Global Education

Teacher resources to encourage a global
perspective across the curriculum

School case studies

Global education aims to develop global citizens. Enabling young people to participate in shaping a better, shared future for the world is at the heart of global education. Here we profile learning and action in schools around Australia. The students and schools have:

  • developed awareness of a global issue
  • embraced the need to change
  • engaged in personal, community or global action
  • reflected on learning.

Bridging cultures

Connecting through technology

Fair trade

Global advocates

Global connections

Global maths

Global Peace School

Kids teaching kids

Hand washing for health

Human rights

Making a multicultural school

Microcredit fun day

Millennium Development Goals

Noongar kit

Poverty and fair trade

Protecting the local creek

Science and recycling

Sustainability leadership

Sustainable resource use

Walking for water

World Wise School

Protecting the local creek

School: Killara Primary School, Sunbury, Victoria
Year level: Year 3
Number of students involved: 25

Impetus for action

Students tested the temperature, stream flow, turbidity, pH and salt levels of their local creek. They discovered it had high levels of acidity and salt making it unsuitable for many macro-invertebrates.


The students developed a plan to protect the creek, which included planting trees and native grasses and putting hay bales along the banks and in the creek to lower turbidity; requesting tip managers, farmers and people further up Blind Creek to limit run-off; and placing collection grids in the creek and doggy-poo bag holders and bins in the reserve to limit rubbish. They wrote to the local council with their suggestions. They promised to actively support the plan with plantings and regular monitoring of the creek and fauna.

Although the council did no more than acknowledge their letter, there were long-term benefits as the students developed awareness of both the effect of people’s behaviours on the environment and their ability to exercise their civic rights. Behavioural changes were noted as a result of the students’ work: rubbish levels went down and environmental interest increased.

Killara students examine samples
Year 3 students at Killara Primary School testing water from Blind Creek

Being tuned into their own waterways and their right to express opinions, students were able to consider access to water, protection of the environment and decision-making from a global perspective. Learning about how people in other countries manage water resources extended their understanding about the diversity of opinions and priorities around environmental issues.

Microcredit Fun Day

School: Magill Primary School, South Australia
Year level: Reception – year 2
Number of students involved: 300

Impetus for action

Education officers from the Global Education Centre presented information about microcredit to students. They participated in a simulation game and examined personal stories to learn how small loans can make a big difference to people’s lives.


Students set up their own microcredit businesses for the school Microcredit Fun Day. Each class decided on a product or service. They learnt about their product or service, undertook surveys to gauge the market and wrote a business plan. They applied for a loan from the School Council.

One group of students learned how to apply hair gel and colour spray, another practised their skipping skills so they could instruct their customers, and another was taught hand massage by a parent. Students also made magnets, pet rocks, friendship rocks, honey-rock bracelets, necklaces, bookmarks, packs of playdough, lemonade and fruit jellies.

On the day itself the whole school was abuzz – students set up their stalls in the morning, and spent the afternoon selling all kinds of goods and services and buying those of others.

Some of the comments about the fun day included:

'We learned how to give change and goods.'

'I learned about people who lent other people money.'

'I learned that it's nice to help people without a job and that it's not hard to help them. Another thing I learned was that it's easy to run a business.'

'I learned that it is fun to go shopping at school and to sell.'

After the fun day each class counted the money it had collected, paid back the loan from the School Council and worked out how much profit was made.

Jellies for sale  
Students sold fruit jellies and coloured and gelled hair on the Microcredit Fun Day.

The profit, together with the Casual Day money, was $1,391. A cheque for this amount was presented to Save the Children at a special assembly celebrating Children's Week. The money will be used to fund microcredit projects in a village in Indonesia. The school hopes to keep in touch with the villagers as they take out loans to set up small businesses. 

Going further

Global education teaching activity Microfinance

Poverty and fair trade

School: suburban Melbourne
Year level: Years 9–10
Number of students involved: 25

Impetus for action

To re-engage students in their commerce subject by focusing on the marketing of sporting goods that are produced according to fair trade principles.


To add depth to students' understanding of personal finance they were asked to define or draw poverty. Their responses were stereotypical images of African people sitting around campfires. This limited understanding was used to launch discussions about where poverty exists and what should and could be done about it. Students read case studies to understand the impact of poverty on people's lives and investigate exploitation, child labour and fair trade issues. This led to exploring the concept of ethical consumerism.

Next, students were required to produce a poster, a flyer, or a radio or television commercial for ethically produced sporting equipment. The challenge was to communicate to potential customers why these goods were sold at a higher price than conventionally produced goods of similar design and quality. Through analysing the techniques used by big brand advertisers, students realised they needed to sell the concept of fair trade rather than the characteristics of sporting goods as the point of difference.

Students began to understand fair trade and how consumers can use it to positively affect levels of poverty in developing countries. They also began to have an understanding of the problems of traditional manufacturing in the developing world, the differences in income and the exploitation of workers and their families that can take place. Finally, they become more aware of the principles of consumerism, and the impact of their own behaviour.

Going further

Millennium Development Goals

School: high migrant, inner Melbourne
Year level: Years 9–10
Number of students involved: 25

Impetus for action

To add a global perspective to the 'Big City Melbourne' unit through connecting to the cultural backgrounds of students.


Students investigated the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals and collected data on progress to achieving the specific targets. They made predictions about the progress of specific countries compared to Australia before collecting detailed data. Students who had been born overseas were able to apply their prior knowledge of their country of origin to interpret or challenge data. Students were struck by the inequalities and poverty experienced by some countries and had deep discussions about the issues of universal primary education and gender equality. Analysing the materials also gave students the chance to become familiar with the role of the United Nations in promoting people's rights.

