Tag Archives: ATSI perspectives

‘Becoming Kirrali Lewis’

7 Aug

I have also recently read Becoming Kirrali Lewis.  I read this text, hoping to discover a great Australian text that I could use in Year 9 instead of Deadly, Unna? which is not universally adored by students.

The text explores the experiences of Kirrali Lewis, an Aboriginal girl adopted into a white family, and her experiences during her first year of law school in the city.  The raised a number of important issues about identity, conflict and relationships which I think would interest some students.  However, the scope of experiences and short length of the book meant that these issues were, at times, left unexplored or not fully developed.

While I’m not sure my current Year 9 class would love this book, it is nonetheless something I would be interested in teaching.  With this in mind, I think it would be well placed as part of a textual pairing, perhaps with Taika Waititi’s film Boy.  Both texts explore the complexities of family relationships and the impact absent and found parents have on identity.

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Familiar environments

30 Jan

Alice Eather’s poem ‘My Story Is Your Story‘ is a powerful poem about the different ways in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous people view Aboriginal land.  Through a series of haunting contrasts Eather is able to communicate the tension between connection to land and destruction for profit.

This would be an interesting text to study as part of a unit about Australian identity as it highlights the fundamental disconnect between viewpoints and, in turn, flags the callous disregard corporations can have for established and entrenched cultural connections.

It would also be an interesting text to study in AOS Discovery for HSC.  Considered alongside The Tempest, for example, it could be used to highlight how perspectives shape discovery.  Considered alongside Go Back to Where You Came From, it could be used to enrich a discussion regarding discovery, Australian identity, racism and responsibility.

The text could also be used as part of a junior AOS with a focus on change, belonging or journeys.  Here, focus would need to be on the role of context in shaping representation and value.

Eather’s poem could also be studied alongside, or as part of a suite of poetry which includes, Selina Nwulu’s ‘Home is a Hostile Lover‘. Together, the poems offer interesting representations of connection to place and the role of corporations in threatening the physicality and sacredness of place.

 

‘Our Stories’

8 Dec

As noted previously, I had hopes of putting together a documentaries unit that engaged with a range of shorter texts.

One of the texts that my students explored was ‘Tattooed Lawyer‘ from the SBS series ‘Our Stories.’  We used this text as a means of discussing the type of content that can be included in a documentary.  We also discussed the role played by voice overs, location shots, action shots and direct-to-camera narration in conveying an individual’s experiences and identity.

Language and Gender related material

3 Oct

I cannot stop thinking about the different types of texts I would introduce students to as part of the ‘Language and Gender’ elective in Extension 1 English.  As such, I have started to compile a list (see below).  I plan to keep revisiting and updating this list as new ideas come to me.

  1. The Bluest Eye (novel)
  2. Beloved (novel)
  3. Americanah (novel)
  4. ‘Girl’ (short story)
  5. The visual album accompanying Beyonce’s Lemonade
  6.  Girl Rising (film)
  7. Poetry of Maya Angelou
  8. Poetry of Warsan Shire
  9. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (autobiography)
  10. Bad Feminist (collection of essays)
  11. The Twyborn Affair (novel)
  12. Annie John (novel)
  13. Quiet‘ (spoken word poem)
  14. Anzac Girls (television series)
  15. Call the Midwife (television series)
  16. The Help (film and novel)
  17. Love Child (television series)
  18. House Husbands (television series)
  19. Black Eye‘ (spoken word poem)
  20. Spear‘ (spoken word poem)
  21. I think she was a she‘ (spoken word poem)
  22. Real Men‘ (spoken word poem)
  23. She Said‘ (spoken word poem)
  24. Macbeth (play)
  25. ‘One Word’ (short story)
  26. The Color Purple (novel)
  27. Mr Selfridge (television series)
  28. Scandal (television series)
  29. Bush Mechanics (television series).

Documentaries with a twist

1 Oct

I am keen to help my Years 9 and 10 students to broaden their knowledge of the world.  To do this, I hope to run a unit about documentaries.

However, instead of selecting one documentary which we will study as a class, I hope to put together a selection of short documentaries which students can engage with.  In doing so, I hope to be able to showcase a variety of perspectives, cultures and religions and thus help me students to understand the true multicultural nature of our nation.

By showing a selection of shorter documentaries, I am also hopeful that I can create opportunities to discuss with my students different ways of representing experiences.  This, in turn, will enable discussions of editorial and production choices, thus engaging students critically in how texts are constructed.

Youth Week

16 Apr

In celebration of Youth Week, SBS recently featured a selection of short films (1 minute in length) about the experiences of young people in Australia.

One film, entitled ‘Stephanie’s Film‘, showcases the experience of a young Muslim girl as she strives to overcome negative comments and become the first Australian ballerina to wear a hijab while dancing professionally.  The juxtaposition between the ugly negatively of the comments and the beauty of her dancing is striking.

