Assessing intercultural capability: teacher and researcher
Paper presented at the 17th AFMLTA Biennial National Languages Conference
Sydney, 9-12 July 2009
Angela Scarino, Research Centre for Languages and Cultures
University of South Australia
Melissa Gould-Drakeley, Macarthur Anglican School
As teachers of languages have engaged more strongly with intercultural language learning they have
begun to raise important questions about how intercultural capability might be assessed. Addressing
these questions is valuable because (1) the assessment lens sharpens the conceptual focus on what
the intercultural capability entails; (2) the assessment process provides useful information about
students’ actual learning; and (3) assessment has the power to influence what language learning is.
Drawing on the sustained inquiry-based work of an experienced teacher and insights from research in
this area being carried out at the Research Centre for Languages and Cultures at the University of
South Australia, this paper explores what it is that assessing this intercultural capability entails and
how it might be elicited.
Language learning within an intercultural orientation has been gaining ground in Australia since the
release of the Report on Intercultural Language Learning (Liddicoat, Papademetre, Scarino & Kohler
2003) and the subsequent professional learning programs including the Intercultural Language
Teaching and Learning in Practice (ILTLP) Project (Scarino, et al 2007), the Professional Standards
Project (Scarino, et al, 2008) and most recently the release of Teaching and Learning Languages – A
Guide (Scarino & Liddicoat, 2009). An issue that has emerged consistently in this process is how to
assess intercultural capability. We use the notion of ‘capability’ rather than ‘understanding’ or
‘awareness’ to render the idea of intercultural engagement as active and dynamic.
The issue arises for a number of interrelated reasons. The first relates to uncertainty pertaining to the
construct; it emerges in questions such as: What exactly is this ‘intercultural capability’ and how can it
be operationalised for the purposes of assessment? How does it relate to knowledge of language and
culture? What is the relationship between language and culture in assessing language learning? The
second reason relates to uncertainty regarding the nature of the assessment process itself, for
example: How do we assess intercultural understanding in language learning? Is it embedded within
or separate from assessing language? How can assessment of intercultural capability be objective
when it involves values? Should we be assessing values anyway? Since it is not assessed in the
HSC, VCE, SACE, etc. why include it in assessing language learning at earlier levels of schooling?
These kinds of questions evidence deeply held and often unquestioned assumptions about both the
nature of language and language learning on the one hand, and the assessment process on the other
hand. For example: How do we understand language for the purposes of school language learning?
Is objectivity the only quality that is needed in assessment? Is traditional, summative assessment the
only form of assessment that is of value? Is the assessment of product necessarily more important
than the assessment of process? Are curriculum frameworks, syllabuses or frameworks of standards
the only guides to what it is valuable to learn in language learning? Are they as constraining as some
teachers claim them to be? It is the combined force of uncertainty about the construct and uncertainty
about what is and is not permissible in assessment that has led to questions about assessing
Over the past five years at the Research Centre for Languages and Cultures at the University of
South Australia we have been investigating assessment within an intercultural orientation to language
teaching and learning in a number of our research projects. It is in the context of this work that
Melissa and I came together. We invited Melissa, as a highly experienced teacher of Indonesian to
design a long-term program of work for her Year 12 Indonesian class to be included in the ILTLP
project. After the initial design Melissa re-worked her program to incorporate feedback that we had
provided. We then asked Melissa to investigate the process of working with that program with her
students over the period of a year, constantly observing, noticing, and recording details of her work,
her interactions with her students, their responses. We particularly asked her to focus on
incorporating a long-term perspective in teaching, learning and assessment because we know that
one of the key features of intercultural language learning is that it should be considered both in the
moment (synchronically) and over time (diachronically). We subsequently visited Melissa in the
context of her school, interviewed her, observed a lesson, and interviewed her students. The data
and examples that we use as an illustration in our paper come from this experience.
In this paper we focus specifically on assessment which, for us, is integral to and not separate from
learning. We believe that the assessment lens sharpens the conceptual focus on what it is that
developing intercultural capability entails and that the assessment process has the power to yield
useful information about students’ actual learning (Scarino, 2009). Prior to considering what it is that
assessing intercultural capability entails and how it might be elicited, we need to signal how we
For the purposes of our discussion we consider assessment as a cycle involving a set of our
Conceptualising Eliciting Judging Validating
(what to assess) (how to elicit) (how to appraise) (how to justify)
The starting point for assessment is not the procedures and technicalities but rather, it is the
conceptualisation of what is to be assessed, namely, the construct; in languages education it is what
we mean by language learning. It is in this sense that any assessment is fundamentally a conceptual
matter, more than a technical one. The way we understand the construct subsequently influences
elicitation, how we construe evidence, the judgments we make and how we justify them.