Going further

Global education teaching activities Working for a fairer world, Measuring Millennium Development Goals progress

Sustainable resource use

School: Iona Presentation College, Perth, Western Australia
Year level: Year 11, Geography
Number of students involved:

Impetus for action

A teacher from Iona Presentation College participated in the One World Centre’s Global Teaching Advocates professional learning program, leading to the planning of a number of units of globally focused classroom work, including the one described below.


As part of our geography unit we focused on sustainable resource use around the world, including studies of a number of slum areas in different places. We explored the idea that demographics, population growth, values, culture and government intervention are important building blocks for sustainable resource use.

We looked at the extraction of non-renewable resources through the mining process and rehabilitation practices. We investigated silver- and tin-mining in Bolivia, its impact on locals and the activities of advocacy groups. We compared this to iron-ore mining in the Pilbara of Western Australia. Students were able to see how companies were held more accountable in Australia and the impact of their sustainable management practices. Also, through looking more closely at slum areas, students were able to identify the challenges faced by those communities as well as what other communities have to learn from the systems and practices undertaken in places showcased by documentaries such as Welcome to Lagos and Slumming It.

We also looked at the renewable resource activity of forestry and timber production. We participated in a sustainable forest field trip at the Wellington Discovery Forest EcoEducation centre where we went on a night walk to observe the vast diversity of the forest. The students made comparisons between forestry in pine plantations and native woodlands in Western Australia and Indonesia.

Students examined key demographic figures: education, infant mortality rate, wealth, GDP, distribution of income and population. From this they concluded that Australia has the ability to enforce sustainable practices, whereas in Indonesia and Bolivia there were more difficulties in balancing the need to attract global companies with the protection of local people and the environment.

Students evaluated their own consumption patterns and the imbalance of wealth around the world. They presented well-researched and thought-provoking persuasive speeches recognising the importance of researching the facts about corporations, the complexities involved, and the difficulty of balancing economic growth and sustainability.

They now have more respect for the ease of their lives and have taken steps to improve their own carbon footprints and impact on the environment. I know that if they had a chance, they would love to visit some of the places they learned about and take the opportunity to investigate how people with so little can live quite amazing lives.

Going further
Wellington Discovery Forest at the EcoEducation centre, Western Australia

Human rights

School: Beachlands Primary School, Western Australia
Year level: Year 5/6
Number of students involved: 25

Impetus for action

A teacher from Beachlands Primary School participated in the One World Centre's Global Teaching Advocates professional learning program. This lead to the planning of a number of units of classroom work, including the one described below, ongoing classroom work with a global focus, and whole-school professional learning about global education.


We began our unit by asking students to brainstorm a list of human rights. Then they were asked to order them according to importance. We used a large thermometer drawn on the wall, and students stuck notes onto it, with the most important at the top, and least important at the bottom. This was revisited throughout the unit and students had a chance to alter it as their knowledge increased. 

Over the following weeks, students used DVDs, books and websites to research issues of human rights including poverty, food, fair trade, immigration, refugees, microcredit and aid. They played simulation games to help understand the complex issues of inequality. To learn about the geography they drew the world, highlighting the seven continents. In groups they built a continent out of playdough, created a poster and did a talk about it. They learnt about children whose rights have been abused, such as ‘Iqbal the carpet weaver’ who advocated for children’s rights, and they wrote biographies about these children.

Students examine a map and globe to learn about different parts of the world. Students placed cards outlining human rights on a thermometer to indicate level of importance.
Students learnt about human rights around the world and placed cards on a thermometer to indicate their thinking.

Students’ knowledge was assessed through two written stories, one about what they would do if they were prime minister for a day and one about experiencing a disaster that forced them to flee their homes in a hurry.
At the end of the unit, students made some radical changes to how they ranked the rights of children, realising that some of the rights they had listed were quiet insignificant outside their own community.

Going further
Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand 

Hand washing for health 

School: Belair Schools, South Australia
Year level: 5
Number of students involved: 3

Impetus for action

Belair Schools’ International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) encourages students to choose an area to investigate that explores the idea ‘Decisions we make can help or hinder ourselves and others’.


After examining some global education resources from the Global Education Centre (GEC), the ‘Healthy Hooligans’ team decided to investigate how the choices we make in relation to our health affect ourselves and others.

The boys visited the GEC in their own time and returned to school with information, ideas and a lot of enthusiasm for their inquiry, particularly about the health of people in developing countries. The group collected samples of E. Coli and made bookmarks and posters to show how important it is to wash hands to reduce the transfer of germs to others.

During the PYP Year 5 exhibition, the students set up a booth in the school hall, welcoming all who visited their stall with a handshake. Their hands were coated with glitter gel and it was amazing to see how far the gel had spread around the hall during the exhibition. They explained that this was to simulate how germs can be transferred from one person to another when there is poor sanitation and hygiene.

The children were very motivated by the response they received at the exhibition. Their reflections indicated that they were far more aware of the importance of handwashing to reduce the spread of disease and are more respectful and appreciative of the toilet facilities they have at home and at school.

One of the students participated in the World Vision 40 Hour Famine and raised money to assist children living in developing countries.

The Healthy Hooligans team outline the importance of good hygiene for staying healthy. The Healthy Hooligans team created a display of informative posters to educate others about the importance of hygiene to stay healthy.

The Healthy Hooligans team collected and examined samples of e-coli from different sources to gauge the impact of washing hands. People at the exhibition demonstrated the spread of disease with glitter gel.
The Healthy Hooligans team educated people about the importance of good hygiene for staying healthy. 

