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Crossing Boundaries between Cultures and Disciplines: Using Geography and Creative Arts to Build Bridges with Community Groups in One School.

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In an attempt to develop tolerance and acceptance of other cultural groups, teacher educators from the University of Newcastle worked with members of the local African community and teachers from a local school to develop a Creative Arts and Geography program for young school children (aged 7-9 years). The program developed put together the research had gleaned about how attitudes and global Geographical knowledge were intertwined, together with researcher beliefs about the value of teaching Creative Arts in engaging students, to create a teaching program that would help allay fears about those who are different and perhaps counter stereotyping by addressing it before it has a chance to develop. This project used drawings, graphic representations, simple narratives, teacher reflective logs and knowledge and attitudes surveys to monitor changes in attitudes, knowledge and understandings. All assessment tasks with the students were repeated twice, once before the intervention, once shortly after the intervention, and again three months after the intervention. Students were asked to label all material so individual and well as group changes could be tracked. Teachers, community members, university staff, and the school principal filled out reflective logs after each meeting. The program had an immediate effect on the students' knowledge of the world, attitude to Africa and attitudes to others and some of that effect continued even after three months. It was felt that the tools used proved to be useful in assessing changes in cultural understandings and that they could be applied to a variety of projects with young children including values studies. (Contains 4 tables.)

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Author:Reynolds, Ruth; Lane, Sue
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Abstract
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2009
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