In addition, we recognise that the traditional assessment paradigm is not sufficient. The traditional
paradigm focuses on testing ‘content’ through ‘objective’ procedures normally as single events;
student performances are then referenced either to the performance of other students or to a
predetermined standard. It is a psychometrically oriented perspective that addresses the
‘measurement’ of learning. Assessment within an alternative paradigm, while variously understood
(Fox 2008), seeks to expand on the traditional understanding of assessment. Within an alternative
paradigm of assessment, the focus is on finding appropriate ways of demonstrating what it is that
students know. The alternative paradigm allows for formative assessment (assessment for learning)
as well as summative (assessment of learning), recognising the power of assessment to form or
shape learning (see Black & Jones, 2006). It allows for diverse evidence for diverse learners and the
valuing of the product of learning as well as the process. (see Birenbaum 1996; Gipps, 1999;
Teasdale & Leung 2000) It also recognises that assessment is a dynamic, on-going process of
coming to understand students’ performance over time, thus, it frequently involves a collection of
multiple performances over time to provide evidence of growth and learning. It is a perspective that
draws on sociocultural views of learning which highlight language use and learning as socially
constructed and situated in contexts of use, that is, that they are accomplished collaboratively, and
embedded in the social and cultural life of the individuals involved. Within the alternative paradigm,
then, there is a recognition of “(1) the centrality of the classroom (teaching practice and learning
process); (2) the active role played by students/learners in assessment processes….; (3) a
heightened view of process; and (4) outcomes characterized by summaries of learner competencies
which are detailed, descriptive and informative…” (Fox 2008:102).
Assessing intercultural capability is best seen within this alternative paradigm.
In our interview with Melissa she describes how she understands ‘the intercultural’ in learning
languages in the school setting. This understanding provides a way in to conceptualising what it
means in relation to knowing and learning an additional language:
AS: What does the intercultural actually mean to you now that you’ve played with it for a few
M: …..it’s really meaningful communication. And I suppose, when I’ve looked at my program, I
think that the things I’ve changed significantly is now that my program is now a program in
which my students feature…. So it’s that idea, I think you might have quoted it, that it’s a
peopled program and that the whole idea of it’s being not only just turning the page and moving
on, it’s actually looking at the students themselves…..and I think for me actually a big change
But what is different for me is the intra-cultural…… and really coming to terms with it, looking at
each student’s background, and knowledge, and experience, and absolutely everything they
bring to the classroom and how we are all moving together and yet on a separate journey……
and that, if I don’t understand and they don’t understand their intra-cultural journey, they never
will understand the intercultural. And to me that’s the difference in the way I teach….. so for
me, I suppose it’s the intra-cultural…that it’s been the big shift in the way I present things
(Melissa Gould-Drakeley interviewed by Angela Scarino and Leo Papademetre,
Having experimented with intercultural language learning, for a few years, at this point Melissa
re-conceptualises for herself what it means. This understanding provides the basis for
determining what to assess. She highlights several features of how she understands
intercultural capability as follows:
1) ‘really meaningful communication’, that is, communication understood as the
exchange of meaning, is central; it entails an expanded view of language that
considers language per se as well as the way language and culture come into play in
interpreting and creating meaning;
2) ‘a program in which my students feature’, that is, that old dichotomy between teaching
students vs. teaching a learning area or school subject’ is dismantled; it involves both;
3) ‘a peopled program’, that is, communication involves interaction among all kinds of
people, in all their diversity;
4) ‘looking at the students themselves’, that is, working with incorporating the reality of
who students are, their lifeworlds and their identities; this is not just a question of
noting their backgrounds but rather engaging with them as ever-changing and
developing, human beings, constantly foregrounding and connecting with their
experiences and understandings of those experiences; she elaborates this as
“knowledge and experience and absolutely everything that they bring”;
5) ‘the intra-cultural’, that is, developing an awareness of self that people bring to
developing an awareness of others;
6) ‘moving together and yet on a separate journey’, that is, recognising intercultural
language learning as an on-going, cumulative process of developing one’s
communicative repertoire and that this is a common trajectory in terms of the
classroom experiences but distinctive in terms of what each participant makes of it
7) ‘understand’…..’understand’, this word, repeated highlights the intercultural orientation
as one that is focussed on coming to understanding – for both students and their
The value of Melissa’s reconceptualisation resides in the fact that she sees intercultural
languages learning as communication and learning to communicate in and through an
additional language (for her: Indonesian) and learning to understand the process of
communication itself across languages and cultures. This entails knowing the target language
and knowing how to use the target language and this will always be referenced to the
languages of the students, that the students use in their repertoires; it entails knowing the
target culture (s) related to the target language and this will always be referenced to the
cultural experiences of the students. In other words, assessment is not simply an assessment
of knowledge, independent of the knower, but it involves attending to the knowledge as
referenced to, understood by, appraised, and judged by the knower. The value of learning
within a classroom and school community is that the experience necessarily foregrounds
diversity, the variability of people in terms of what they bring to interactions, their use of
language and interpretations of meaning. Learning any language, is learning interculturally,
that is, referencing that language use and learning across diverse languages and cultures
understood as meaning systems.