Going further

Global education teaching activities Staying healthy, Activity 4: Handwashing for hygiene, Community led sanitation  

Global Peace School 

School: St Patrick's College, Shorncliffe, Brisbane
Year level: Whole of school (years 5–12)
Number of students involved: 1,100 students

Impetus for action

In 2010, St Patrick's College made a commitment to embedding the Edmund Rice Framework for educating for justice and peace across the whole school curriculum and sought guidance and resource support from the Global Learning Centre (GLC).


It was identified that a commonality of vision could be found in the:

1. Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians Goal 2, which aims to develop active and informed citizens through a commitment to the values of democracy, equity and justice, and participation in Australia's civic life.

2. Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) Educating for a Better World for All, Framework for Educating for Justice and Peace aims for a transformational curriculum that is empowering, reflective, rigorous, authentic and that promotes justice and peace literacy.

3. Global Perspectives: A framework for global education in Australian schools, which aims to enable young people to participate in shaping a better shared future for the world through learning about peace building and conflict resolution.

4. The Save the Children Global Peace Schools Program which partners with children, educators, schools, parents and communities to integrate child rights, peace building, global awareness and social inclusion concepts across the curriculum, classroom and wider community. 

The GLC worked closely with the college's Curriculum Leader, Justice and Peace and Save the Children to develop a program which highlighted the alignment between ACARA's cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities (particularly Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, Ethical behavior and Intercultural understanding), the EREA Framework for Educating for Justice and Peace, and the global education learning emphases of peace building and conflict resolution.

By using this coordinated approach to whole-school planning, outcomes for both the emerging Australian Curriculum and for justice and peace literacy were achieved. The college's publication, Just Us, highlights such examples of students undertaking learning experiences which link service to the community and mandated curriculum requirements, both external (Australian Curriculum) and internal (Peace and Justice Framework).

In addition, the college worked to make explicit the various articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This was achieved by raising awareness of child rights at whole-of-school and house assemblies through personal narratives, role-plays and audiovisual materials.

Other initiatives included the placement of 'Rights Cards' around the college in appropriate locations, such as Article 28 (Right to Education) and Article 29 (Goals of Education) placed in all classrooms; Article 13 (Freedom of Expression) placed in art/drama rooms; and Article 17 (Access to information, mass media) placed in the library.

On 21 September 2012, St Patrick's became the first school in Queensland to become a Save the Children Global Peace School. 

Connecting through technology

School: Point Clare Public School, New South Wales
Year level: 5–6
Number of students involved: 60

Impetus for action

Class teacher Judy Wilson was interested in the ChildFund Connect program. She saw it as an opportunity for children to see the world beyond themselves and learn about children from a different culture. She was particularly interested in the use of technology, video and Skype to engage students in learning about children in different parts of the world. As a result, she signed up two class groups to engage in the ChildFund Connect program and connect with a classroom in Timor-Leste and a children’s club in Vietnam.


During Terms 1 and 2, the Point Clare students connected with their partner groups in Timor-Leste and Vietnam using video and other multimedia. They engaged with the ChildFund Connect website, created photo-stories and made videos to share with their overseas peers.

Students in Australia watched videos made by students in Vietnam. Used with permission.
Students in Australia watched videos made by students in Vietnam.
Used with permission

Students voted on which shared topics they would like to explore using video. They created 10 short videos on sport and gardening, which they shared with their peers in Vietnam and Timor-Leste. In exchange, they received 10 videos from the children in Vietnam and Timor-Leste on the same topics. All videos were translated into English, Vietnamese and Tetum with the support of the ChildFund Connect facilitators in each country. The students also welcomed the ChildFund Connect facilitators from Vietnam and Timor-Leste during a special visit in May, by holding a typical Aussie barbecue at the school.

Students in Timor-Leste made films for Australian students to view. Used with permission.
Students in Timor-Leste made films for Australian students to view.
Used with permission

At the end of Term 2, the students were asked to think about how the overall project had changed, or not changed, the way they thought about children in Vietnam and Timor-Leste. They said:

'The way we get our food is the same as them – so I respect them'

'You sort of realise no one's better than anyone else – they're still happy.'

'It’s taught me we're really lucky to be in Australia – seeing what it's like in a different country where they don't have much and we do.'

'At the start I didn’t know anything [about Vietnam ] … Now I know more.'

Teacher Judy Wilson and a Vietnam display developed by her class. Used with permission
Teacher Judy Wilson and  Vietnam display developed by her class.
Used with permission

Judy Wilson also felt that the students had gained new skills and awareness through the project. 'It's led to such an interest. I've got kids coming at lunchtime now to video things – writing storyboards, filming issues and things they think are important.'
Judy Wilson linked the ChildFund Connect project with the Global Connections unit and said, 'It just made the whole unit so much more significant'. The students are now focusing on creating a video for the ChildFund Connect International Children's Film Festival 'Water World'.

Going further
ChildFund Connect
ChildFund Our Day Project

Sustainability leadership

School: Northcote High School, Victoria
Year level: Year 9
Number of students involved: 37

Impetus for action

The High Resolves Global Citizenship and Leadership Program students chose to focus on environmental sustainability for their School Action Project as many of them were also in the school Green Team.


The consensus-building and voting processes led students to decide to apply their passion for sustainability on re-powering their school with renewable energy. After an assessment of what could realistically be achieved by the end of the year, they decided to focus on the following objectives:

  1. Re-power the school's Global Citizenship Centre.
  2. Install energy-efficient light globes throughout the school.
  3. Inform students about the importance of environmental sustainability.

The students understood that they would have to raise a substantial amount of money to fund their project. They held a movie night at the school, three bake sales and a sausage sizzle, and used Cadbury fundraiser boxes to raise a total of $4,000. The students also applied for and received a $1,000 grant from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In November 2012, the students ordered the solar panels and these were installed on the 30 November. Seeing the value in the project, the school decided to match the funds the students had raised to purchase a larger system. As a result, the school installed 20 solar panels with a 5 kilowatt inverter.

