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Bomaderry High School Community NSW

Connecting with other schools to create a positive learning environment

Bomaderry High School, located on the south coast of NSW, conducted a survey of students about their knowledge of Asia. They found that students had very little knowledge about Asian countries and even less contact with people from Asian backgrounds.

Since then, a collaborative partnership was established between Bomaderry High School (BHS) and other schools in the region including Cambewarra Public School, Kangaroo Valley Public School, Bomaderry Public School and Shoalhaven Heads Public School. This partnership has provided a positive learning environment to engage students in developing their understanding of Asian cultures.

Engaging students to develop Asian cultural understanding

An ASIA pilot project was commenced with Bomaderry High staff and students in Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) working with Cambewarra PS and Kangaroo Valley PS to study the cultures of Indonesia and Japan respectively.

Students at the primary schools were immersed in activities relating to their specific country, while students at Bomaderry High School researched the performing arts of both countries. As a result, an Indonesian dance and a play based on the story of Sadako and the thousand paper cranes were created. These activities were then taught to, and performed by, the students at the primary schools. This was achieved through video-conferencing and in-class visits to the schools.

All students contributed research projects and activity reflection statements to a Wiki which was set up to support the project.

The ASIA project has now grown to include two more primary schools and other secondary faculties including Bomaderry Public School, Shoalhaven Heads Public School, and the Bomaderry High School faculties of English, Food Technology, HSIE, Maths and Textiles.

Building teacher knowledge and skills about Asia

Professional development and planning days were held to increase staff ICT skills and to allow teachers from the primary schools and the high school to develop collaborative projects on specific Asian countries.

The collaborative projects are showcased at an Asian Expo held at Bomaderry High. Students, teachers, community members and parents experience many Asian cultural aspects on this day with displays, demonstrations, hands-on activities and talks provided by students.

To support the project, BHS also has an Asian Ambassador who has lived and worked in South Korea, and who has now returned to Australia to share his experiences and love of Korean culture and language with students.

Benefits to staff and students in the school community

Pre-testing and post-testing of participants in the project reveal that both students and staff are gaining more knowledge of our Asian neighbours and becoming aware of the diversity of cultures, countries and languages in our geographic vicinity.

Students have been very engaged with their studies because of the collaborative nature of the project and the reality of showcasing their work. Teachers are very enthusiastic in their support because of its relevance and promotion of collegiality.

Bomaderry High School has become the central resource centre for the project, with Teacher Librarians from all schools taking an active role in the project and being able to access and contribute to the growing resource collection.

Teachers and students are increasing their use of ICT, utilising Connected Classroom, Wikis, Glogster, Moviemaker, Edmodo, email, and more recently Adobe Connect.

There is increasing interest in Asian languages at Bomaderry High School, where Indonesian and Japanese languages are offered in the curriculum.

“The interaction between primary and secondary students is providing a beneficial transition experience for primary students and secondary students are gaining invaluable skills in communication and leadership”, says Marion Hing, Teacher Librarian.

Funding the ASIA Project

The development of the ASIA project and the purchase of resources were funded by the Federal Government’s Becoming Asia Literate Grants Programme.

Acknowledgements

Image: AEF

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