Another film, entitled ‘Taz’s Film‘ offers insights into the experiences and emotions of an Indigenous brotherboy as he discusses his struggle with gender identity.  Here, the images of him boxing provide a powerful metaphor for both his inner turmoil and strength.

These short films could be used as part of units exploring Australian literature and experience, identity, youth experiences, and/or autobiography.  They could also be utilised in an introduction to the Year 12 Standard English module on ‘Distinctive Voices’ to help students to understand the ways in which experience and representation shapes voice and the messages conveyed by distinctive voices.

The Australian Dream

8 Apr

When we think of famous Australian speeches we tend to think of Keating’s ‘Redfern Park Address’ or Rudd’s ‘Apology to Australia’s Indigenous People’.  When teaching these speeches I tend to emphasise the significance of these speeches in political and historical contexts.  I also use them as a catalyst for discussion about Australian identity, the successes of our national project, and things we still need to strive to improve.

I recently happened across a speech which I think would make a fantastic addition to a unit that focusses on rhetoric, Australian identity, and/or the relationship between Aboriginal people and the Australian nation.  This speech was presented by Stan Grant as his contribution to a 2015 IQ2 debate.  The topic for this debate was: Racism is Destroying the Australian Dream.

I think this is a speech my students need to hear.  It is personal, it is passionate, it acknowledges the past and advocates for a better future.  I am keen to find a way to integrate this speech into some of my units this year and beyond.

Pairs of texts

31 Mar

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about interesting textual pairings for study as part of a comparative unit.  Many of my ideas are not suitable for my school context or the ability levels of my classes.  However, I do think that, in the right contexts and with the right classes, all could form the basis of interesting and engaging units.

