Discussion of the topic
In your preparation material, you are asked to read the texts included and reflect on a discussion about diversity in English-speaking countries.
The discussion in the preparation material explores cultural diversity in English-speaking countries in different contexts. In this context, diversity refers to when a community such as a country includes people of many cultural and racial backgrounds: immigrants, people of different skin colours, religions, or sexual orientation.
Be mindful that cultural diversity can develop in different areas such as arts, sports, local communities, or the job market. In each area, cultural diversity has its benefits and challenges.
In the workplace, regulations and good practices should bring people of different cultural backgrounds together, provided that both employers and employees respect them. But challenges can arise because of different level of English language knowledge between employees. The preparation material also talks about other potential challenges for people who belong to minorities in English speaking countries. They can also be targets of discrimination, sexual harassment, and suffer exploitation.
You can also reflect on the following aspects which are not mentioned in the preparation material:
Supporters of cultural diversity (sometimes referred to as multiculturalism) say that culturally diverse societies are more creative, give people more freedom, and can become more economically developed because they bring together different ideas and influences. One success story of cultural diversity has been the creation of the United States, which at its origins was formed by migrants with different cultural backgrounds from across the world.
However, some people tend to focus on the challenges of cultural diversity. These people argue that cultural diversity threatens national identities or that it leads to more racial tensions and prejudices rather than integration and cooperation. For example, the Brexit vote has been viewed as a failure of cultural diversity in Britain as a number of Britons voted to leave the EU because they wanted fewer immigrants in their country (among other reasons).
Text 1: A Brief Guide to Health and Safety in the Workplace
Text 1 is a non-fiction text which provides a list of duties, rights, and responsibilities for both employers and employees.
The text also includes two Simpsons comic cartoons. The first image shows a man explaining to three employees how to carry boxes correctly; two employees do it correctly while the other does it wrong and hurts himself. The second cartoon shows a man talking about safety responsibilities in the workplace, but the three employees are either asleep or not paying attention.
The first list includes employers’ duties. Among others, the list mentions: making sure workplaces are not life-threatening; taking measures to minimize risks in the workplace; implementing good work practices that reduce health risks but also avoid harmful behaviour such as discrimination and bullying; and offering employees all the safety information and equipment they need.
The second list includes employees’ rights and responsibilities. Some of the rights are: having access to a safe and healthy work environment; the right to leave work in case of safety issues; and access to training.
Employees’ responsibilities include: respecting safety guidelines; following hygiene rules; and reporting any illness or potential safety risk.
Text 2: Failure to communicate? Company offers lessons on overcoming language barriers in the workplace
Text 2 is a non-fiction text, an adapted version of an article written by Anthony Salamone. The text explores ways to overcome language barriers in the workplace.
The writer looks at the example of a company who has employees from different countries around the world. To deal with the potential language challenges created by a multi-ethnic work environment, the company uses pictures and simple instructions.
Another way to deal with language barriers is to offer employees English-language training. The article includes the example of a trainer who teaches basic work-related English to company employees. According to the trainer, such courses help increase productivity, reduce the risk of accidents, and encourage employees to stay with a company.
Text 3: Workplace diversity
Text 3 is an image that describes what workplace diversity is and how it can benefit Australian employers.
According to the text, workplace diversity refers to having employees from different backgrounds and providing everyone with a chance to get employed or promoted.
Statistics show that 30% of Australian organizations employ Aboriginals, 26% employ people with disabilities, and 66% employ people from different cultural backgrounds.
According to the text, workplace diversity has a number of benefits for employers such as having access to a bigger number of potential employees, more flexible work practices, improved reputation, and better morale among employees.
Text 4: Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster: ‘When I’m racially abused, I just want to be left alone’
Text 4 is an adapted version of an article by Daniel Taylor. The text explores racial discrimination in sports.
The article conveys the details of an interview with Rhian Brewster, a top Liverpool player in the Under 17 category. In the interview, Brewster speaks up against racial discrimination, encouraged by his parents and the football club.
He recalls a team-mate being called names by players in Spain’s Under 17 team, but also how he was the target of bullying and racism while playing with the Russian team Spartak Moscow. As punishment for Brewster being insulted, UEFA demanded that Spartak Moscow’s next game be played with 500 empty seats where an “Equal Game” banner would be shown. Brewster argues that such reprisals are not good enough and that UEFA is doing very little to prevent discrimination in sports.
