Cultural inclusion

Culturally inclusive practice is important at the whole school level and the curriculum, or classroom, level.

At the whole school level, culturally inclusive practice focuses on:

  • inter-group relations among students
  • relationships between the school, parents and community
  • communication and consultative decision making strategies
  • representative student voice and leadership
  • acceptance of diversity as normal and comfortable.

Culturally inclusive schools and learning environments

Culturally inclusive curriculum

A culturally inclusive curriculum reflects the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of society. Students learn in a supportive environment free from prejudice and discrimination. Opportunities are available for students to identify as Australian and explore cultures and beliefs that may be different from their own.

Culturally inclusive practice encompasses curriculum content and pedagogy at classroom level. Materials and examples challenge stereotypes to avoid prejudice and bias. Teaching and learning activities provide students with equal opportunities to learn, share experiences and succeed at school.

In developing culturally inclusive content, teachers:

In delivering culturally inclusive content, teachers:

Selecting resources

The following criteria and key questions provide guidance for teachers when making choices about which resources to use.

  • Do the resources present accurate and contemporary information?
  • Do resources reflect the cultural diversity of Australian society?
  • Do they help students understand and respect people from cultures different from their own?
  • Do they make generalisations or over-simplifications which may lead to stereotyping?
  • Are there indications of racial bias or stereotyping?
  • Are appropriate or biased messages conveyed by illustrations and photographs?
  • Do the resources reflect a wide range of perspectives?
  • Do they include a cross-section of people in diverse cultural contexts both within Australia and other places?
  • Do the events, topics or issues presented reflect a range of historical, social and cultural perspectives?
  • Is there an overemphasis on differences between cultures?
  • Is there a focus on the exotic or extreme?
  • Is there an over-emphasis on problems?
  • Do the resources illustrate intercultural sharing and understanding?
  • Do they address significant and relevant contemporary issues?
  • Do the resources present positive images of people from diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Do the resources accurately reflect Australia’s Indigenous and colonial past and history of migration?
  • Do resources stress the equality of all Australians in a democratic society?
  • Do they address issues of social justice?
  • Are minority groups introduced in a natural way?
  • Do they create a feeling of pride in cultural heritage?
  • Do they complement other material on similar topics?
  • Is the portrayal of minority cultures tokenistic?
  • Are different points of view presented or is any one point of view more prominent or more favourably represented than others?
  • Are some cultural groups represented in limited settings or contexts?
  • Are significant aspects of history and culture omitted?
  • Where there is reference to significant cultural information, is sufficient detail included to foster inter cultural understanding or promote understandings of the complexity of one’s own and others’ cultures?
  • Do they provide opportunities for all students to identify with a variety of characteristics and situations?
  • Is appropriate terminology used?
  • Does the language used reinforce stereotypes?
  • Does the language used in resources foster biased interpretations and views?

Engaging communities

Research shows that students have better outcomes when schools, families and the community work together to support learning. Schools and families benefit when creating strong, respectful family-school relationships and sharing responsibility for student learning.

The Multicultural Education Policy requires schools to promote positive community relations with parents from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and encourage their participation in school life.

Interpreting and translation services are available to support communication between schools and families who don't speak English well, or are deaf or speech impaired.  The department has translated documents and publications for schools to use to communicate with parents and build strong family-school relationships.

Resources to support community engagement in NSW Public Schools include:

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