Greenway Park Public School – Education Week 16
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Greenway Park Public School – Education Week 16


(UPBEAT MUSIC) I just thought I’d show you all where
East Timor is situated in the world. The school has over
64% of the students coming from a language other
than English being spoken at home, and out of the 64%,
62 different languages are spoken. So we are not a one-culture school. We are a multicultural school
in the true sense. So initially we wanted
to look for ways to further engage the community
within the school environment. We wanted to move past simply having
them here on special occasions or days that celebrated
just a particular thing. And I put my hand up, saying, “There
you go, there’s an opportunity. “I can go out and share my
experiences, my cultural background “with all the kids out there.” We have this natural community
resource on our doorsteps that we can utilise. And I think it’s our imperative, it’s imperative to us
to make the most of that. Today, my mum came in to share
her Chinese and Vietnamese culture with the classes. It was great that my class
got to learn about it, so they could understand me more and what the world
was like back then. But it was also great because
I learnt more about my culture that I didn’t even know of. So she actually taught me as well. Joining together, sharing
their cultural background, everyone feeling accepted
with one another. I don’t really have
a favourite side of it. It’s just all great to experience
someone’s culture, their food, their religion,
their background. I couldn’t pick a favourite. Anyone can go home,
go to the computer, go on the internet
and then read this information. But someone actually coming in
and then sharing that information to their students is amazing. It’s different.
It’s human. It’s real. We had students exposed to stories
of grandparents who had been refugees and who legitimately had…
came on boats with nothing more
than the clothes on their backs, and that was very eye-opening
for the students because it wasn’t just a story. It was someone’s mum or dad sharing
that with them, so it had a… It was a truth.
There was an honesty there. Absolutely,
and they were able to connect with it a lot more
because that was their friend and that’s how their friend’s parents
came here. So I’m interested
by other students’ presentations because it gives me an idea
of who they are, and I don’t feel like
they’re a stranger to me ’cause I know a bit more about them
and their heritage. It’s opened up a community within
the classroom and within the school so that we can embrace these
cultures as a group positively.
Absolutely,
we’ve moved from segregation over the years to acceptance and
whatever that may bring to the table. The children – you’re obviously
going to get a lot more from them when they feel secure in themselves,
and it’s beautiful to see that strength of identity
and acceptance of… They should be proud
of their heritage. You hear a lot of things on the media
about racism and terrorists and all that kind of stuff,
but at the end of the day, people have just got to understand
that it’s not what the media says, it’s what you experience. And the fact that having a school
allowing them to educate the kids, I think it’s a good step forward to
allow people to accept and understand that people are different, but not
going to hurt you really, so… We’re all people but we all come
from different places, but this is what we call home,
so they need to learn that and take it outside of school, to
university, and to everyday living. Especially because
we’re each individuals and we’re all different
from different cultures, we have different knowledge
of different things, so when you bring
all those amazing ideas together, it forms a stronger community.

About James Carlton

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