Beyond Borders Presentation

Beyond Borders
"Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to
internal conversations than a moving plane, ship or train. There is an almost
quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are
able to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, new
thoughts new places. Introspective reflections which are liable to stall are
helped along by the flow of the landscape. The mind may be reluctant to think
properly when thinking is all it is supposed to do.
At the end of hours of train-dreaming, we may feel we have been returned to
ourselves – that is, brought back into contact with emotions and ideas of
importance to us. It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true
selves. The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not; the
domestic setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, but
who may not be who we essentially are. "
— Alain de Botton (The Art of Travel)
Borders: Exploring
the Self through
Diverse Perspectives
A Year 9 English Unit by
Hugo Grieve – Loreto Kirribilli
Maura Manning – Pymble Ladies’ College
The Situation
• “A recent National Geographic study tested 18-24 year
old Americans, 83 percent of whom could not find
Afghanistan on a map. Seventy percent could not find
Israel or Iran. Only 37 percent could locate Iraq.”
• “50 percent of all the books in translation now published
worldwide are translated from English, but only 6
percent are translated into English.”
• “We have never been less isolationist in the variety of
goods and services we consume from around the world,
and never have we been more ignorant of the people
who produce them.”
Exploration of Difference
• It is not about what “makes us all the same”
• Opportunity to value dissonance
• Authentic learning begins when a student has powerful sense
that they have encountered something fundamentally
Our Intent
• To explore the complexities that inform contemporary
Australian adolescent identity which is no longer bound by
traditional national borders.
• To encourage Year 9 students to look beyond themselves.
• To develop a critical awareness of others’ perspectives to
enrich their understanding of themselves and our world.
• To address the Asian literature and general capabilities/crosscurricular requirements of the Australian Curriculum.
• To foster critical thinking and independence.
Australian Curriculum
• To "equip all young Australians with the essential skills,
knowledge and capabilities to thrive and compete in a
globalised world and information rich workplaces of the
current century."
Cross Curriculum Areas of the
Australian Curriculum
• Asia and Australia’s relationship • Information and
with Asia [A]
communication technologies
• Civics and citizenship [CC]
• Intercultural understanding [IU]
• Critical and creative thinking
• Difference and diversity [DD]
• Ethical understanding [EU]
• Literacy [L]
• Personal and social competence
The Unit
• Meaningful exploration of global awareness – not just ticking a box
that we have “done Asia”
• Using texts from Asia, Australia, US as a lens to examine ourselves
• Expanding our definition of Asia to include the rich literary heritage
of South East Asia and the sub-continent
• The exploration of the notion of dual identity
• Providing students with opportunities to work independently and
collaboratively at their own pace to cover a diverse range of texts
and ideas
Flexible Grouping
• Many options for grouping
Learning Style
Particular Skills
• Differentiation
• Maker Model (1982)
Learning Environment
Essential Questions
• How does Asia influence our Australian identity?
• Why should I want to know more about literature in Asia?
• Why adopt a global perspective?
• Students are issued a “passport”
• Over the course of the unit, students travel from country to
country building their knowledge of the place/culture and
reflecting on how the texts inform their understanding of
• Classes blocked on together move flexibly from room to room
completing tasks and reflecting on their experiences allow
students to work at their own pace.
Sequence of Activities
• Building understanding of what informs identity
• Discussion of concept of dual or multiple identities
• Journey begins
• Text exploring being Asian in Australia (e.g. story from Growing
Up Asian in Australia)
• Analytical writing activities
• Text exploring conflict of identity in the culture (substantial text)
• Range of activities based on this text
• Popular culture text
• Non-fiction exploring youth culture/culture of country
• Student reflection in their “passport”
• Student contribution to class Facebook
• Once students have completed tasks for this place, they travel to
the next country and undertake similar sequence there.
Project Zero Visible Thinking
• Purpose and Goals
Visible Thinking is a flexible and systematic research-based approach
to integrating the development of students' thinking with content
learning across subject matters. An extensive and adaptable
collection of practices, Visible Thinking has a double goal: on the
one hand, to cultivate students' thinking skills and dispositions, and,
on the other, to deepen content learning. By thinking dispositions,
we mean curiosity, concern for truth and understanding, a creative
mindset, not just being skilled but also alert to thinking and learning
opportunities and eager to take them
8 Cultural Forces that Define
our Classrooms
• Time
• Modelling
• Opportunities
• Interactions & Relationships
• Routines & Structures
• Physical Environment
• Language
• Expectations
• Positive staff feedback as they are working in their areas of
• Students enjoyed the variety of teaching styles
• Element of surprise
• Classrooms became cultural landscapes
• Reporting/tracking students’ progress
• Teacher understanding
• Uneven resources for different countries
• Parental concern about student placement
• Tension in teaching styles