South Asian Music and Culture in Canada University of Alberta

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Immigration, Multiculturalism & Music

Chapters 1 and 7

Subject: Social Studies, Language Arts

Suggested Grade Level: 3, 5, and 9

Overview: Students will use historical photographs to demonstrate an understanding and appreciation for experiences of people from India. From the photographs, students will make inferences about the customs, traditions and stories of immigrants.

Grade 3 Social Studies Outcomes:
Students will:

  • demonstrate an awareness of interests in beliefs, traditions and customs groups and communities other than their own;
  • explore traditions, celebrations, stories and practices in the community that connect the people to the past and to each other;
  • gain an appreciation of how cultural diversity is expressed within a community.

Grade 3 Language Arts Outcomes:
Students will:

  • connect portrayals of characters or situations in oral, print and other media texts to personal and experiences;
  • explore ideas and feelings by asking questions, talking to others and referring to oral, print and other media texts.

Grade 5 Social Studies Outcomes:
Students will:

  • explore how stories of immigrants from India contribute to an understanding of diversity in Canada;
  • critically evaluate ideas, information and positions from multiple perspectives;
  • re-evaluate personal opinions to broaden understanding of a topic or an issue;
  • use photographs to make meaning of historical information.

Grade 5 Language Arts Outcomes:
Students will:

  • describe and discuss the influence of setting on the characters and events;
  • use their own experiences as a basis for exploring and expressing opinions and understanding.

Grade 9 Social Studies Outcomes:
Students will:

  • critically evaluate ideas, information and positions from multiple perspectives;
  • make reasoned comments relating to the topic of discussions;
  • listen to others in order to understand their perspective;
  • examine the values, lifestyle and points of view represented in a form of media.

Grade 9 Language Arts Outcomes:
Students will:

  • Develop and extend understanding by expressing and responding to ideas on the same topic, in a variety of forms of oral, print and other media texts
  • Talk with others and experience a variety of oral, print and other media texts to explore, develop and justify own opinions and points of view

Related South and Music and Culture in Canada digital assets: Video and text from Chapters 1 and 7.

Glossary Terms:

  • Cultural heritage - the beliefs, customs, knowledge, values, and historical experiences shared by a given group
  • Multiculturalism - belief that several different cultures can co-exist peacefully and equitably in a single country
  • Mushaira - a term in Urdu to describe an event where poets gather to perform their works. It is a traditional part of Pakistan and North Indian culture valued as a space for self-expression.
  • South Asian Diaspora - refers to immigrants from South Asian countries who maintain close ties to their countries of origin

Lesson

Suggested Time: two 60 minute periods

Anticipatory Set:

  • Before lesson, have students bring in a photograph or an artifact which depicts a custom or tradition in their family.
  • Have students exchange their photographs or artifacts with a partner and hypothesize what the image is telling them (i.e. people, place, event).

Procedure:

  • As a class, discuss what kinds of information we can learn from a photograph or artifact.
  • Guide students towards the types of information they can gather from an image or artifact.
  • For instance: geographical, historical, anthropological, and viewpoint.
    • How do you know…?
    • What is the land like? What is the climate?
    • What is in the photo?
    • What is the style of clothing, hair, or furniture?
    • What does this tell you about the culture?
    • What are the people doing?
    • Where are they?
    • Who took the picture? Why?
  • Distribute images from the SAMC website (go to the Collections tab and search words such as "home" or "photograph") to groups of 3 to 4 students.
  • Inform students, these photographs deal with the customs and traditions of immigrants from India. Students need to look for clues which will assist them in answering the example questions above.
  • Invite groups to share their findings for each photograph. Summarize this information with the class in a table or web, in the context of the following questions:
    • Geographical (where)
    • Historical (what, when)
    • Anthropological (who)
    • Viewpoint (why)
  • During class discussions of photographs, discuss important glossary terms.

Conclusion:
Grade 3: Rounding Reflective Exercise
Place an image, which is large enough to be seen by everyone, on the board at the front. Using a small soft ball pass the ball to one student stating a piece of information you can gather from the image on the board. The student will state another piece of information and toss the ball to another student in the class. Repeat this process until you have explored all the possible answers. If a student drops the ball or fails to catch it start again from the beginning following the same order for extra motivation and challenge.

As a journaling activity, have students take another look at their photograph or artifact that they brought from home. What new insights do they now have about the image or artifact? Then have students write a short story about the significance of this artifact or photograph to their lives.

Grade 5: Critical Thinking
Ask students to think about a culture, tradition or custom that is important to them or their family. Have students describe in their journal or with a friend, their feelings and thoughts if this part of their identity was taken away. How can we support individuals who immigrate from another country?

Grade 9: Critical Thinking
Ask students to think about a culture, tradition or custom that is important to them or their family. Have students describe in their journal, their feelings and thoughts if this part of their identity was altered upon moving to a new country. What steps can an individual take in order to maintain their cultural heritage?

Additional Resources
Images of India from LearnAlberta.ca