Teaching kit "Australia: Aborigines – facts about their culture and history"

Material for English teachers

Lesson Plan, 2009

19 Pages


Structure of the teaching unit "Australia"

1st hour: Introducing Australia, an imaginary journey

Listening, speaking. Vocabulary, Regional Studies. Pupils collect prior knowledge (cluster), listen to information from a text, are introduced to the topic on an emotional, then cognitive level and exchange their impressions with each other.

2nd/3rd hour: I want to be an Au Pair! Making a map

Reading, writing, speaking/arguing (dialogues). Regional studies, vocabulary. Pupils work in groups to develop information about Australia, present it and argue for a stay abroad in Australia on the basis of their acquired knowledge.

4th hour: Meet some Aussies (and translate some "Strine")

Listening reading, speaking. Regional studies, grammar (indirect speech). Introductory, a short listening comprehension exercise on typical Australian expressions takes place. Pupils then read about different Australian young people, take notes and introduce themselves to them in partner work.

5th/6th hour: Travelling around Australia with a working holiday visa

(Brief performance review in advance). Listening, reading, speaking. Regional studies, vocabulary. (1) Joint development of an authentic text (application form of Australian embassy). (2) then station learning with the possibilities: a) booking a room, b) applying for a holiday job, c) planning a tour through Australia.

7th hour: Working on an outback farm – meeting some Aborigines

Reading, speaking/discussion( role plays in group work). Regional studies, vocabulary. Pupils take information from a text, exchange it and are led to the conflict between Aborigines and the white settlers and sensitized.

8th/9th hour: song: "Beds are Burning" by Midnight Oil

Listening, speaking/discussing. Regional studies, vocabulary. Pupils open up the text of an Australian song (text strips and gap text), develop content and meaning in groups and decide on active design possibilities of the song.

10th hour: Aborigines – facts about their culture and history

Reading, speaking. Studies. Pupils work in three groups to develop facts on the subject of Aborigines (culture and history), exchange them and carry out a quiz at the end.

*11th hour "The Stolen Generation". Excerpts from the movie "Rabbit Proof Fence"

Reading, listening/watching, speaking (dialogues). On the occasion of a picture, Pupils make assumptions about the content, read an introductory text, see a film sequence partly without sound, set it to sound in PA and perform their dialogues in plenary.1

12th song: "Tribal Voice", by Yothu Yindi

Listening, writing, reading. Regional studies, vocabulary, grammar (will- and going-to future). Pupils open up the lyrics of an Australian song (prediction and gap text), write letters based on it in PA (protest letter to the state secretary) and read and answer each other.

12th/13th hour Dreamtime stories

Reading, speaking, writing. Pupils read an authentic dreamtime story, develop characteristics and meaning carriers and write their own stories. (These are later artistically designed accordingly and summarized in a book).

14th – 16th hour Come in, Sheila (story reading and summary)

Reading/listening, speaking and writing. Regional studies, vocabulary, grammar (indirect speech). Pupils train their reading and listening comprehension, repeat and consolidate vocabulary and regional history. Knowledge by working out the story "Come in, Sheila" in EA listening and reading and working orally on problem-related (PA, GA).

17th/18th hour Reviewing Australia

(Short performance review in advance) Station learning with exercises on a) lexicon, b) grammar (indirect speech, tenses) and c) regional history. Content on Australia.

19th/20th hour Evaluation of the stations and exercises for the class work

Joint repetition of the developed content, quiz and trial test, question time.

20th/21st hour test

Implementation and evaluation, joint correction.

subsequently (depending on the possibility/arrangement with the course and class teacher): Excursion to the cinema ("Rabbit Proof Fence") or lecture in the Urania (slideshow in English) or museum visit (ethnology).

Regional background knowledge

Australia is geographically the smallest, flattest and at the same time oldest continent on earth, at the same time it is the only one that includes only one country. Australia is divided into six states (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia ) and two territories (Northern and Capital Territory ). Due to climatic conditions, the settlement took place for the most part in the coastal areas. The state language in Australia is English. Australia is still considered a friendly immigration country. In 1997, Australia's total population was 18.5 million, seventy per cent of whom live in the ten largest cities near the coast. In 1996, the number of Aborigines living in Australia was 386,000; this accounts for 2.1% of the total population.

