Embracing cultural diversity

Action research at St Paul’s School, Bald Hills

St Paul’s School (SPS) Bald Hills is committed to developing its students as active and informed global citizens. To support this, the school has formed an Our World Languages (OWL) Club, providing an opportunity for students to experience other cultures and languages firsthand.

For one hour each week, students have the opportunity to participate in small group discussions with volunteer parents from different ethnic backgrounds, providing a two-way process for students to express their thoughts, feelings and responses. First languages of parents participating in the program include Spanish, Afrikaans, Greek, German, Portuguese, Hindi, Italian, Japanese and Mandarin.

Action Research Project – Our World Languages (OWL) Club

This action research project explored how effective SPS’s OWL Club is at developing students’ understanding of multiple perspectives.

Project objectives

The OWL Club will support students to:

  • make connections with parents from a variety of ethnic backgrounds different to their own
  • celebrate the inclusive nature of the SPS community
  • learn the basics of another language
  • develop an understanding of different cultural perspectives in relation to everyday experiences.

Lead teacher

The project is led by Charles Mackenzie-Smith, Head of Learning Global Sustainability at SPS. With a focus on fostering a culture of global competence at SPS, Charles engages his students in authentic learning tasks featuring a provocation and critical investigation of real-world issues.

For Charles, collaborating with the GLC is an opportunity to strengthen his understanding of Global Citizenship Education and to share ideas, resources and strategies with colleagues within and beyond SPS.

Project evaluation

I have found many benefits in engaging in the Action Research Project e.g. scaffolding for me, recording of reflections and my participation in a reflective Webinar. It gave me great insight into running a program involving the complex but dynamic interaction s between parents, children and volunteer staff. There are many ways this project will help me run another similar program in the future… I have learned to reflect deeply and refine some of my ideas.

I found our volunteer parents were so supportive of me going out ‘to spread the word’ because they could see the true value in a program like OWL Club. I’m happy to get the message out to other institutions that this is something that they could easily undertake with minimal fuss and with great returns for their school and community. (Charles Mackenzie-Smith, St Paul’s School Bald Hills)

About St Paul’s School, Bald Hills

St Paul’s School (SPS) is an independent Pre-Prep to Year 12 co-educational domestic and international school located at Bald Hills, Brisbane. With a focus on helping students become innovative thinkers, SPS has researched, prototyped, tested and rolled out five unique Realms of Thinking that transform the learning landscape: creativity, design thinking, entrepreneurialism, global sustainability and inquiry.

Webinar – post action research reflections

Listen to Charles in conversation with Alisa Cleary as he discusses the impact of the action research project during a webinar presentation.

Global Citizenship Education: Action Research 1 – St Paul’s