The students have also been able to create broader awareness of sustainability at their school. They put up posters and stickers in all classrooms to inform students and teachers about the importance of being energy conscious and providing tips to save energy. They designed and acquired posters to raise awareness about the correct use of recycling bins. Their project also involved presenting on the importance of being environmentally conscious in the classroom at a school staff meeting.

SCS_solar panel by Maisie Strong

Solar panels at Northcote High School
Photo by M Strong

The students are looking forward to measuring the change in the school's power bills after installing the solar panels. Following the project, students reported a sense of achievement as well as increased confidence in their ability to get things done:

This project gave me a great understanding of leadership, teamwork, and what it means to really make a difference in your school.

This project really helped change our school for the better, and really helped me improve my leadership skills. 

Going further
Northcote High School
High Resolves Global Citizenship and Leadership Program
Australian Youth Climate Coalition 

World Wise school

School: Ashburton Primary School, Victoria
Year levels: Prep – year 6
Number of students involved: 489

Impetus for action
After a teacher professional learning session with the Global Education Project the staff decided to encourage students to broaden their worldview to become more active global citizens.

The whole-school World Wise program is based on the objectives of the Global Education Framework. Our program emphasises the unity and interdependence of human society, an appreciation of cultural diversity, human rights, peace building and actions for a sustainable future in different times and places.

The World Wise program focuses on a different continent each term. To create an environment to encourage explorations, a special classroom was set up with maps and artefacts from around the world.

Passports were made and stamped as different countries were 'visited' and discussed. Records were kept in individual journals. Students learnt about cultural diversity through language, history, geography, customs and food.  


Students are learning how to conduct a Chinese tea ceremony.
Photo by Dr Cheryl McKenzie, Ashburton Primary School

Students learnt about the world’s rainforests and the need to protect environments to prevent animals from becoming extinct. 


Students use iPads to expand their understanding of countries in Africa.
Photo by Dr Cheryl McKenzie, Ashburton Primary School

Speakers from the local Lions Club, The Orangutan Project, Plan, and the Global Poverty Project engaged students with real-life situations. Students began to think more widely about the world around them and plan to take action for change. They discussed the values of various world organisations and chose to raise money to support specific projects. 


Year 5 students cooked food to raise more than $500 to support orphaned orang-utans in Borneo.
Photo by Dr Cheryl McKenzie, Ashburton Primary School

Year 5 students cooked food to raise more than $500 to support orphaned orang-utans in Borneo.  

The whole school created items from recycled materials to sell and raise funds for the Make Poverty History campaign. Preps made pasta necklaces, year 1 painted wishing stones, year 2 made wooden-bead necklaces, years 3 and 4 made friendship bracelets and years 5 and 6 made African nebella dolls and models out of wire. 

Through the World Wise program students have developed a global mindset as they have tried to make sense of the diversity of the lives of people in other countries. They have learnt to take responsibility for their actions, respect and value diversity and see themselves as global citizens who can contribute to a peaceful, just and sustainable world.

Going further
Ashburton Primary School 

Fair trade

School: Riverside Primary School, Tasmania
Year levels: Year 5–6
Number of students involved: 25

Impetus for action
The school ruMAD? team identified their vision for creating a better future. They attended the Fairer World Festival run by A Fairer World and learnt about how children in developing countries miss out on school because they have to work. Students decided to focus on fair trade awareness as a means of achieving MDG2 – Achieve universal primary education. They also wanted to become Tasmania’s first Fair Trade–accredited school.

Throughout the year the ruMAD? team focused on encouraging the school community to switch to buying fair trade products.

Students identified all the parts of the school community who might be affected by changing to fair trade products and then canvassed their support. They wrote letters to the School Association, Coles Supermarkets (who supply sports equipment), senior staff, the canteen manager and the school newsletter outlining issues of fair trade and requesting responses to their proposal to buy fair trade items.

Their letters were well-received: Coles contacted the manufacturer and the distributor of their sports equipment for assurance that they are child-labour-free. Students were invited to speak to meetings of the School Association and Student Representative Council. This resulted in very positive feedback and full support.

Students devised and ran a very successful 'Milkshake Monday' Awareness Day, making fair trade chocolate milkshakes to sell to students and staff. The money raised was used to purchase fair trade sports balls for the PE department. It was a great chance for everyone to try out fair trade products – the milkshakes tasted great – and parents watched a presentation by students before tasting fair trade tea and coffee. A students versus staff and parents soccer match was held with an Etiko fair trade soccer ball.

Students cooking with fairtrade chocolate 

Students prepare chocolate crackles to raise awareness of fair trade chocolate produced without child labour.
Photo: Riverside Primary School

The ruMAD? team took every opportunity to raise awareness: creating a presentation for the school office foyer, an information package for students and a flyer to encourage school families to support fair trade. They had a stall at the 'Christmas on the Lawn' school community celebration. They had fair trade parties to teach classmates about fair trade in fun ways such as pass the parcel games with quiz questions, pop the balloon (with more questions and facts in the balloon), fair trade party bags and delicious party food made with fair trade ingredients. Zapizapu, a story explaining the concept of fair trade, was read and performed for younger classes.

These many activities fulfilled the accreditation criteria and Riverside Primary is now recognised as a Fair Trade School. Riverside Primary also won the 2012 Tasmanian Human Rights School Award 'For the students' and teachers' continuing passion in raising awareness about, and taking action on, human rights issues and in particular their work on encouraging the adoption of fair trade, access to education for girls and addressing poverty'.