The Aboriginal, formerly also called Black Australians, reached the then still contiguous continent of Sahul (Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania) an estimated 60,000 years ago. They emigrated from Asia and formed many different tribes that developed about two hundred different languages. The name Aborigines (derived from the Latin, roughly means: "from the beginning") these peoples received from the white immigrants arriving since 1770. They refer to themselves as "Koori". Another population group that Torre Strait Icelander reached the continent an estimated 10,000 years ago. However, unlike the Aborigines, they were sedentary and traded in fish and agricultural products. Aborigines, on the other hand, were nomadic hunter-gatherers who moved from one place to the next to feed themselves at different times of the year. These paths are called "Walkabout" Aboriginal dwellings were always built for a limited time and often consisted of bark huts or caves. Characteristic of aboriginal culture is the fateful, close connection between humans and the individual living objects of animate and inanimate nature. A number of regulations regulate the behavior of the individual and the group towards the totems in which the ancestors present themselves. As an obviously fundamental concept for the world view, the "dream time" appears again and again. According to Supp is "Dreaming"2 the more bad than right translation for everything that has to do with aboriginal mythology. It is a "collective label"3, which includes both the time of creation and the time of the heroes, as well as describing rites, ceremonies and sacred places detached from the time. Aborigines have close family ties and can trace their ancestors back many generations. Even today, they are characterized by a great sense of responsibility towards very distant relatives, such as third- or fourth cousins. Closely connected with the dreamtime is the relationship to the animate and inanimate nature. The landscape is the work of the ancestors; certain places and paths are sacred ("sacred sites"), such as "Ayers Rock" or "Uluru" and may only be entered by initiated persons. Aborigines expelled from their territory can no longer perform the rituals prescribed in the holy places. As a result, in addition to their homeland, they also lose touch with their ancestors. Conflicts with the white invaders, whose sense of justice seems unacceptable from today's point of view, were unavoidable.

Until the British land grab in the late 18th century, the semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer cultures lived undisturbed. In 1788, after the discovery by Captain James Cook in 1770, the Australian east coast became a place for Great Britain to build convict colonies. In 1788, the first fleet landed with about one thousand convicts. Between the arrival of the first fleet in 1788 and the last transport in 1868, more than 160,000 British convicts were brought to the continent. In 1793, the first free colonists also reached Sydney. There were bloody Confrontations between settlers and aborigines. Massacres, planned extermination trains and imported diseases caused a cruel extermination of the indigenous population of Australia, the number of which was reduced in the course of the 19th century from probably 750,000 to 60,000; in Tasmania, the aborigines were completely exterminated by 1876. In the nineteenth century, the interior of Australia was explored and the aborigines were pushed away by the settlers to barren areas, where they sometimes succumbed to hunger and pestilence. After the time of the massacres followed the phase of racial segregation, where the survivors were resettled in reservations and mission stations.

After the Second World War, the Australian government formulated a new policy: the Assimilation policy, which aimed at the complete adaptation of the Aborigines to the ways of life of the white population; indigenous cultures and forms of society should be destroyed. The black children were forcibly snatched from their families and mixed among the white population. Many children grew up in state homes, mission wards, and some with foster or adoptive parents. Aborigines call these children the mustard gas or Stolen Generation . The policy of assimilation was followed by the policy formulated in the 1970s and 1980s. Integration. In contrast to the policy of assimilation, integration policy recognised the identity and distinct culture of the Aborigines; the Aborigines had the choice of how they wanted to adapt to the white way of life. In 1967, there was a constitutional amendment which, on the one hand, authorized the federal government to enact laws specifically concerning Aborigines and, on the other hand, made aborigines citizens. In addition to the Issues of equality, especially the demand for fair wages has been the question of the Land law of aborigines discussed. South Australia was the first state to guarantee aboriginal land ownership through a law passed in 1970. Gradually, corresponding laws were also passed in other federal states.

Many Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islanders live nowadays in modern cities, while some still try to lead a traditional life. However, the original culture of the Australian natives is considered "almost gone"4. A return to traditional ways of life can only be found for a small part of the Aborigines (eg. Outstation movement). The majority live in direct spatial contact with – or more often on the margins – of the whites and have lost touch with the original culture. The master Aborigines belong to the social underclass within modern society, only a few practice occupations with higher qualifications. Over the past twenty years, the interest of the white population in aboriginal culture, especially music and art, has greatly increased. and there was an increasing awareness of responsibility for the fate of the minority, as shown by the introduction of "National Sorry Day", in 1998. However, the Aborigines are still one of the most disadvantaged in Australia.

The song excerpts used at the beginning and possibly also at the end of the lesson come from the Song "Beds Are Burning" the successful Australian rock group Midnight Oiteacher The song recalls the co-responsibility of every Australian for the social grievances of the Aboriginal population living in the outback (once and in many cases still). The Chorus How can we dance when our world is turning?/ How do we sleep when our beds are burning? raises the question of the responsibility of the individuateacher

Didactic-methodical selection and reduction


Since the topic of Aborigines is an extremely complex subject, a rigid reduction in content must be made for use in the classroom. It is therefore necessary, for example, to dispense with a more complete presentation of the settlement history and the exact current regulations on today's land law proceedings. In order not to anticipate the following teaching content and not to overload this lesson in addition, a detailed study of cultural peculiarities, such as the concept of dreamtime, is not further discussed. For the text design, only the most important data and facts were selected, which give the students an insight into the culture and history of the Aborigines and make them understand the problems associated with them, but without overburdening them with too much information. Accordingly, the text and image material was compiled in such a way that it informs, appeals to and motivates the students.

