Recently, the GOTAFE Multicultural Education Centre (MEC) and Community Services Department joined forces for a Cultural Exchange Day held at the GOTAFE Shepparton Campus.
15 Certificate III in Spoken and Written English students spent the day with Certificate IV in Education Support (CHC40213) students, playing games and learning about one another, explained GOTAFE Trainer, Jo Fasano.
“Our session began with each MEC student introducing themselves and providing some information regarding how they came to be in Australia. The day included a range of hands on activities and games, all designed to make the students feel comfortable and facilitate an open exchange of information,” said Mrs Fasano.
Chocolate proved to be an appropriate motivator for all. Games included Bingo, Pictionary and a Treasure Hunt – but the fun and laughter was all for a purpose.
“The emphasis was all about exchange of information so that both groups could learn from each other. Everyone was delighted to find that they shared so may commonalities, and were intrigued by the variations in the things they liked and disliked,” said Mrs Fasano.
“Students shared information about their cultures, upbringings, educational experiences and hopes for the future. They spoke openly about everything from tattoos to clothing, marriage and religion. They also used visuals to aid in communication, drawing diagrams and sharing photographs of their families and pets.”
The session was designed to provide all participants with an opportunity to practise their communication skills in an open and safe environment. Not only did it assist with English language skills, it provided an opportunity for the Education Support students to practice skills they will require in a professional setting.
“Students were required to demonstrate features of good communication, such as the appropriate tone of voice, use of gestures and facial expressions to support communication attempts, and asking for clarification if a question or response was not understood.”
The event has proven to be a great success, with newfound friendships formed and a greater understanding of the many cultures that make up our community.
For more information about the Multicultural Education Unit or Community Services courses at GOTAFE, please contact 1300 GOTAFE (468 233) or visit www.gotafe.vic.edu.au