Going further
Riverside Primary School
Fair Trade schools 
A fairer world The Tasmanian Centre for Global Learning

Making a multicultural school

School: Glen Waverley Primary School, Victoria
Year levels: Year F–6
Number of students involved: 500

Impetus for action
Glen Waverley Primary School has students from 35 different nations, predominantly Sri Lanka, India, China and Korea. There is high mobility as many families are business migrants. The school has worked closely with the Global Education Project to develop a whole-school approach to multicultural and global citizenship perspectives across the curriculum.

The school's Welcoming New Families to our School policy outlines expectations to ensure all families feel comfortable and able to settle in smoothly. Families are conducted on school tours with interpreters (when possible), provided a welcome pack of information and maps, and invited to a welcome afternoon tea. Where needed, parents are enrolled in English language classes and linked to welfare organisations. Within a month of arrival new families are contacted by the Student Wellbeing Leader or principal and class teacher. They are linked to parents who have children in the same year level(s) as their children.

Around the school there are displays of flags and welcome signs in a variety of languages. School assemblies include performances by the Chinese choir, Indian, Sri Lankan and Greek dancing, and music on a traditional Chinese instrument like a zither. Children are greeted in different languages and major cultural festivals such as Chinese New Year and Diwali are celebrated.

During Cultural Diversity Week the Victorian Multicultural Commission chairperson, Chin Tan, invited every child to turn to their neighbour and say hello in their neighbour's language. Manal greeted everyone in an African language, 'With my thoughts I greet you; with my words I greet you; with my heart I greet you; I have nothing up my sleeve'. After the assembly Chin was interviewed by Senudi and Sithumya in the TV studio with Steven (ICT Captain) recording. The interview was played at an assembly and on the TV in the foyer.

Community members have provided professional learning for staff about the background of the students and their countries of origin, family values and expectations. They are actively involved in supporting classroom and whole-school activities.

display of flags from many countries

The multicultural community is celebrated through flags and signs saying 'welcome' in a variety of languages.
Photo: Glen Waverley Primary School

In the classroom, new students are paired with a buddy who will look after them. Teachers draw upon the experience of living in different countries in their curriculum. The school has undertaken a broad range of initiatives with a multicultural and global focus, including work with UNICEF ambassadors and Childfund Connect to make digital connections with children in Vietnam, Timor Leste, Laos and Sri Lanka.

Each grade level undertakes units of work with a global focus and staff nurture their students' sense of social responsibility and active citizenship. Students are encouraged to apply this lens to their school work, helping them to understand that they have a part to play in making positive changes in their own community and the world.

In 2012, the school was recognised for its outstanding effort in working to serve the multicultural and wider community with an Excellence in Multiculturalism Award.

Going further
Glen Waverley Primary School
Victorian Multicultural Commission, Teachers' Resource Kit

Bridging cultures

School: Macarthur Anglican School, Cobbitty, New South Wales
Year level: Years 9–12
Number of students involved: 50
Subject: Indonesian language

Impetus for action
Teachers of Indonesian aimed to increase the linguistic knowledge and skills and improve the intercultural understanding capabilities of their students. They became part of the Australia–Asia School Partnerships 'BRIDGE' Project (Building Relationships through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement), linking with the Madrasah Tsanawiyah Negeri 3 (MTsN 3) Jakarta school, Indonesia.

At Macarthur Anglican School we believe that the goal of language learning puts building relationships before tourism or business. The Asia Education Foundation's BRIDGE program has enabled us to develop relationships with Indonesian teachers and students. It has given purpose to the language and intercultural learning of the classroom and supported our aim of developing values such as respect, hospitality, compassion and empathy.

Initial involvement in the program began in 2010 when two teachers from MTsN 3 Junior High School in Jakarta visited us. The focus of this visit was to foster online collaboration. During their stay the MTsN 3 teachers became valuable members of our school community. They were interviewed by students in Indonesian classes on topics such as family and school life, health and environmental issues. Most memorable was the teachers' visit to a year 11 studies of religion class. The open discussion and sharing of experience broadened students' understanding of Islam in a contemporary Indonesian context.

Upon the teachers' return to MTsN 3, year 9 students participated in a series of Skype lessons with students in the MTsN 3 bilingual 'kangaroo class'. As students questioned each other on family life and daily routine in Indonesia and Australia they were pleasantly surprised by the many similarities in their lives.

Since then the relationship between the two schools has gained momentum through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, Skype sessions, ICT-based collaborative activities and additional staff and student visits. Many strong friendships have been formed during each visit and both school communities have benefitted from the opportunity to show hospitality to their guests.

Macarthur girls skyping Indonesian girls

Macarthur Anglican School students Skype MTsN 3 students in Jakarta.
Photo: Macarthur Anglican School

Online collaborations have continued to grow through initiatives such as the inter-school speech contest. Each school selected three finalists who performed in a live final via Skype. Teachers from MTsN 3 selected Macarthur's best Indonesian speaker, while Macarthur staff selected the best English speaker from MTsN 3.

On a two day visit to MTsN 3, Macarthur students and staff were particularly touched by the raising of the Australian flag and the singing of the national anthem during the welcome ceremony.

The intercultural and language learning at Macarthur culminates in year 12 with a learning journal documenting metacognitive understandings and reflections on matters of personal identity, as well as topic areas of personal interest, such as environment, religion and youth issues. The journals demonstrate students' abilities in discerning the interconnectedness of language and culture, for example, through comparison of idioms, significance of dialect, as well as use of the passive construction to deflect attention from the subject. These journals are available for use by other students.