Conceptualising the assessment of language learning to include an intercultural capability
entails re-conceptualising and expanding the view of language and the view of assessment; in
both re-conceptualisations there is a sense in which the focus is on meaning, diverse people
interpreting and making meaning differently across their own and new languages and cultures.
Language use among people involves making meaning through referencing the context of
culture. Learning among people involves making meaning through referencing the context of
cultural experiences. Intercultural language learning and its assessment involve language use
and understanding these processes of referencing. Both need to be developed and elicited in
and through learning languages. As Shohamy (1996:152) states: “there are different types of
language knowledge and mastering one type is no guarantee for mastering another….”
Eliciting involves considering the construct and the procedures to be used to draw out
students’ understanding. In so doing Shohamy (1996:152) reminds us that in assessing
language learning “different instruments are capable of ‘seeing’ different things’ ”. In
assessing intercultural capability in language learning it is necessary to select processes that
capture its multi-dimensional nature and to do so in a way that is fair and just to learners’
learning. Such procedures range from analyses of moment-to-moment interactions,
conversations that probe students’ meanings, observations of students in interaction to a
range of on-going written work (including projects, quizzes, etc), self-reports, summaries of
accomplishments, portfolios, and learning logs, among many other procedures.
Assessing intercultural capability involves several dimensions as follows:
• interactions (spoken and written) in the target language in which students negotiate
meaning through interpreting and using language in diverse contexts, involving
people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds; in these interactions what is
of interest is the accuracy, fluency, appropriateness and complexity of language used
in the exchange as well as how students negotiate meaning in interaction and how
they manage the variability that the particular context of communication demands;
• eliciting understanding of the way peoples’ enculturation affects how they see and
interpret the world, interact and communicate; understanding how peoples’ own
language(s) and culture(s) come into play in exchanging meaning; understanding how
they themselves are already situated in their own language(s) and culture(s), and the
same for others, and recognising that this experience is dynamic, ever-developing.
I have described this as assessing students’ learning in two ways. as participant users of the
target language and as learners/analysers of the use of the target language, constantly
reflecting critically on the exchange of meanings from multiple perspectives. (Scarino,
Example 1 from Melissa’s program illustrates how she has operationalised these ideas in the
scope and sequence of her year-long program, and its related assessment.
Example 1: Scope and sequence
Designing an intra/intercultural scope and sequence has provided a conceptual framework for
teaching and assessing intercultural capability. The concepts have been mapped across the Stage 6
(Years 11/12) NSW Board of Studies syllabus themes of the Individual, the Indonesian Speaking
Communities and Issues in Today’s World and focus on identity, social organisation, interpersonal
relationships and change. These concepts are probed using key questions. For example, the concept
of identity is teased out in the first module in Year 11 with questions such as Who are you? How do
you represent yourself to others? What is important to you? What are your values? What do you
notice is important to different Indonesians? In the final Year 12 module, questions on identity include;
How has your understanding of your identity developed/changed over the past two (or more) years?
How has your new knowledge influenced who you are? Is your identity influenced by your knowledge
and understanding of Indonesian life? Have your values changed?
A diagrammatic representation of this appears at Appendix 1. This presentation, in particular, the use
of the ‘evidence’ column indicates the way in which assessment is integrated naturally with learning.
Example 2 shows how Melissa elaborates on a module of work from her Year 12 program. Key
questions are an integral part of her teaching and learning processes and assessment, as are a focus
on evidence and feedback.
Example 2: Sample Year 12 module of work
The module on Religion in Indonesia gives students the opportunity to further consider and reflect on
their intraculturality by re-analysing their identity with a particular emphasis on religious position and
comparing it to other Australian and Indonesian contexts. Macarthur Anglican School is a Christian
school and Year 12 students study Biblical Studies or Studies of Religion as part of the curriculum,
have daily devotions in tutor groups and attend Chapel Services once per week. Exploring religion in
Indonesia gives students an additional opportunity to consider their own beliefs. Some of these
students may be Christians while others will not adhere to any particular faith.
From an intercultural perspective, students are encouraged to recognise the different values inherent
in various religions in Indonesia as expressed through a variety of texts. They focus on analysing the
language in these texts to explicitly reinforce the link between language and culture. From their
observations, students consider how this influences the way they communicate with various people in
Indonesia as well as Australia. From a linguistic development perspective, students develop a
repertoire for describing their feelings and being able to exchange ideas with others. Students also
develop an awareness of the specific religious terminology that is used in various settings, the
etymology of these words and the intercultural significance. For example, the use of words with
Arabic origin, selamat, maaf lahir batin (forgive me in body and soul) and the importance of the
concept of saying sorry and the need to apologise is used in a range of situations (eg at the beginning
of a speech). This module also aims to dispel stereotypes held about Islam.
Questions used in this module include:
Is religion part of your identity? Is it an important aspect of your life? Do your parents (or others)
expect you to follow a religion?
What influence does Macarthur Anglican School have on your identity (if any)? Does going to a
Christian school have an impact on who you are?
