Global Citizenship in Action
“…the development of intercultural competency skills is essential in preparing girls for their future…” (CGGS Strategic Plan 2015-2019)
It is this line within our Strategic Plan’s pillar of Global Citizenship that provides our students and teachers with the clear vision and impetus to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities to embrace our lives as global citizens. In reality, little inspiration is needed because our Junior and Senior School curriculum is abundant with intercultural learning opportunities that see the ideals of global citizenship being enacted in the classrooms across the campuses each day.
A recent learning experience enjoyed by the Year 8 girls highlights how subject disciplines often lend themselves to developing such global understandings. In Year 8 Geography, the girls’ investigations of geographical factors contributing to tsunamis saw them connect with experts from The Australian Government’s Geoscience Department via video conference. Whilst gleaning geographical and scientific information on these natural disasters, our girls also heard of the important role this organisation takes in monitoring and securing the safety of all citizens in the Asia-Pacific Region through their Early Warning System. In speaking directly with the staff from Geoscience Australia, it was fascinating for the students to get a clear sense of connection between the work these Geoscientists do on behalf of our country and the strong sense of global community and responsibility toward our South East Asian neighbours that they have.
As a School, we commend Liesel Trichardt (Year 6G) for her poignant review in last week’s CamNews (16 August) on the Year 6 Excursion to Melbourne’s Immigration Museum. In her reflection, Liesel commented that the learning experience “made the girls more genuinely aware of the hardships refugees and immigrants faced.” She explained further that the students were “in awe” of these people who were strong enough to ensure such hardships as civil war, cultural genocide and extreme racism before settling in Australia. Liesel stated that the Year 6 girls learnt that it was love that often “kept the immigrants going” in their pursuit of safety, freedom and an opportunity-filled life in their new home country. As an extension of their core curriculum, our Year 6 teachers felt it was important for our students to experience these migration stories for themselves, so they could develop their understanding and learn to apply a global perspective in their future lives.
Our Year 2 community recently enjoyed learning about cultural dances from India, the Middle East and South America through a series of interactive dance sessions. Teachers Craig Goodwin and Melissa Thomassen reported that along with a great deal of fun, the intercultural learning generated from this experience really helped the girls to appreciate the similarities between cultures just as much as they highlighted some distinctive differences. What a powerful and enduring understanding to connect with at such a young age.
Earlier this week, the Junior School girls were also treated to an impromptu choir singing lesson with teacher Anjali de Quadros and her father, Andre de Quadros; an internationally renowned scholar whose passion is bringing people from different cultures together in peace through choir singing. As I watched Anjali and Andre lead the girls in song, it was strikingly obvious that the students were deeply immersed in a fun, engaging and positive intercultural learning experience that spanned many dimensions of language, time and place. What a privilege.
Also just a few days ago, our Year 10 girls hosted a group of visiting students from the Australian International Academy in Coburg as part of their Religious Education learning about the Muslim faith. As witness to snippets of this experience, it was great to see how easily the students from each school connected and shared stories of their cultural background and religious affiliation with one another. Each person was clearly demonstrating the skills of collaboration, empathy and respect toward one another.
As a School, we take great pride in the global citizenship our students demonstrate on a daily basis and though we teachers are intent on enhancing this through our evolving curriculum of intercultural learning experiences, we acknowledge that as a broader community of students, teachers, parents and friends connected by our School, we can also learn a great deal from one another.
The School’s Winter 2016 publication of CamLife celebrates this global diversity and warmth within our community with a great series of articles and images. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, we encourage you to read it from cover to cover as it tells the story of who and what Camberwell Girls is as a global community. And, importantly, what we value and hope for our girls with respect to the development of intercultural understandings in their learning now and into the future.
CamLife (Winter 2016) can be downloaded from the Camberwell Girls website here.
With best wishes,
Director of Teaching, Learning & Innovation