All activities undertaken in the BRIDGE program enhance and extend the work occurring in the Indonesian classroom. Great emphasis is placed on developing intra- and intercultural understanding through reflective and critical analysis of the social and cultural significance and purpose of texts. Authentic materials and interactions highlight a diverse range of perspectives within Indonesian culture.

It is our hope that this learning, with its vital focus on relationships, will transform our students' ability to think, analyse, reflect and evaluate in a way that will impact their future far beyond the classroom.

Going further
Macarthur Anglican School 
Madrasah Tsanawiyah Negeri 3 (MTsN 3) Jakarta
Asia Education Foundation, Australia–Asia BRIDGE 

Global connections

School: Geilston Bay High School
Year level: Years 7–10
Number of students involved: 15

Impetus for action
Global Connections is part of the ruMAD? (Are You Making A Difference?) program at Geilston Bay High School. The program, supported by a not-for-profit organisation, A Fairer World, is an integral component of the school's focus on social responsibility, social justice and service learning. Students believe that everyone should have access to education and be safe and healthy. They committed themselves to making a difference by supporting organisations working with young people in adversity, whether that be poverty, social disadvantage, disability or illness.

Students gained a deep understanding of local and global poverty and adversity by researching, interviewing guest speakers, visiting places such as Ronald McDonald House and the Royal Hobart Hospital and cooking for Loui's Van and their school breakfast program twice a week. These insights led them to an appreciation of how they could work towards their vision by raising funds and by regular volunteering.

Gielston Bay students help build a water tank  Completed water tank in Vanuatu  

Students worked with villagers to build and paint the water tank.
Photo: Geilston Bay High School

The year culminated in a trip to Vanuatu to build a water tank in Pango Village on the island of Efate. The trip was funded by a number of very successful fundraisers organised by the students. They raised enough money to build the $1500 water tank and provide hygiene education for children in several villages. During the ten-day trip they also participated in village life, learnt a little Bislama and spent time with the 'mamas' of the village learning to weave and cook lap lap (a local dish made from taro). They gained new understanding of the richness of the local culture and different attitudes to wealth.

The parting words of the village elder reflect the enthusiasm and commitment of the students to the project. He said, 'They may only be little girls but they did big fella work'.

Going further
Geilston Bay High School ruMAD? program 
Volunteer Holidays 

Walking for water

School: St Monica's College, Epping, Victoria
Year level: Year 10
Number of students involved: 50
Subject: Mathematics – Measurement

Impetus for action
At St Monica's, commitment to social justice is lived out through the curriculum. Staff wanted to expose students to inequity and limited access to water and sanitation of people living in developing countries and to encourage them to think about their own water usage and to take action for change.

A measurement unit of work incorporated information from a Caritas water project in Tanzania. Students explored their own water usage and compared this to the typical amount of water used by people in many nations in sub-Saharan Africa. Students tried carrying water for 10 minutes and then calculated how long it would take them to walk six kilometres for water. They engaged with the story of the Tanzania project, and then explored the best possible locations of access points and the most efficient tank shape using measurement skills (area, total surface area, volume and capacity).

Students carried 10 litres of water to appreciate the hardships endured by the community in Tanzania. St Monica's College, Epping
Students carried 10 litres of water to appreciate the hardships endured by the community in Tanzania.
Photo: St Monica's College, Epping

As this was our first endeavour into something like this, one of our greatest concerns was to ensure students' results were not compromised. One of the first things we noticed was that the quieter or disengaged students became much more involved in the class. They became determined to work out the best possible solutions. Questions that they would have given up on in the past became an important challenge that they felt they needed to engage with for the sake of the villagers in Tanzania. 

Students completed all units of measurement and the same test as all other year 10s. On the whole, test results were comparable with those in other classes. However, many students who had struggled earlier in the year and who were more engaged in this unit showed a vast improvement in this unit compared to other units throughout the year. Students gained a greater understanding of the importance of water, and many students commented that they would definitely make a more conscientious effort to conserve water. Furthermore, students developed empathy for those who are much less fortunate than them. Several students from this group later joined the school's social justice group as a direct result of this unit.

Going further
Delivering water
St Monica's College, Epping 
The Water Project
Thankyou Movement

Global maths

School: Auburn Girls High School, New South Wales
Year level:  Year 8
Number of students involved: 30
Subject: Mathematics 

Impetus for action
The Mathematical Association of New South Wales used a grant from the Global Education Project New South Wales to promote numeracy skills in the context of global education.  Recognising that assisting students to make links between subjects can foster successful learning, the Head Teacher, Mathematics, gained school-wide support for the planning and implementation of a three‐day cross‐curriculum project based on The Amazing Race.

Students were divided into groups of four to research a selected country from the Asia-Pacific region by completing a number of tasks (roadblocks) within a tight timeframe.

Teams of students prepare to collect information about their country. Auburn Girls High School
Teams of students prepare to collect information about their country
Photo: Auburn Girls High School

These included: 

  1. Preparing a presentation about a selected country (mathematics and geography), featuring:
    • facts and descriptions, compared with Australia
    • languages spoken, with some key greetings
    • currency, with conversions to Australian dollars
    • demographic, population, urban/rural distribution, mortality and birth rates, predicted population for 2050
    • map of country with provinces and capitals, rivers, mountains etc
    • weather description for capital, presented as a climograph
    • cultural details and human rights
    • transport – types and usage rates.
  2. How will you communicate? (science and technology)
    • Gathering information about technology use (microwaves, mobile phones, internet, computers) and environmental impact and responses
  3. What will you take? (geography and mathematics)
    • Planning what luggage you will take, calculating the weight and determining airline restrictions to check whether your bag will be allowed
  4. What will you eat? (health, mathematics)
    • Investigating local cuisines; preparing a simple recipe for seven people (team plus judges) within budget
  5. Where will you go? (geography, mathematics)
    • Investigating some key landmarks in the capital city (eg a heritage site, religious or worship place and a famous natural feature)
    • Creating a map showing their locations and travelling distances
  6. Trip planning (English, geography, mathematics)

Students prepared a detailed pre-departure plan and itinerary for a three-day trip to their nominated country, leaving from Sydney. The plan detailed:

  • visa requirements
  • luggage requirements
  • concerns in country (Smart Traveller)
  • itinerary
  • timeline based on places to be visited, mode of transport and distances (average speed, time differences, time spent travelling)
  • budget for travel, accommodation, food, entrance fees with money conversions.

