chapter  14
16 Pages

Migration, Aboriginality and Acculturation

ByBen-Zion Weiss

This chapter is based on the story of my experience of teaching a youth migrant class for the Adult Migrant English Service (AMES) in Sydney in 1996. It was this experience that later inspired my research for a Doctorate in Social Ecology2 at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) on using drama education for anti-racism (2007). My own process of development as a teacher prepared me to teach this youth migrant class called Circuit Breaker, an AMES programme for intermediate level English recent arrival youth who were having dif¿culty acculturating into the Australian education system. This inspired me to present a paper called Aboriginality, Racism and the Circuit Breaker Program at a cultural action conference convened by the Centre for Popular Education at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) in 1997. The positive reception given to this paper at the UTS conference and the subsequent demise of the Circuit Breaker and other youth programmes by Howard’s Liberal government, elected in 1996, motivated me to do my PhD to document my teaching journey for the bene¿t of other teachers and interested parties. In this narrative my very personal process of being a child migrant myself became political in the context of a government that some social commentators like Phillip Adams (1997) considered to be a retreat from tolerance with elements of racism (see Andrew Markus, 2001).