Do you think religion is an important aspect of the lives of Indonesians? What influences your
point of view on this? Consider the previous modules covered.
What do you know about religion in Indonesia?
From your readings/viewings/interactions, what do you think about arranged marriages, or
elopement or interfaith marriage, etc in Indonesia? How does this relate back to the information
you have learnt on ethnic diversity in Indonesia? Consider your situation. Will you have an
arranged marriage? Is it possible for you to marry someone from a different religious/ethnic
background? Is age a factor?
What connections have you made to previous modules?
These questions are enmeshed in continuous classroom interactions that incorporate images, texts,
discussion, focused work in Indonesian, with English as needed. Teacher input and facilitation is
necessary to scaffold and pace the learning. Teachers:
• encourage noticing and analysing of language and culture (including visuals);
• manage the discussion of controversial issues and diverse perspectives;
• challenge the naturalness of culture and students’ own culture being the norm;
• help dispel stereotypes;
• encourage students to ask themselves questions: Why do I think that? Where does that idea
• provide sensitive feedback;
• provide time for guided student reflection;
• encourage students to interpret themselves.
Notice how Melissa includes processes and questions that tap into students’ evolving, cumulative
understanding. One such process is the use of the learning log. The following extracts come from
the learning log of one of Melissa’s students called Becky. Melissa also highlights how she, as
teacher, interprets these entries.
Example 3: Excerpts from Becky’s learning log
“Learning about Mudik, in which everyone has the right to go home to celebrate the breaking of
the fast, no matter who they are or what ‘status’ they are astounds me. This is because it is such
a contrast to what I have learnt so far to be the hierarchical culture of every day Indonesian life,
displaying the huge importance this celebration holds in Indonesian society.” This shows that the
student is questioning her knowledge.
“…….. it was interesting to note that the inclusive words and phrases like “kita” (inclusive form of
‘we’), “kita semua” (we all) “setiap orang” (every person), “bersama” (together), which I have
seen several times in reading, writing, speaking and listening, are used so consistently
throughout many texts we have studied in Indonesian. To me, this displays a clear reflection of
the Indonesian culture and their aims as a nation and individual islands/ societies ie the national
determination to work together showing unity [the Indonesian motto is Unity in Diversity.] These
words employ a sense of unity and inclusiveness. I need to be very aware of this when I interact
with an Indonesian.”
In this journal entry it is clear that this student has come to an awareness of the cultural significance of
inclusiveness and that she needs to use this type of inclusive language in her interactions. This
shows her meta-awareness.
Using a journal like this is useful as it not only shows the student’s awareness and understanding of
the use of inclusive language in Indonesian but it shows her intention to use this type of language
when interacting with others and the reasons for doing so. This shows her intercultural understanding.
She recognises that using this vocabulary is authentic as it reflects Indonesian culture. Without the
journal entry, the student’s thinking process would be missed. Thus, it is a useful assessment tool for
Judging student performance is interrelated with the conceptualisation of language learning and the
procedures used to elicit this learning. Criteria are generally used to elaborate the requirements of
particular assessment tasks and the features of expected performance (often described as outcomes
and standards). While it is useful to specify criteria in advance, within alternative approaches, it is
also important to allow criteria to emerge from experience and performance on actual student
performance. This is a fundamental difficulty with the framing of the systems of assessment and
standards that are typically used by educational systems. The difficulty arises because the outcomes
and standards that are hypothesised are generally seen as the actual outcomes and standards. In
assessing language learning particularly within an intercultural orientation we must leave open the
possibility of unanticipated connections and evidence of learning.
In Example 4, Melissa describes an interrelated interview and email task, with accompanying criteria
for judging performance.
Example 4: Assessment Task (interview and email)
The assessment task was as follows:
Students interviewed a young Indonesian male Muslim, Ucy, (who was on exchange in Australia
for 3 weeks) about his religious practice and the special occasions associated with his religion.
Students then imagined they were living in Indonesia with Ucy’s family and witnessed a special
occasion. Using the information from their interview, they described and reflected on the special
occasion in the form of an email to a close friend.
Sample student interview response
“Kami sangat berterima kasih atas kehadriran Anda hari ini. Kami minta maaf sebelumnya kalau
ada yang tidak berkenan dan tidak wajib menjawab pertanyaan”
Thank you for your attendance today. We wish to apologise in advance if there is anything we
say that is disagreeable and it’s not compulsory to reply to the questions. (Amy)
In Amy’s learning log, she explained that she commenced her interview in this manner as she had
found out from an Indonesian speaker that this was the appropriate, polite formality to use when
conducting an interview. This shows that Amy was concerned to not only ensure her language was
accurate, but that the cultural pragmatics were accurate. This demonstrates intercultural
Criteria for judging performance in the interview
Assessment was based on the following criteria:
- recognise and employ language appropriate to interviewee and social context;
- relevance and depth of questions;
- clarity of expression (pronunciation, intonation, stress);
- accuracy of vocabulary and sentence structures;
- variety and appropriateness of vocabulary and sentence structures;
- capacity to maintain a conversation (comprehension, communication strategies).