A student survey indicated that students had enjoyed the activity. Pre- and post-tests indicated improved understanding of numerical, spatial, measurement and statistics concepts, and skills to apply them in the problem-solving challenges. Teacher evaluations were positive. They enjoyed working in cross-curriculum teams and gaining insights about integrating a global perspective into mathematics and their own learning areas. 

Science and recycling

Name: Cleveland District State High School, Queensland
Year level: 8
Number of students involved: 30
Subject: Earth science – rock cycle

Impetus for action
A teacher's connections with DeforestACTION and the Global Learning Centre led to engaging students in their studies about the rock cycle through the hidden costs of mobile phones.

Students were presented with the research question 'What is the true cost of our digital devices, such as mobile phones?' as part of their rock cycle studies.

They watched a video from the Story of Stuff website to learn about product lifecycles and the hidden 'costs' of mobile electronic devices.

Students quickly found that mobile phones contain a mineral called coltan which is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is linked to child labour, child soldiers and the degradation of the natural habitat – leading to the endangerment of gorillas, chimpanzees and other wildlife.

Students were outraged that the mining of coltan was contributing to such destruction. They realised that their own mobile phones also contributed to the problem, and that they needed to dispose of their phones through recycling programs and inform others about the associated issues. Students began a campaign to recycle mobile phones in the school.

Poster of a mobile phone  with the message 'I'm calling on you to donate your old mobile phone here'. Along the left side are images of animals and the words 'the Jane Goodall Institute Australia'. At the bottom of the poster is a 'Deforest Action' logo and the words 'How will you be helping?'
One of the posters produced as a result of student's responding to their learning.

They partnered with DeforestACTION and the Jane Goodall Institute of Australia, and worked with a local graphic designer to create awareness posters that would spread their new knowledge to other students at the school. In the first year they collected 80 phones. They then expanded their campaign to include all electronic waste  and to have the school dispose of electronic equipment, including printers and computers, in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Students shared their learning and action with their peers and with schools around the world at one of DeforestACTION's global webinars, to a global audience of more than 10,000 participants.

Going further 
DeforestACTION phones; lesson plan 
The Jane Goodall Institute Australia  

Noongar kit

School: Coolbinia Primary School, Western Australia
Year level: Years K–7

Impetus for action
Coolbinia Primary School is a government school located in inner-suburban Perth, Western Australia. In 2013, a number of the school's teaching staff took part in the One World Centre's Global Teaching Advocates program, which gives intensive professional learning support to a small group of Western Australian teachers wanting to increase their knowledge and skills in global education. The program also leads to the development of practical school-based global education projects.

The staff explored the idea that an important part of fostering global thinking in school was a strong understanding of identity and heritage, including knowledge and experience of local Aboriginal history and culture. The project also gave the school an excellent opportunity to develop resources to help fulfill the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum priority.

Over a number of months, Coolbinia Primary School put together the Noongar Djinanginy Kadidjiny (Seeing and Understanding) Hands-On Kit – an extensive collection of teaching ideas, artwork, books, musical instruments, and other hands-on teaching items. The aim was to produce a high-quality experiential kit that could be loaned to schools across Western Australia. It was put together after a process of whole school planning with staff, and consultation with many local Noongar organisations and community members.

A man helps four children to paint a canvas.Hand-drawn diagram of concentric circles divided into six sections. The image is too small to make out the labels.
Left: Students worked with Peter Farmer to produce artwork for their Noongar kit. Right: A diagram showing the six Noongar seasons with their related activities.
Photo: Coolbinia Primary School

The process for putting together the kit included a number of incursions and excursions where students learned from local Noongar Elders and artists; trialling lessons from the hands-on kit across different year levels; and gaining feedback from students about what they had learned about Noongar history and culture.

The kit is relevant across a range of learning areas including English, geography, history and the Arts. It has been made available for loan from the One World Centre library, which is the Western Australian resource centre for the Global Education Project.    

Going further
Kaartdijin Noonhar, Sharing Noongar Culture 

Kids teaching kids

School: Nyabing Primary School, Western Australia
Year level: Years 4–7

Impetus for action
In 2013, the Nyabing Primary School Principal participated in the One World Centre's Global Teaching Advocates program, which gives intensive professional learning support to a small group of Western Australian teachers wanting to increase their knowledge and skills in global education. The program also leads to the development of practical school-based global education projects.

Nyabing Primary School is a small rural school of approximately 40 students in the southern wheat belt of Western Australia. The Nyabing Global Teaching Advocates project began by developing staff awareness of global education perspectives and how to incorporate these in the classroom. The school had chosen to focus on global water issues, especially as students could relate easily to water use and consumption, having grown up on farms and in country areas.

Two staff members developed teaching programs for their students that linked their new global understandings to the Australian Curriculum. These were then taught in each classroom over Term 3. The aim was for students to display a deep understanding of water around the world, including the topics of water consumption, safe and unsafe water sources, water diseases, and water-related challenges facing countries and communities experiencing poverty.

