Embracing technology

Today we did a Pursuing Peace presentation in a format that was new to us.

A usual P2 presentation involves us working with one or two classes for a double lesson. In that time we do a variety of activities. In some there is a whole class Q and A, in others we get the whole class up and moving and in some we break into small groups.

Today we presented to all the Year 8 - 12 students in a large gym at Tatachilla Lutheran College. Instead of getting the students to stand in certain places to signify how they felt about a certain issue, we used phone polls with live results on a large screen and instead of intimate Q and A, school captains went around with microphones so the students who wanted to ask or answer questions could be heard. We used microphones, as well, so we could be heard by all the students. We usually end with a Q and A with questions about us and our cultural/faith backgrounds, which we do in stations in a classroom. Today questions could be sent through via text message.

It all ran almost seamlessly. Kudos to the school.

We love doing our Pursuing Peace presentations and have done enough in a classroom setting to be very comfortable. Today we were taken out of our comfort zone. Even more importantly, however, we know that we can offer schools large presentations and use technology to do so. This adds the ICT capability to the others that we cover.

Rachel Gillespie

An introduction to me :)

rachel at GH.jpg

My name is Rachel Gillespie, and I am the director of the Abraham Institute, which I took over from the fabulous Kitty Goode in 2017.

I love the fact that I’m the director of an organisation that reinforces on a daily basis that we live in a state where it’s possible for any Australian to become whatever they want to, regardless of where they were born, what their first language was or what colour their skin is.

It is true, however, that many Australians live in a state of fear in relation to “The Other,” and politicians, the media and forces on social media often try to take advantage of that fear, and lead us into mistrusting one another. I believe that the Abraham Institute is one of many organisations that are working hard to combat that fear and mistrust.

We do so in the form of our P2 presentations, which can be used as an adjunct to any curricula or pastoral care topics that look at identity, cultural diversity, intercultural understanding, conflict and racism. As the facilitator, I liaise with school staff prior to a P2 presentation in order to pick activities that reinforce students’ learning outcomes, using informal education techniques, small group work activities and brainstorming solutions to problems caused by intercultural assumptions. I usually have three educators working with me. Each presentation is unique, depending on the wishes of the school.

We’ve had some wonderful feedback from the schools where we’ve presented and my favourite is this from Michael Mattei at Paralowie R - 12 School, “I would recommend this cultural diversity session to all Middle-High School sites in South Australia. You are promoting such a powerful message to all young Australians about acceptance and diversity. In our current world climate, this is the type of program which needs to be at the forefront of education.”

We love what we do and are very passionate about it so please contact us and we’ll answer any and all questions you may have about P2. 

Rachel Gillespie

Director

Abraham Institute