From the conception of the teaching unit as well as the hourly and individual passages (especially text 2) it becomes clear that the topic of Aborigines is not only brought to the attention of the students on the factual leveteacher In accordance with the requirements of modern foreign language teaching, "intercultural learning" instead of regional learning5 the topic of Aborigines has already been introduced on an affective and socio-political leveteacher Also in the first text the reference to the "stolen generation" as well as the effects that the colonization of the whites had on the Aborigines, will address the students on the emotional leveteacher Within this hour, however, it should be primarily a matter of concretizing the knowledge already acquired and supplementing it in terms of content. The worksheets were divided and designed according to the three themed areas selected for this hour (Aborigines – The First Australians, Culture Clash – The White Settlers, Aborigines – Today).


Lexical and phonologically

Some vocabulary on the subject of Aborigines is already known to the students or was immediately relieved during the previous hour by the editing of the song (share, desert, inhabitants). Terms occurring in this text, presumably still unknown, were listed as vocabulary aids on the respective sheets of the three groups with their phonetic transcription. (cf. vocabulary attachment on the worksheets). Furthermore, dictionaries are available to each group, which also contain phonetic information.


The texts were also grammatically adapted to the performance level of the class (see above). The text production resulting from the task can be largely related to the use of the tenses of the simple past, present perfect and simple present get by.

Since the students often still lack the means to express their thoughts clearly in the English language, additional assistance in the form of sentence patterns is offered. Nevertheless, it can lead to erroneous forms of expression, whereby this problem is opposed by the advantage of an increased independent language finding and application. Since the independent work and the language application of the students for the exchange of content is in the foreground of the last two group work phases, a correction of errors will be largely dispensed with in order not to unsettle the students during their lecture (in addition, an individual correction would be difficult with six groups working and communicating with each other at the same time).

Methodological-didactic considerations on the overall concept of the lesson

The lesson begins with the presentation of an excerpt from the song "Beds are Burning" by the Australian rock group Midnight Oil with the help of a COMPACT DISC and one Cd or. Cassette recorders and cassette (Emergency equipment). The song was chosen because it is popular with the Pupils and is therefore suitable for a motivating hourly start and at the same time points to the content developed in the past hour. The function of this phase is primarily the repeating "warming-up". On the other hand, however, the song also allows a lively and motivating introduction to the focus of this hour, the development of facts about the culture and history of the Aborigines. the illustration should accordingly build on already developed knowledge and introduce the Pupils to the task by independently developing questions (homework) and motivate it for the text work. In the further course, the Pupils is to clarify the topic of the lesson and the working method within a guided teaching discussion. Both are done with the help of Word cards and Magnets or with chalk visible to all Pupils visualized on the blackboard. The further planning shows a small-step progression in methodologically and the social form changing phases, i.e. the text to be grasped is transformed in different work steps first into individual work, then into homogeneous group work (expert method) and finally into heterogeneous group work. After the silent reading of the differentiated in three stages Worksheets (G1, G2, G3) the Pupils note the most important information for them on prepared for this purpose Index cards or. Worksheets. Everyone may write down as much information as he/she needs in order to give a short lecture on the basis of this. Depending on the performance capacity, each Pupils thus gives itself the individually necessary assistance. Since some Pupils still have difficulties to filter out only the most important information from texts, key questions or incomplete notes are attached, which should direct and support a favorable selection. The subsequent exchange in divided groups (initially groups of two and three; the composition of the groups is chosen in such a way that high-achieving and underperforming students work together so that they can primarily help each other.) homogeneous groups ("main groups") is based on an authentic language occasion in which the Pupils can be sure that they understand the others. , since they have edited the same texts; on the other hand, it is usually easier for them to speak in a smaller group. Ultimately, the information is circulated several times with a very high proportion of speech of the Pupils, whereby the listening comprehension is also trained. In the subsequent more complex step, the Pupils have to verbalize what they have read again, but now in heterogeneous groups ("expert groups"), i.e. it is now important that they make themselves understood to the other group members. They are dependent solely on their own knowledge, since their text is unknown to the others. This "being on its own" can be similar to a real situation in which they have to communicate independently.


1 depending on the availability of the video cassette, the film sequence is used at this point, otherwise this hour is placed backwards or connected in another form with a trip to the cinema.

2 Lommel, A. in: Schroeder, Peter. Australiens Aborigines – Australiens Vergangenheit?" in: Der Fremdsprachliche Unterricht, Heft. 3, July 1991 (Seelze: Erhard Friedrich), p.15.

3 ebda

4 ibid., p. 12.

5 J.-P. Timm. Learning and teaching English–Didactics of foreign language teaching (Berlin: Cornelsen, 1998), p. 8:

Excerpt out of 19 pages


Teaching kit "Australia: Aborigines – facts about their culture and history"
Material for English teachers
Vortrag und Material im Rahmen einer Leherfortbildungsreise nach Australien (DAGB)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
teaching, australia, aborigines, material, english
Quote paper
Tatjana Katharina Schikorski (Author), 2009, Teaching kit "Australia: Aborigines – facts about their culture and history", Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1169238


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