Stereotype: A preconceived idea people have about someone or something, or a characteristic image that a lot of people think represents a particular person, group or thing. Australia is often stereotyped as a country that drinks to excess. A report by FARE indicates that this stereotype is in fact true. 73% of our population believe we have a problem with excess drinking or alcohol abuse. While 82% of adults consume alcohol, 45% admit they consume to get drunk. (FARE, 2018, pp. 11,16,19)
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Racism: The belief that one race and its members are superior to another race, often accompanied with discrimination directed at someone of a different and apparent minority race. In May of 2013, Sydney footballer Adam Goodes was a victim of racial criticism. During an AFL match a fan on the opposing team verbally abused Goodes, calling him an ape. (Crawford, 2013) “…It’s not the first time on a footy field that I’ve been referred to as a ‘monkey’ or an ‘ape’, it was shattering” (Goodes, 2013).
Prejudice: A negative judgment or feeling towards people or group of people that are formed without proper knowledge or evidence and can often be directed at race, sex or religion. On May 15, 2015, two tradesmen assaulted a male Melbourne train commuter for sticking up for three Muslim women wearing headscarves and speaking Arabic. One of the tradesmen said “you shouldn’t be wearing that shit in Australia” and “You shouldn’t be speaking that shit in Australia”. (Mills, 2015)
Social Justice: The equality and fairness of human rights, access to opportunities, wealth and privileges for everyone within a society regardless of their status within the society. Gender equality is continuing to improve in Australia however, reports show that men and women who were both equally employed full time, women earned an average of $253.70 a week less than men (Workplace Gender Equality Agency, 2018, p. 1).Australian media often uses a variety of sources to influence the audience, promote diversity and an inclusive society. Medibank Private’s ‘I am better’ Television campaign advocates their health insurance is for everyone, whether that be singles, families, single parents, same-sex couples, grandparents or immigrants (Medibank, 2016).
History has shown that sports talk show panels are made up of all male hosts. However, in 2014 The NRL Footy Show hired its first female co-host Erin Molan, and the AFL Footy Show hiring their first female co-host Rebecca Maddern in 2016 (Ryan, 2016).
Nevertheless media can also discriminate against an inclusive society. In 2017 the Coalitional for Marriage released a television commercial discriminating against same-sex marriage featuring mothers who emphasised issues the community and their children could face if the nation voted yes to same-sex marriage. The response received mixed reviews on social media. (Pallin, 2017). Racial discrimination is still a big issue within Australia. 2014 reports show that 19% of Australians have experienced racial discrimination in their life, an increase of 10% in 5 years (Scanlon Foundation, 2014, p. 23). 40% of these complaints received were cyber-racism related (Human Rights Commission, 2013, pp. 132-132).
In conclusion, media can be seen to influence viewers in both a positive and negative way. Multiculturalism is a reality in Australia and as mentioned above health insurances are embracing the diversity and offering services to all Australians, while television shows are breaking the gender barriers. While 84% of Australians believe multiculturalism is good for the country (Scanlon Foundation, 2014, p. 43), there is still a lot of racism and discrimination happening daily. However recent years have shown steps in the right direction, such as legalising same-sex marriage, having female sports hosts, and including people with disabilities in television commercials, although there is still a lack of Aboriginal role models in media.
Students of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds are impacted educationally in numerous ways. Especially for those living in rural or remote areas who’s first language isn’t English. With teaching materials and context constantly based on white Australian’s, Aboriginal students struggle to relate to the stories or identify with the characters. There is a lack of Aboriginal role models, with 0.7% of teachers being Aboriginal and those living in poverty or overcrowded houses, have trouble studying and learning. (Korff, 2018). Research has shown with the lack of Aboriginal role models or characters in resources, Aboriginal students performed worse academically (The Conversation, 2017). This indicates that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders don’t have the same privileges or access to resources that white Australians have. School teachers have legal responsibilities they are required to abide by, therefore it is important all teachers are aware of the relevant state and federal legislations, code of conduct and code of ethics.
The Victorian Equal Opportunities Act (2010), Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act (1992), Victorian Education and Training Reform Act (2006), Disability Standards for Education Act (2005) and the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) cover all students with or without disabilities in Victorian schools. These legislations ensure Victorian students aren’t discriminated against, denied or given limited access to benefits, refused enrolment and are entitled to attend their designated neighbourhood school. They ensure that reasonable adjustments are made for a person with a disability, provide a safe risk-free environment, cover curriculum development and delivery, participation and student support services.
The Victorian Teaching Profession Code of Conduct (Victorian Institute of Teaching, 2016) symbolises the relationship between the teacher and student, parents, community or colleagues. It allows students to be treated with dignity and courtesy and offered equal learning opportunities. Along with professional conduct, teachers’ are expected to follow personal conduct principles such as role modelling, ensuring personal interferences don’t impact their duties and respecting the profession. Additionally, professional competence principles allow teachers to maintain professional development, perform duties thoroughly and responsibly and acknowledge state and national legislations and legal responsibilities.
The Victorian Teaching Profession Code of Ethics (Victorian Institute of Teaching, 2016) demonstrates integrity, respect and responsibility in the teaching profession. Integrity is demonstrated by upholding professional relationships with students, families, colleagues and the community, acknowledging students best interest and respecting the profession. Demonstrating care and compassion, exhibiting fair and equal treatment towards students and respecting colleagues, shows respect. It is the responsibility of teachers to provide a safe environment, adapt content to meet the diverse needs of students and deliver quality teaching. Kids today spend a lot of time watching television, on the computer or using smart devices and using social media, giving them access to discriminating media reports. With the high rate of cyber bullying and discrimination there’s a chance my students may be affected. As a teacher I will support students of diversity, embracing their cultures in and outside of the classroom, in hope to decrease cultural discrimination and bullying. If students are interesting in or talking about topics they’ve heard via media outlets I will address their concerns and run activities or discussions on these topics.
State and federal legislations and policies are in place to guide teachers and school staff in daily procedures. As a teacher I would follow these legislations and policies, ensuring that students are provided a safe environment, delivered appropriate curriculum with adjustments made for students where necessary and all students treated and given equal opportunities, even if they were from a diverse culture or had a disability.
I consider myself to have an open mind and attitude towards student diversity and inclusion, I don’t agree with discrimination or bullying. I myself have a diverse background, composed of 5 countries just from my parents and grandparents. I have travelled the world and enjoy visiting and learning about new countries. I would use these experiences to embrace diversity when teaching students.
I plan to be a teacher who is an active participant and role model in community settings and events, attend teacher conferences and workshops to help continually update my professional knowledge. In doing so, I will be able to use new techniques and deliver updated content to my students, benefitting them and improving their ability to learn.
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