Archive | April, 2015

Visions of Australia

14 Apr

My Year 1o class is awesome.  However, they have a long way to go if they want to be properly prepared for Standard English in Years 11 and 12.  As part of my campaign to prepare them for senior school I am in the process of creating an ‘Introduction to Distinctively Visual’ unit for them.

The focus if this unit will be representations of Australia. Why? Well, it flows well from our novel study, building on some of the themes flagged there and answering some of the questions that students had at the end of that unit.  It also engages with ideas that may well have personal resonance for my class; all members of my class are either first generation Australians or were born overseas.  It is my observation that my classes much prefers topics that have some application to their own lives and experiences (either directly or through representation in media that they engage with).

I would like to begin this unit with a brief exploration of The Rabbits, a picture book by John Marsden and Shaun Tan.  This text is an allegory for Australia’s colonisation, representing these ideas in distinctively visual ways.  In particular, I am keen for students to discuss colour, positioning, juxtaposition, and salience as they apply to the text.  I also think that, as a text type, a picture book represents an accessible starting point for my ESL and lower ability students.

I would like to follow The Rabbits with something from Growing up Asian in Australia.  By comparing these texts, I hope to spark in depth discussion about identity, marginalisation, community and cross-cultural interactions.

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