For the purposes of this report, out of the
numerous policy documents I will specifically focus on the multicultural
policy document (1996) in context of the Visual arts Syllabus.
The multicultural policy document acknowledges that Australia is a nation of cultural diversity and that with 100 cultural and linguistic backgrounds living in Australia, makes it one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world. It states that this policy builds on existing State and Commonwealth legislation, policy documents and reports. It seeks to ensure that every level of DESC operations, from curriculum, programs, staffing procedure and so on respond to and enrich the cultural and linguistic heritage of the Australian community. It also seeks to promote harmonious community relations and contribute to the development of Australia's cultural and intellectual resources.
The document asserts that this will provide a platform for new talents, ideas, economic wealth, building a brighter future and allowing diversity to flourish, leading to greater creativity and resilience of society as a whole.
The Principles of multiculturalism are
· Cultural identity - allow children to develop there cultural ties
· Equal opportunity
· Maximizing potential
Children and students will develop an understanding,
the knowledge, and skills, to participate in a multicultural society.
Also they will gain an understanding that cultural diversity will
enhance their lives and the communities lives. This will foster
attitudes free from racist, cultural or religious prejudice, discrimination
and harassment. The policy states that the curriculum will be
culturally inclusive which will allow students to experience other
languages and cultures.
In the Visual Art syllabus, this is achieved by the use of the cultural frame. The cultural frame seeks to analyse a work of art in terms of its cultural context. For example viewing a work thorough the cultural frame would challenge the student to consider things like -
It would also encourage the student to reflect
on issues like these though the subjective frame i.e. how they
feel what they like and dislike. This may lead the student to
take affirmative action to help stamp out things they discovered
they didn't like, e.g. Racism or exploitation. The cultural frame
also allows a student to explore their own and others cultural
The policy documents also states a commitment to meeting the need of children linguistically and culturally to ensure equal opportunity of all. To allow parents in the decision making and provide staff will bicultural and bilingual skills. It states that DESC employees are bound by this policy, to apply it in their work, participate in training, and provide access to services to children, students and parents of all cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
It says that all managers, including principals, preschool directors, district superintendents, regional coordinators and principal curriculum officers as well as all employees, are responsible for-
· organisational procedures
· curriculum content and practices
·Schools and children's services provide for the learning needs of all children and students in languages other than English, the learning needs of non-English speaking children
·culturally inclusive environments are developed, free from racism and
· personnel practices value the diversity of cultural and linguistic knowledge,
Skills, and expertise that employees bring to the workplace.
In addition to the responsibilities of all employees, teaching staffs are responsible for providing:
· Culturally inclusive curriculum in all areas of learning
· Supportive and culturally inclusive learning and care environments for all
Children and students.
These facts are interesting in context of the adolescent in the caase study, Matthew Ranker(alis) when you consider the statistics on his place of birth, Bankstown -
Approximately 52,298 or 33.2% of the population
who live in Bankstown were born
overseas, 28.8% were born in a country where the language spoken was other than
English. (ABS 1996) in light of the cultural frame in the syllabus this cultural diversity would become a valuable resource to enhance the ideals in the multicultural policy document. Education delivered in this fashion may even help those students like Matthew ( my case study ) who have not as yet accepted his own cultural background, to discover and view their own cultural background so that they may learn to appreciate the diversity and positive benefits to having another cultural relationship and perhaps accept it quicker.