Sample student email response
“sebelum aku datang ke sini aku kira bahwa agama Islam nggak menerima agama lain.” (Before
I came here I thought that Islam didn’t accept other religions) …. Di Australia aku berprasangka
tentang semua aspek agama Islam. Aku berpendapat bahwa mereka nggak membolehkan aku
ikut perayaan mereka. Akhirnya, Ucy berkata: ‘tergantung dari kamu.’ (In Australia I was
prejudiced about all aspects of Islam. I thought that they wouldn’t allow me to take part in their
celebrations. Finally Ucy said: It’s up to you.” (Alana) Alana had asked Ucy in her interview if, as
a Christian, she would be able to participate in the fasting month of Ramadan.
Ucapan yang selalu aku dengar adalah ‘Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf lahir batin.’ Ucapan ini
menarik; penting bahwa yang muda mengunjungi yang tua untuk sungkem kepada mereka dan
minta maaf. Aku ngaak sungkem, sedangkan Ucy dan kakaknya sungkem kepada ortunya.
Bisa kamu membayangkannya?’ The expression that I always heard was “Happy Hari Raya.
Please forgive me in body and soul.” This expression is interesting; it’s important for young
people to kneel before their parents and request forgiveness. I didn’t kneel whereas Ucy and his
older brother knelt before their parents. Can you believe it? (Laura)
Criteria for judging performance in the email task
Assessment was based on the following criteria:
- summarise main points and provides detailed items of specific information from your
- identify values, attitudes and beliefs of cultural significance;
- interpret and evaluate information showing your intercultural learning;
- use appropriate register;
- use accurate sentence structure;
- use complex vocabulary;
- structure and sequence appropriately.
Melissa provides an example of the judging of her students’ performance in Example 5.
Example 5: Sample teacher written feedback on the email task
On the whole, this is a very well-written email Laura. You have provided an excellent summary of
Ucy’s interview, commenting on may aspects of Ramadan and Idulfitri. I am also impressed with
the depth of your ideas. Your Indonesian vocabulary is varied and the sentences you use are
complex. You have, however, made a couple of word order errors. You have been perceptive in
the comments you have made, showing reflection. You have written in a more appropriate
register this time. Well done!
The task provided an opportunity to assess the students’ knowledge and understanding of Ramadan
and Idulfitri as well as their ability to interpret and evaluate the information conveyed in Ucy’s
interview. It also gave me an insight into the types of questions they thought important to ask. The
task was also used as an assessment for learning task as it provided me with key information about
the students’ preconceptions about Islam and Idulfitri and how these had changed.
Examining the explicit vocabulary choice, grammatical structure, tone, bias, etc. of texts helps
students develop their intercultural capabilities. If students can understand and apply this knowledge,
knowingly, and reflect on it, teachers are in a better position to assess how students are
understanding interculturality. Further to this task, I interviewed the students about their learning and
asked them to comment on what they included in their email (and why) and whether there was
specific language they chose in their email.
One student then used her email to further explore her thoughts in her learning log. In reference to
the comment in her email about children needing to kneel before their parents and ask forgiveness,
she writes “I think this is highly ritualised and reveals the importance of family and parents. I’m not
sure if the source is religious or cultural…… is the tighter family unit the rule for all Indonesian
Muslims or just Ucy?” She used her response as a means to assess her own learning and continue in
her learning journey.
In reference to her reflection of Islam not just being a time of prayer and forgiveness but also a festive
atmosphere . “More evidence against my original ‘Islam is strict, solemn and monolithic’ hypothesis, I
think it is important to recognise that it is a holy time, but still a celebration.”
“Aku berpendapat bahwa perbedaan di antara Islam di Indoensia dan Islam di Arab disebabkan adat-
istiadat serta pengaruh suku bangsa”. I am of the opinion that the difference between Islam in
Indonesian and in the Middle East is caused by customs and traditions as well as the influence of
ethnicity. She comments on her own text: “Logically it is impossible for religion to be untouched by
ethnicity and culture.”
This style of task shows that intercultural language learning is far more than a product; it is the
process that is important and the learning is captured in an ongoing manner.
In judging student performance of interaction with a developing intercultural capability it
becomes necessary to judge:
• the nature and scope of the interaction
- understanding the task, text, concept or participation in interaction in vivo
- understanding assumptions/diverse perspectives
- responding to others: noticing, explaining, connecting, applying, etc;
• understanding the process of interpretation/themselves as interpreters and their ability
and, within a long-term perspective to consider:
• the connections that students make in all of the above in understanding languages
and cultures in social life
(see also Scarino & Liddicoat, 2009:75-76)
Validation is the process by which teachers consider the evidence they use to ensure that the
inferences they make about students’ performance are, in fact, fair and justifiable. One way of
seeing this is through the students’ responses to the kinds of cumulative questions on learning
that we are proposing. When we interviewed Melissa’s students about their Year 12
Indonesian learning experience, they commented as follows:
With the intercultural, like, I guess, it doesn’t just involve looking at the Indonesian culture,
but looking at our own, so we look at our personal culture and our own knowledge and
that can reflect differences and similarities between the two.
