the advantage of being at the perfect stage of their brain development to pick one up.
Learning another language is an extremely effective way for children to develop their intercultural understanding and has immense long-term benefits on a child's future career and social life. It opens them up for opportunities, such as working overseas and communicating with a wider variety of people.
Reading intercultural booksFictional stories can transport us outside of our own lived experience and encourage us to empathise with others. Reading stories with characters from different backgrounds challenges children to adopt a broader perspective and develop a greater respect for other cultures.
Eating cultural foodOne of the best things about living in Australia, is the variety of delicious multicultural cuisines available in our local communities. Food is often an extremely important part of cultural heritage, so enjoying a traditional dish can be the perfect way to engage with different cultures.
Getting involved in cultural eventsTake advantage of some of the cultural events happening in your community throughout the yearly calendar. It's beneficial for children to recognise some important cultural events such as Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, and Ramadan.
You can access the full calendar of cultural and religious events happening in Australia here.