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What Works 3: Achieving intercultural understanding in English and History

Achieving intercultural understanding through the teaching of Asia perspectives in the Australian Curriculum: English and History explores how students' intercultural understanding can be fostered through the teaching of Asia-related content, particularly in English and History. It was developed to demonstrate the inextricable link between Asia learning and developing intercultural understanding, given the inclusion in the Australian Curriculum of the Asia and Australia’s engagement cross-curriculum priority and the Intercultural understanding general capability.

Using established conceptual frameworks from intercultural education, the research proposes a continuum of intercultural learning, from approaches that focus on ‘learning about cultures’ to those that seek to transform students’ thinking and behaviour in relation to cultural diversity and connectivity.

Key findings

  • An ongoing process of review, resulting in curriculum and pedagogic renewal
  • An understanding of English and History as rich contexts for developing intercultural understanding
  • Use of a wide range of resources, including ICT, that bring to the fore different ‘voices’ and perspectives to any story, text, key historical figure, or event
  • The willingness of teachers to deal with content that may be challenging, complex, even uncomfortable
  • Sound understanding of the difference between learning about ‘culture and developing intercultural understanding.

Understanding where one's curriculum and pedagogic practice sits along an intercultural understanding spectrum.


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Image: What Works 3 cover image courtesy of Cassie Jai

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