I don’t know about anyone else, but the knowledge of the way other cultures deal with
things has sort of changed the way I might think about different things, like trying to adopt
what I might believe is a better way of dealing with things, that I’ve gotten from that new
In a video interview that Melissa conducted with her students in relation to the learning log,
she gained further evidence of their learning.
Has taking an intercultural approach to your learning helped you learn more about your own
Yes absolutely. Language reflects culture and culture reflects language – the two are
inseparable. Um, as I said before OFC [Object Focus Construction], in studying OFC, I’ve learnt
that my culture is a very concerning Western society whereas in Indonesia, they’re not.” Becky
Has taking the intercultural approach helped you learn in a deeper way?
I’m not just looking at vocabulary, not just learning how to speak the language, I’m not just
learning the what but I’m learning the how and the why. Through focusing on my intercultural
understanding, I’m gaining a better understanding of the culture in Indonesia and my own
I feel like I am learning at deeper level because I’m trying to look beyond and like trying to
understand more about them rather than what they look like and how they talk and everything…
language is in culture and culture is language and they both tie into together and um when I
visited Malaysia it really was an eye-opener for me to really connect with how they interact with
How do you feel about reflecting on your learning?
Yeah I really enjoy that, um, it’s time when I can really reinforce what I learn on paper. Then
when it’s on paper I can then go back and look over it therefore I won’t forget it and it allows me
to deepen my understanding and knowledge of what I’ve learned, not simply forget it. (Becky)
How is the intercultural approach different to other ways you have learned?
“I think the major thing for me is this idea that - you go into a Maths classroom, it’s here’s a
formulae, make sure you know what the heck to do with it. You go into an English classroom –
here’s a play, make sure you know it backwards, intercultural learning, yeah again, it’s thinking of
things on a deeper level.” (Frank)
Assessing an intercultural capability involves an invitation:
• to reconceptualise language, culture, learning and assessment;
• to reconceptualise the nature of evidence of learning;
• to expand the ways of gathering evidence and the kinds of evidence gathered;
• to create a new culture of learning and assessment.
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MACARTHUR ANGLICAN SCHOOL
Stage 6 Scope and Sequence
For each module the following key intra-and intercultural concepts will be presented:
Year 11 Year 11 Year 11 Year 12 Year 12 Year 12 Year 12
Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4
Identity Who are you? Identity – How does Identity – Multiple Religious identity Making choices Identity of Youth How has your
How do you your job reflect who identities. and values, self, and reflecting on and how young understanding of
represent yourself you are and what Examination of and communities their implied people are your identity
to others? What is status you have? ethnicity, in Australia, values. How portrayed by developed/changed
important to you? What do different nationality. How do Indonesia and issues affect Indonesian & over the past 2
What are your Australians and different other countries as self/identity. Being Australian years? How has your
values? What do Indonesians value Indonesians relevant a global citizen communities. new knowledge
notice is important about work? What represent influenced who you
to different are your aspirations? themselves? are? Is your identity
Indonesians? Compare this to Symbolism of Art influenced by your
aspirations of and Craft knowledge and
Indonesian youth. Change – understanding of
Traditional vs Indonesian life?
Contemporary Have your values
practices. changed? How do
Social Individual and How is education Motto: Unity in Church, Mosque, Government & Rites of passage. Birthday parties,
Organisation family life, valued? Examine Diversity. Temple and other Non-Government School, Family, ceremonies,
Variability of family educational Examination of places of spiritual organizations, Marriage, Issues – Graduation
structure and opportunities. What ethnic variability in significance. Environmental smoking, alcohol,
composition in qualities are Indonesia. Explore Special Occasions Clubs drugs
Australian & considered similarities &
Indonesian important for an differences between
contexts. employer/employee rural & urban life in
in Aust/Indon? Indonesia &
Examination of jobs Australia & other
in both countries. countries
Interpersonal What do you need How do you interact How would you Interacting with Discussing issues Friendships, Understanding how
Relationships to know to engage with peers & interact in a social people of different with different Relationships with to relate to a wide
with and teachers at school? situation in religions in people; friends, parents, teachers, variety of
understand What would you Indonesia? everyday setting, family, teachers, others. Making Indonesians.
others? What do need to consider if Consider setting – special occasions Indonesian people arrangements, Understanding of
you value in a you were to go on a eg in a home, at an etc, Interfaith of different ages Invitations interrelationship
friend? How do student exchange to event etc. as well as relationships and background. between language
you like to spend Indonesia? other factors Impact of issues and culture. Able
your leisure time? What would an including a person’s and how they to define ‘Third
How Indonesian student ethnicity, religion, affect lifestyle
similar/different is need to know about age, gender, status,
this for an school life in etc. How would
Indonesian Australia? Examine interacting with a
teenager? How similarities & Javanese be similar
will the register of differences between to or different from
the language you Indonesia & a Balinese? Why is
use vary according Australia (& other this the case?
to whom you countries) Examination of
interact with? etiquette and ritual.
