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Working cross-culturallyBookmark

Learning area: Work Studies
Year level: Year 10
Country: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand

In this learning sequence students will explore what's happening in the Asian region in terms of their interests and possible career goals. Students will investigate case studies and personal stories of Australian and Asian professional connections and explore how schools can best prepare students for a successful career engaged in working across cultures.

Key inquiry questions

  • How are countries progressing in the Asian region?
  • What Australian enterprises involved in the Asian region interest you?
  • How could schools prepare students to be good cross-cultural workers?

A woman holds burning incence at a shrineWhat are your career goals?


Image: AEF

Activity 1: Immersion

In this activity, you are invited to explore an overview provided by a think tank that gives advice to companies looking to succeed in the Asian region. The video presents detailed and thoughtful background on the region and its future potential. Because you will be living and working in this era, it's important for you to get a good picture of how things are and to understand some of the challenges and opportunities facing the region during your lifetime. After this, you should be able to provide some good answers to the first question:

  • Key inquiry question: How are countries progessing in the Asian region?

View and respond to this video using these steps to help you collaborate with peers.

  1. Divide into a group of 3–4 students. Because the video is 12 minutes long, each student in the group should take responsibility for 3–4 minutes of it. Decide who in your team is taking notes on which section (for example a team of four could be: beginning – minute 3, minute 3 – minute 6, minute 6 – minute 9, minute 9 – end).
  2. Watch the whole video. You might do this in class, at home or somewhere else from your own device. During your 3–4 minute section of the video, you are responsible for taking detailed notes. Watch it alone so you can pause the video if you need to in order to take notes. By working as a group you will have very detailed notes.
  3. If you and/or your teacher choose, you can complete this activity collaboratively using a shared Google Doc or Primary Pad page.
  4. After each group has completed watching the whole video and taken notes on their section, the groups should get together and share what they have seen and learned through a detailed discussion and combining of notes (you may have already done this through a collaborative document).
  5. Individually, each student (you!) should develop a clear response to the first key question: How are countries progressing in the Asian region? Write at least three paragraphs (and up to 1–2 pages) that thoughtfully answers this question.

Activity 2: Analysis

Now it's time to build on your knowledge about how countries are progressing in Asia (and how they might be in the future). Because we live in Australia, we want to see how our own government and businesses are positioned to succeed in Asia. Use the two links below to add to your knowledge and then address second question:

  • Key inquiry question: What Australian enterprises involved in the Asian region interest you?

Use brainstorming or note-taking apps (like Padlet or Evernote) to help you analyse the two lengthy pages and then summarise what you have learned in at least one paragraph (and up to a page) that thoughtfully captures your knowledge on this question.

Activity 3: The challenge

Now that you have:

  • good knowledge about the current and possible future situation in the Asian region, and
  • how Australian companies are involved in the Asian region and how this might match your interests,

You can now tackle the next question:

  • Key inquiry question: How could you prepare yourself to be a good cross-cultural worker?

The links below are all to videos of people who have worked extensively in Asia. These people share their backgrounds, what got them interested in working cross-culturally and the pathways their careers have taken.

  1. Divide into teams of four or eight students. You will either watch one or two videos depending on the size of your team.
  2. After choosing which videos each student will be responsible for, watch the video(s). As you watch, take note of:
    • how the people prepared themselves for success
    • what their job(s) are like in relation to working in Asian countries
    • any particular skills they mention (or you notice) that helps them succeed.
  3. As your team watches the videos and takes notes on the points above, your work can be gathered with collaborative software such as Google Docs / Slides if this helps your team work together.
  4. Clearly list and describe what your whole team decides are important cross-cultural skills. Every member of the team should be able to say why each skill was chosen and why it is important. Practice this conversation if you have to.
  5. Finally, choose a presentation format such as Google Slides or Prezi to demonstrate your understanding of cross-cultural skills. Use the Rubric for this activity to help you achieve your targeted result – Rubric: Working Cross Culturally (PDF)

Stories from Australians working cross-culturally:

Activity 4: Conclusions

Reflect on the activities that you have worked through – first you analysed how things are going and may go in the Asian region. Then you explored how the Australian government and businesses are building partnerships in the region and, finally, you've learned from the experiences of successful cross-cultural workers. Now you’re ready to draw conclusions about how students like you can be supported by schools to take your place if you choose to work in the region. Be as creative as you like to appeal to teachers, students and school leaders. 

View the video below as inspiration and then bring all your learning together to answer the final question for this activity:

  • Key inquiry question: How could schools prepare students to be good cross-cultural workers?

Your response should be detailed and might be in paragraph or an annotated list. Review the Rubric if you want some direction on the expectations for the quality of your response.

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