  1. A Lesson Before Dying (novel) & To Kill a Mockingbird (film)
  2. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Freedom Writers (film)
  3. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  4. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Schindler’s List (film)
  5. Americanah (novel) & selected episodes of Black-ish (television series)
  6. A Monster Calls (novel) & Boy (film)
  7. A Monster Calls (novel) & Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (film)
  8. A Monster Calls (novel/film) & Frankenstein (novel)
  9. Anzac Girls (television series) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  10. Bad Feminist (collection of essays) & For Colored Girls (film)
  11. Becoming Kirrali Lewis (novel) & Boy (film)
  12. Becoming Kirrali Lewis (novel) & The Kite Runner (graphic novel)
  13. Brave New World (novel) & The Crucible (play)
  14. Brave New World (novel) & Never Let Me Go (film)
  15. Brave New World (novel) & V for Vendetta (film)
  16. Briar Rose (novel) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  17. Briar Rose (novel) & Lion (film)
  18. Briar Rose (novel) & Night (autobiography)
  19. Briar Rose (novel) & Schindler’s List (film)
  20. Deadline (novel) & Dead Poets Society (film)
  21. Deadline (novel) & The Fault In Our Stars (film)
  22. Deadline (novel) & The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (film)
  23. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  24. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Hairspray (film)
  25. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Invictus (film)
  26. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Remember the Titans (films)
  27. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  28. El Deafo (graphic novel) & The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (novel)
  29. Etiquette and Espionage (novel) & Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (film)
  30. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & After the Storm (film)
  31. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & 11’09’01 (collection of short films)
  32. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & Lion (film)
  33. Face (novel) & The Intouchables (film)
  34. Fahrenheit 451 (novel) & Persepolis (graphic novel or film)
  35. Fahrenheit 451 (novel) & V For Vendetta (film)
  36. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf (choreopoem) & Mustang (film)
  37. Frankenstein (novel) & Frankenweenie (film)
  38. Frankenstein (novel) & Never Let Me Go (film)
  39. Frankenstein (novel) & The Rocky Horror Picture Show (film)
  40. Girl Rising (film) & Poetry of Maya Angelou (poetry)
  41. Hamlet (play) & Nutshell (novel)
  42. Hiroshima (novel) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  43. Life of Pi (novel) & Castaway (film)
  44. Lord of the Flies (novel) & Where the Wild Things Are (film)
  45. Lord of the Flies (novel) & The Hunger Games (film)
  46. Macbeth (play) & Selected episodes of Designated Survivor (television series)
  47. Macbeth (play) & The Dressmaker (film)
  48. Macbeth (play) & The Gods of Wheat Street (television series)
  49. Maus (graphic novel) & A Long Way Gone (memoir)
  50. Maus (graphic novel) & Night (autobiography)
  51. Maus (graphic novel) & Schindler’s List (film)
  52. March (novel) & Little Wome(novel)
  53. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (novel) & The Fault in Our Stars (film)
  54. Night (autobiography) & A Long Way Gone (memoir)
  55. Night (autobiography) & Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography)
  56. Night (autobiography) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  57. Night (autobiography) & Schindler’s List (film)
  58. Night (autobiography) & The Seven Stages of Grieving (play)
  59. Nona and Me (novel) & Looking for Alibrandi (film)
  60. Nona and Me (novel) & September (film)
  61. Of Mice and Men (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  62. Othello (play) & Desdemona (play)
  63. Othello (play) & Gone Girl (film)
  64. Othello (play) & New Boy (novel)
  65. Othello (play) & V For Vendetta (film)
  66. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  67. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Lion (film)
  68. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Maus (graphic novel)
  69. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Night (autobiography)
  70. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Schindler’s List (film)
  71. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Bride and Prejudice (film)
  72. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Bridget Jones’s Diary (film)
  73. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Mustang (film)
  74. Refugee Boy (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  75. Refugee Boy (novel) & The African Doctor (film)
  76. Refugee Boy (novel) & The Arrival (picture book)
  77. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Alex and Eve (film)
  78. Romeo & Juliet (play) & A United Kingdom (film)
  79. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Freedom Writers (film)
  80. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Hairspray (film)
  81. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Meet the Patels (film)
  82. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Mustang (film)
  83. Romeo & Juliet (play) & My Big Fat Greek Wedding (film)
  84. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Tanna (film)
  85. Romeo & Juliet (play) & The Fault in Our Stars (film or novel)
  86. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Titanic (film)
  87. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Viceroy’s House (film)
  88. Romeo & Juliet (play) & West Side Story (film)
  89. Scattered Lives (play) & Americannah (novel)
  90. Scattered Lives (play) & Freedom Writers (film)
  91. Scattered Lives (play) & Looking for Alibrandi (novel)
  92. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Peter Skrzynecki (poetry)
  93. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Selina Nwulu (poetry)
  94. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Warsan Shire (poetry)
  95. Schindler’s Ark (novel) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  96. Speak (novel) & For Colored Girls (film)
  97. Stargirl (novel) & Wadjda (film)
  98. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  99. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (memoir) & Queen of Katwe (film)
  100. The Color Purple (novel) & For Colored Girls (film)
  101. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (novel) & Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (film)
  102. The Dreamer (novel) & Billy Elliot (film)
  103. The First Third (novel) & Boy (film)
  104. The Fault in Our Stars (novel) & Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (film)
  105. The Help (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  106. The Help (novel) & Remember the Titans (film)
  107. The Help (novel) & The Blindside (film)
  108. The Outsiders (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  109. The Outsiders (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  110. The Outsiders (novel) & Yolngu Boy (film)
  111. The Rabbits (picture book) & Deadly, Unna? (novel)
  112. The Rabbits (picture book) & Poetry of Oodgeroo Noonuccal (poetry)
  113. The Rabbits (picture book) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  114. The Scarlet Letter (novel) & Easy A (film)
  115. The Skull Beneath the Skin (novel) & The Real Inspector Hound (play)
  116. The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  117. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (novel) & Hamlet (play or film)
  118. The Kite Runner (novel) & Big Fish (film)
  119. The Kite Runner (novel) & Boy (film)
  120. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  121. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Hairspray (film)
  122. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Poetry of Langston Hughes (poetry)
  123. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Remember the Titans (film)
  124. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  125. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Blindside (film)
  126. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Help (film)
  127. To This Day (graphic novel) & Wonder (novel)
  128. To This Day (graphic novel) & Face (novel)
  129. Vernon God Little (novel) & Elephant (film)
  130. Voices from Chernobyl (non-fiction) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  131. War Horse (film) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  132. War Horse (film) & Poetry of Wilfred Owen (poetry)

REVIEW: Nona & Me

5 Jan

The most recent novel on my long list of ‘books to read during the school holidays’ was Nona & Me by Clare Adkins.

Nona & Me is about two girls who grew up together.  One girl is white and the other is Aboriginal.  Nonetheless, they consider themselves sisters.  Or, more accurately, did consider themselves sisters.

When Nona turns up at Rosie’s high school after the two have been separated for a number of years, Nona expects a warm welcome.  Instead, she is given the cold shoulder.  The resulting estrangement causes Rosie to reflect upon her values, community and identity.

Despite its reliance upon some stock characters and clichéd occurrences, the novel was an interesting read.  However, I am not sure if my interest derived from knowledge of the political events and personalities referenced in the text, or from the text itself.  I suspect it was a bit of both.  For these reasons, I would want to teach some of the historical background prior to commencing the novel, thus allowing students to engage with the novel as both a work of literature and a social commentary.

Panel discussions

30 Dec

I have blogged previously about the ‘Circle of Viewpoints‘ activity and the possibility of using this activity to help students to understand the various perspectives and stakeholders relevant to a particular text or AOS.

Another approach is to have students participate in a panel discussion, assuming the roles of characters, interest groups or particular audiences.  While the circle of viewpoints works well when all students want to participate, a panel discussion might work better for a quieter class as it allows confident and outgoing students to act and the quieter students to listen.