Change What type of Changing nature Change in Changes in choice Globalisation, Change – Shifts Future aspirations,
global citizen do of work and values contemporary of religion, Rural-Urban shift in perception of transition from
you want to be? of work. society – changes Marriage, in Indonesian, Youth, school to
Discussion of language, etiquette, Influence of ‘Sea/Tree- Demographic work/university
gender, status, values, housing, different religions, Change’ changes, Change in intra-
technology in architecture, arts and politics etc phenomenon in Technology and-intercultural
relation to change. craft, cuisine, etc. Australia, understanding
Examination of Climate Change
of the future
Key Questions Rationale
How do you make up your As this is the first unit of the Preliminary course, it it important for
identity? students to consolidate their understanding that cultures are relative
What factors do you base not absolute. This has been discussed in previous years.
this on? (ethnic background, The theme of the module is ‘Personal World’ and students are
language, gender, socio- encouraged to focus on their own intra-culturality by becoming
economic status, religion?) aware of how they see themselves, what they consider their culture
What characteristics of a friend to be and what they consider to be important in their lives. Teachers
are important to you? Why? will guide students in their awareness-raising and learning process
Menurut Anda Sifat-sifat apa of creating their knowledge about their own culture and Indonesian
paling penting bagi teman? culture. In particular, students will be encouraged to think about how
Mengapa? (NB Anda is used their experience and knowledge can affect the way they see the
instead of kamu to prepare world. A focus will be on how identity affects social interactions.
students for the register that Students will be encouraged to consider their multiple identities and
will be using during the HSC recognise that Indonesians have muliple identities too. Explicit
speaking examination) teaching will be on the different language that an Indonesian may
Do you think the Indonesian use depending on their specific identity for a given context and
and Australian concept of reasons for that choice (e.g. Javanese person would use Bahasa
friendship is the same? Jawa with family and Javanese friends but may use Bahasa
Menurut Anda, apakah Indonesia with work colleagues). Students discuss own language
persahabatan sama di use. It is important for the teacher to make explicit connections
Indonesia dan Australia? between language, culture and knowledge. Discussing ethnic
variability will give teachers the opportunity to foreshadow a later
Write down what you notice
module in which students will further explore Indonesian-speaking
about friendship from the
texts? Tulislah apa yang Anda
perhatikan tentang Students will predict how Indonesians view friendship and family
persahabatan. Think about the and will analyse texts to gain a fuller understanding of friendship
qualities that are described. and family in Indonesian society. Students will also gain a
Pikirkan sifat-sifat apa yang knowledge of how friends and family are represented in texts. It is
digambarkan. Does this important to present students with tasks to facilitate a range of
change your earlier point of interactions. It is important to discuss different register of language
view or reinforce it? used between friends and family in Indonesian and Australian
contexts. Help students notice that some Indonesians will use much
How is family represented in
more honorific language with their parents than Australians.
Indonesian texts? What
adjectives are used to describe Pragmatics will be introduced to help students see how
family in the texts? Why? understandings are reached as a result of the interrelationship
Bagaimana keluarga between language use and the socio-cultural context in which it is
ditunjukkan dalam iklan dan being presented. Encourage the idea that it cannot be assumed that
bacaan? Tulislah kata-kata every language will have the same type of behaviour associated
sifat yang dipakai dalam teks with speech acts, e.g. discuss the universal maxim of quality which
untuk menggambarkan implies all speakers are expected to tell the truth but for an
keluarga. Indonesian, giving a pleasing response is far more important, as
related to the value of harmony in Indonesian society. Explain how
Why do you think Indonesians
language use differs across speech communities because of
predominantly use the Object-
different cultural values and norms. Students will be encouraged to
focus-construction as opposed
find their own ‘third place’ between cultures.
to the Subject-Focus-
Construction? What does this Discussion on the importance of the object-focus-construction and
tell you about the emphasis its relationship to the dominant Javanese culture which deflects any
placed on the individual and /or emphasis from oneself. This culture has influenced the construction
the community? of the national language.
Students should be asked to ‘notice’, ‘compare’ and ‘reflect’ in all
that they learn. At this stage of their learning, they should be
encouraged to shift from the descriptive to the conceptual when
Suggested teaching and learning activities
All tasks are completed in Indonesian Evidence of learning
unless otherwise specified.
