Differing Stories
Level 3 Civics and Citizenship Focus

Introduction to Differing Stories

In this module students explore their own attitudes and behaviors in dealing with difference and diversity in their lives.  Students particularly focus on racial and cultural discrimination.

All activities in this module are aligned to the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship, Years 7 and 8.  (Click here to see the Curriculum Links

The module focuses on developing intercultural understanding through the following learning objectives.  Students will:

This guide provides information about the four activities in this module:

You may find the Talking about contentious issues guide a useful reference throughout this module.

These activities are complementary but can also be used independently.  Each activity is supported with suggested teacher-led introductory and concluding activities.  For the online components students can work individually, in pairs or as small groups.  These activities can also be adapted for use with a smartboard.

Activity 1: Exchanges

In this activity students explore their own responses to dealing with new situations and diverse people.

Introductory Activity — Offline

In this activity, students explore differing narratives about the same event, which involves cultural misunderstanding and conflict at a fictional high school.

Half your students will learn about the event from one perspective and the other students will learn about the event from a differing perspective.  They will then come together in roles to express their feelings about the event.

Print four copies of Sheet A (an article from the Innanoo Community Times) and Sheet B (an article from the Kooee island Herald).  Divide your class into eight groups, giving one sheet to each group (adapt the number of groups to fit your class size).  Ask students to read the article and follow the directions on the sheet.  The students should not be aware that there are two articles describing the same events.

When students finish the activity, join the groups together to form four groups, made up of one which has read Sheet A and one which has read Sheet B.  Instruct students they are to hold a community meeting about the incident they have read about.  During the meeting they must stay 'in role' and establish:

It will emerge through discussion that the groups were reading different perspectives of the one event.

Finally, bring students out of their roles and groups.  Ask four students to give a short report on the process and outcomes of their community meeting.  Then debrief with the following questions:

Online Activity

Before commencing this activity, familiarise your students with how to navigate through the website.

Part A: Going on exchange
In Part A, students are asked to read mock interviews with three students of diverse backgrounds.

Part B: What experiences will you have?
Students are asked to take a short questionnaire, where they assess the experiences they might have with each student.  They reflect on what they might hope to get out of an exchange program in a short written response.

Concluding Activity — Offline

Discuss the following questions with your students:

Now ask your students to take on the role of Jacob, Ella or Amir.  They should imagine that Jacob, Ella or Amir is staying in their home for one week as part of a return exchange.  As Jacob, Ella or Amir, they should write a letter to their parents describing their experiences and feelings about it.

Activity 2: Discriminating Comments

In this activity students explore examples of discrimination and consider their own opinions on discrimination in Australian society.

Introductory Activity — Offline

Write the following definition, or similar, on the board for your students:

Discrimination: to make a distinction, as in favour of or against a person or thing.
— Macquarie Dictionary

Read students the following scenarios and ask them to indicate if they consider it to involve discrimination.  Discuss and compare each scenario.

Online Activity

Part A: Have you ever been discriminated against?
In Part A, students watch three short video accounts of individuals who have experienced discrimination in some form.  After watching the videos, students are presented with some facts about discrimination.

Students are invited to read two comments and write a response regarding the meaning of each statement.

Concluding Activity — Offline

Discuss the following questions with your students:

Activity 3: Hurtful Chats

In this activity students read and reflect on four online chat conversations involving discrimination.  Students are asked to reflect on the emotions that acts of discrimination can engender.

Introductory Activity — Offline

Ask students to put up hands if they have ever sent, received or seen discriminatory comments while using email or social networking sites.  Ask students the following questions:

Online Activity

This activity contains online chat scenarios which include discriminatory comments.  While students are given the chance to express their reactions to the comments, some students may find aspects of this activity distressing.

Part A: Hurtful chats
In this activity, students are asked to read four online conversations, each of which contains discriminatory behavior.  They answer a series of questions after each conversation, which ask for their reflections and opinions about the behaviours displayed.

At the end of the activity, students are invited to click on the link to the VicHealth website, where they will find further information regarding the impact that discrimination can have on victims.

Concluding Activity — Offline

Break students into small groups and ask each group to discuss the following questions:

Bring students back together and using the online chats as a stimulus, discuss the following questions with your students:


Activity 4: Racial Discrimination

Activity 4 helps students become aware of the Racial Discrimination Act and their obligations under it.

There is no Introductory Activity for this activity.

Online Activity

Part A: About the Act
Students read a short page of information discussing the Racial Discrimination Act.  They are instructed to read the information carefully, as it will help them to answer a quiz in the following section (Part B).

Part B: Racial Discrimination Act quiz
Students are able to confirm their understanding of the information in Part A, by answering questions and seeing the correct answer immediately.

Concluding Activity — Offline

Discuss the following questions with students:

Module Reflection

You may like to use a reflection or self-assessment strategy to monitor student engagement with this module.

Further Activity Ideas