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Engaging with difference: Using the arts and the community to help children connect with others

Ruth Reynolds and Sue Lane

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 to develop a creative arts programme for young school children. The process of engaging with the African cultures, the school teachers and students, and different aspects of the creative arts led us in directions, through an action research cycle, that we could not have anticipated. We moved from a position of teaching about others, with our own ideas of what would best build bridges between Australian and African communities, to teaching with others. As a result, we, and the students, began actually engaging with members of the region’s African community (from Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mali, Sudan and Rwanda).

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