Evidence will be gathered by
assessing students’ ability to
Listening and responding
read and listen to texts by
Listen and respond to Indonesian texts from Jajak, Suara Siswa, Bersama- determining the gist, extracting
sama 2 (Ch 8), HSC Online (beginners), 2UZ HSC listening. Discuss the key information and
purpose, audience and context of these texts. In pairs students discuss summarise this as required.
register of language used and whether language is informative, persuasive The speaking activities
etc Link this to text type. From the texts, students consider how being polite will assess students’ ability
in Indonesian isn’t necessarily the same in English. to reproduce relevant
Listen to and view Indonesians being interviewed by Macarthur students. information about themselves
Discuss concepts presented in DVD. Help students notice the type of and demonstrate their intra-
language used by different interlocutors when referring to parents. Why cultural learning.
would this difference exist (is it related to age, gender, ethnicity, personal The writing activities will
choice or other factors?) indicate students’ ability to
Complete cloze activity for song about love Cinta Kilat. Discuss (in write descriptively and apply
Indonesian) concept of relationship as presented in the song. Is this similar learned vocabulary and
to the type(s) of relationships teenage Indonesians may experience? structures, particularly
Listen and respond to song about unemployment Sarjana Muda (Iwan adjectives to describe
Fals). With other students, discuss main issue raised in the song. personality and behaviour.
Discussion about family life
Listen and summarise song about sibling relationship Sebelum kau bosan. and friendship in Indonesia will
What does this say about sibling relationships in this situation? Is this indicate students’
similar to your own experience? preconceptions and show their
View and listen to and extract information from TIFL videos in which a intercultural learning.
range of Indonesians discuss friendship. In Indonesian, students discuss The reflective diary entry will
and explain the important qualities of friendship to them as individuals. assess students’ intercultural
understanding and this will be
Reading and responding used to help students build on
Learn about pragmatics. Read various texts which contain how to their knowledge and
accept/decline invitations. Students are asked to notice the language used. understanding for subsequent
Discuss cultural implications. Compare this to how they accept/decline modules.
invitations. The written email will assess
Learn dictionary skills. Translate various sentences. (Discuss the students intra-cultural
importance of link between language and culture) knowledge and understanding
Read Kawan karibku from Suara Siswa. In groups, discuss what values as students describe
arise from these texts about friendship. What qualities are considered to be themselves and their
important? Summarise this in Indonesian. friends/family and explain why
certain qualities are important
Read Indonesian advertisement for ideal partner. Students consider their to them.
own personal values and consider what factors influence their values.
Students write own advertisement for ideal partner. Students will be expected to
use a range of appropriate
vocabulary and structures.
The interview based on the
content of the email will assess
students’ understanding of the
topic and their ability to
according to audience,
purpose and context.
Read text in English about ‘Youth Indonesian’ and discuss main
Students will be expected to
concepts in text. Make a list of colloquial Indonesian expressions from
be able to articulate and
the text and discuss when you would use these in an Indonesian
explain their personal
qualities and activities and
Read about the personal lives of Indonesian teenagers. In pairs those of their friends and
discuss what similarities and differences to their own lives. How does family. It is expected that
this show Indonesian values? Use the structure of the texts as a students will use a range of
model for speaking about their own lives. sophisticated vocabulary and
Read personal profile of young Indonesian in teenage magazine. structures (including OFC)
Consider the profiles that are presented in Australian teenage and be able to speak for 7
magazines. Compare the content. In groups (in Indonesian) discuss minutes.
and reflect on the types of things that are important to include in
personal profile in an Indonesian and an Australian context. Students
write up as prose text and write own profile.
Read advertisements which focus on the images of Indonesian Feedback
families. Write down key vocabulary from these advertisements and The teacher provides written
discuss what they are saying about family. Look through magazines, feedback about students’
and note the most common form of advertisements which show email and interview.
family. Compare this to Australian magazine.
Oral feedback will be
Read Indonesian texts (short story, poem, article) and respond in provided about their
English, extracting key ideas and analysing and evaluating aspects of understanding of spoken and
language and culture with reference to the audience, purpose and written texts and their ability
context. to speak in Indonesian
Speaking in Indonesian during the pairwork and
Describe own family members (personality, appearance, job). Give
opinions of roles of family members. Describe and explain Ongoing feedback will
relationship. be provided on their
In English, describe friends focusing on relationships. Explain what is
important in choosing a friend.
Identify and discuss favorite leisure activities.
Engage in information exchange based on describing important
qualities in friends.
Role-play declining an invitation politely.
Complete surveys to find out information about other students’
family/leisure activities, preferred career, etc.
Use Board of Studies and other sample speaking questions as a
model to talk about personal world.
Play “Musical adjectives” game to encourage students to speak on a
range of topics using a range of structures.
Brainstorm what is important in a friendship, relationship.
Write a role-play in which a teenage Indonesian and Australian meet
and exchange information on various topics. In the role-play, focus on
aspects that you have learnt about Indonesian attitudes and values.
Respond to a letter in which a young Indonesian asks for advice on
how to get on better with his/her parents. Consider the type of advice
you should give as a result of your understanding of family
relationships in Indonesia.
Write a profile of self. Write about own family, friends and aspirations.
Imagine you are being billeted with an Indonesian family while on a
Study tour. In Indonesian, write a diary entry in which you describe
and reflect on your observations of family life.
Write an email to an Indonesian friend describing self, family and
friends and explain what you value most in your personal life.
(Assessment task – assessment of learning).