To complete this teaching program the school held a Kids Teaching Kids Day with students from two other schools from the region – Pingrup Primary School and Kukerin Primary School. The day was promoted via a short radio segment on the local ABC morning program, with school leaders explaining the purpose of the event and how it would work.

A boy washes his hands under a tippy tap by operating the foot lever to pull a string placed over a cross-bar and tilt a container of water.
A boy washes his hands under a tippy tap by operating the foot lever to pull a string placed over a cross-bar and tilt a container of water. 
Photo: Nyabing Primary School

Firstly the Nyabing students had the opportunity to share some of the work that they had completed and some water facts during a water-themed assembly. Following the assembly, the visiting students were split into groups and were assigned a station. This was where the 'expert teachers' (the Years 4–7 students) taught various topics related to water. Stations included: a 'water facts sort', information about the water cycle, a water game that involved collecting water from different sources, and a 'tippy tap' to wash hands. The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all the children who attended, and the Nyabing students and teachers received very positive feedback from the other participating schools.

From the project, staff developed greater understanding of global challenges and the importance of incorporating world issues into daily teaching. Students gained greater understanding of global water challenges as well as having the experience of teaching other students. The program involved parents and other community members. It also helped to form links with other rural schools.

Going further
Tippy tap 
Staying healthy  

Global advocates

School: Esperance Senior High School, Western Australia
Year level: Years 8–9

Impetus for action
Esperance Senior High School is a regional secondary school of approximately 900 students located on the Western Australian south-eastern coast.

In 2013, the Head of the Society and Environment Learning Area participated in the One World Centre's Global Teaching Advocates program, which gives intensive professional learning support to a small group of Western Australian teachers wanting to increase their knowledge and skills in global education. The program also leads to the development of practical school-based global education projects.

In her report about the school's project, the Head wrote about how important it was to take intentional steps towards being more globally focused:

Our school is a country remote high school. Whilst staff and students at the school come from diverse backgrounds, the geographical isolation of the town sometimes makes it difficult to add a global perspective to the curriculum. It would be great to visit cultural centres, museums and have outside speakers come to classes but the logistics and costs restrict this. 

Becoming a Global Teaching Advocate school was important to ensure students were developing their sense of the wider world and that their strong sense of community could transfer to the global community. We are all part of a global village and students need to be aware of the issues the world faces and more importantly must have opportunities to take action about the issues we learn about.

Initially the school applied to become a Global Teaching Advocate school focusing on Society and Environment, however other teachers became interested and involved and so the project grew. Four teachers were involved in the project, all creating their own schemes of work and having separate action plans.

After initial professional learning and collaboration by staff, globally focused projects were undertaken across four learning areas.

Year 9 economics – fair trade
Students in Year 9 Society and Environment undertook a two-week economics unit looking at the topic of fair trade. The class looked at the various aspects of fair trade and how it worked within the trade system, including the positive impacts of fair trade and the success it has had in recent years, economically and socially. Students undertook web quests, watched documentaries and developed their own awareness program, which included developing a peer teaching program and visiting a local primary school to undertake some lessons with the years 6–7 students. Students also put together a competition to promote fair trade chocolate.

Students sitting at a table with a laptop and notebooks.
Students plan how they would explain fair trade to primary students.
Photo: Esperance Senior High School

The students felt empowered by being able to teach what they had learnt about fair trade to younger students, and they could see that their action plan of raising awareness and encouraging people in the local community to change their consumer preferences to fair trade chocolate had real impact. The program showed that they had power to use knowledge to promote positive change.

Year 9 music – Indonesian compositions
Year 9 music students undertook an eight-week module in Indonesian music. They began by looking at some general information about Indonesian geography and culture. They listened to examples of traditional and modern day Indonesian music. The class then went on to research some specific challenges faced by people in Indonesia, including earthquakes, tsunamis, religious conflict, drug trafficking, the positives and negatives of tourism, and poverty.

The students learnt about the different traditional music ensembles and instruments, and compared them to those of today. They also learnt about traditional Indonesian scales, which they used to compose a piece of music in groups. Their composition had to be based on or describe through music one of the issues that had been discussed.

Two girls sitting in front of an assembly. One of the girls holds a guitar.
Students perform their Indonesian compositions to the whole school. 
Photo: Esperance Senior High School

The compositions had to be written for either the school concert band or the guitar ensemble. These compositions were then performed by the ensembles for local primary schools, along with some smaller Indonesian compositions and discussions by the students.

Year 8 geography – outback tourism
The school took advantage of the year 8 geography course changing to include the new Australian Curriculum unit 'Landforms and landscapes'. As the lessons needed to be created from scratch it was a great opportunity to ensure that the three cross-curriculum priorities of Sustainability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, and Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia were represented in the new scheme of work.

Students became more informed about the value of land to different cultures. The students especially enjoyed learning about a number of Dreaming stories and how beliefs related to landforms. The class also got involved in helping to maintain the local landscapes, including producing a number of Keep Australia Beautiful 'Outback Packs', which were delivered to the local tourist information centre, where they are being distributed to tourists to help promote the conservation of local national parks and other areas.

Year 9 English – reducing our ecological footprint
Prior to reading the novel Juno of Taris, the class discussed important aspects of ecological sustainability. While reading the novel, the class completed a series of activities linked to Bloom's taxonomy, focusing on understanding the narrative conventions of novels. They researched what a biodome was like, and the class was surprised at the ecological footprint they create through their own 'everyday' practices. A strong focus was placed on the theme of ecological sustainability and the democratic process.

The class discussed how they could change their behaviour and reduce their footprint. The Mobile Muster, a recycling program based on mobile phones and their accessories, was immediately adopted. Students raised awareness in the school community by constructing a library display with a Mobile Muster collection box and also set up more collection points in the town.