The Event: American School of Bombay, Mumbai, India and Hawkesdale P12 College, Victoria Australia discuss racism especially in relation to whether “Should Australia go to India to play sport?”
Date: Tuesday May 19th
Who was involved: 12 excited volunteer students from grades 5/6 Humanities class, Hawkesdale P12 College, 14 year 6 phys. ed students from American School of Mumbai. Alex Gustad and the phys ed teacher, three ASB technicians, myself and Graeme Poynton, the Humanities teacher.
Resources: Skype for videoconferencing, Google docs for the collaborative online discussion, Interactive Whiteboard in the library
Setup: Students applied for a gmail account prior to the event, then were divided up into groups of 4 or 5 by the teachers involved, 5 groups in all. Alex Gustad, the Community Projects Co-ordinator for ASB, setup the questions and google docs. Thanks Alex.
Pre- planning: two practise skype linkups between HCP staff with the ASB technicians and Alex to discuss the software to be used/procedures, regular use of email
Students came up individually to the webcam and introduced themselves. Our students are geographically and culturally isolated, although we had one New Zealander in the lineup. As ASB is an International School, their students are third culture students, in the main, and came from India, Australia, Dubai, Korea, USA, Scotland, China, Canada etc
Once the introductions were complete, Alex explained the routine. The students were to use the text or chat feature of the document to discuss their questions. Each group appointed a leader who was the scribe and wrote the discussion points into the google doc. There was a mix of Australian and Indian leaders. After 15-20 mins of discussion, each group leader came to the camera and summarised their reflections. Skype was kept open throughout the session, so that we could talk to each other and ensure that both sides knew what was happening. What an amazing experience, it was as though we were one class!
Students worked well into their lunchtime and still wanted it to continue! Here are some of the questions that each group discussed. They all discussed the first question but the second question changed for each group.
- Please write some bullet points about what has been happening to Indians in Australia in the past year. Include the response from Indians as well as the impact of these events on the upcoming Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi.
- Why do you think these incidents of violence have been occurring against Indians? Is it happening against other ethnic groups in Australia?
- How could these violent acts been handled by the Australian and Indian governments in a way that would keep it from happening over and over again?
- Do you think there is a sense of racism towards certain groups in your own communities? How is it expressed (through stereotypes, in the media, through violence, etc.)?
- What would or could you do if you felt racist attitudes against certain people in your own community?
- How have these acts and threats of violence affected the spirit of the Commonwealth Games? What can the teams do to encourage camaraderie during the Games so that they are not overshadowed by these unfortunate events?
Thanks Alex for putting together these great questions, summarising the student input/outcomes and for the opportunity to work with your school. We look forward to further association with you and your classes! It felt like we were one class, with one project and one passion – to wipe out racism!
Cross posted at murcha