The young footballer explains how he tries to detach from a situation in which he is discriminated against. Furthermore, Brewster appreciates the fact that he has not encountered racism in his own team and attributes this to the fact that the team is ethnically diverse, unlike teams in other countries.
Text 5: Breaking cultural barriers through sports
Text 5 is a non-fiction text about young immigrants in Canada being able to get involved in sports.
According to the text, Newcomer Programs help young immigrants to integrate in their community via sports activities. According to the director of the Newcomer Programs, Lisa Bamford, this initiative is not only about access to sports but also about tackling the language and cultural barriers. She explains that young newcomers to Canada face many challenges in terms of making friends and adapting to the new country.
Bamford describes how immigrants are unfamiliar with winter sports, which are a big part of Canadian culture. As such, they cannot easily connect with locals who usually talk about sports like ice hockey.
Through the program, young people get access to sports equipment and can try out a variety of sports. The program also covers registration fees and transportation to the sports location.
The program also has benefits for parents as they get involved with sports through their children. At the same time, those in the program can later become mentors for new generations of immigrants. Bamford believes sports are a great way of bringing together people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Text 6: Cartoons
Text 6 includes three black and white cartoons about speaking English.
Cartoon A shows a man asking people to say ‘Yes’ if they think English should be the official language of the US. The people answer ‘Yes’ in their native languages.
Cartoon B shows two English-speaking hikers walking into a nuclear waste area. The hikers are warned by a sign written in French, which they don’t understand. One of them argues that if the sign is not written in English it is not important.
Cartoon C shows a group of people talking about the English language. One of them argues that immigrants should learn English because this is what people should do when they go to a new country – learn the language of the land. One person starts speaking Cherokee (a language spoken by Native Americans) and no one understands her.
Text 7: “Time for Love”
Text 7 is a free-verse poem by contemporary artist and poet Sean Lìonadh.
The poem follows a lyrical speaker who walks hand in hand with another boy. Some people smile at them, but others frown upon their action of being open about their sexual orientation.
The lyrical speaker thinks about how to say goodbye to his friend: thorough a kiss on the cheek, a hug, or a kiss on the mouth. He fears kissing his partner in public will make people who consider themselves normal judge him. He gives two examples of normal people such as the couple who will forever be changed by a miscarriage or the old man who buys used underwear from the internet.
The speaker concludes normality is a fantasy. However, he knows that people will still be disgusted and argue that they don’t want to see gay people kissing in front of their children. He also thinks about how religion is used as an argument against being gay, becoming an instrument of hate rather than love.
The poem ends with the speaker admitting he is scared, trying to find the courage to kiss his partner goodbye, thinking about what it means to be human without fear of being judged.
The text includes a link to a video of the poem, in which the characters kiss in the end.
Text 8: “The Painting”
Text 8 is a fiction text written by Bruce Chatwin. “The Painting” is a chapter from the book The Songlines which combines fiction and nonfiction. The action of the book is set during a trip to Australia in which the main character has various conversations with Aboriginals.
“The Painting” follows Winston Japurula, an artist who recently finished a painting and is waiting for the representative of the Aboriginal Arts Bureau to come and buy it.
When the art dealer, Mrs Houston comes, she asks Winston to bring out the painting. She requested the painting to be themed white, and she is impressed by the work, thinking about where she will exhibit it. However, she also scolds Winston for not using a type of paint she bought and for the painting having a tear.
Mrs Houston then asks Winston to tell her the story of the painting, a story she needs to sell it. She pushes Winston until they come up with a story about an old man walking on salt-pans and taking a mild plant narcotic. She transforms the story into one about the Ancestral man.
The two negotiate the price. Mrs Huston paid a 200 dollar advance for it. Given that the painting needs restoring and that she paid 500 dollars for Winston’s previous painting, she offers to give him another 300 dollars. She also wants to take a new photo of Winston for the exhibition.
Winston refuses and demands more money. After saying nothing for a while, he demands 6,000 dollars. Mrs Huston is shocked by the huge difference and cannot understand why the painter asks so much. Winston reveals that he knows she is selling one of his paintings in Adelaide for 7,000 dollars.
You can read a more in-depth summary and analysis of the story in our focused study guide for “The Painting” .
Answer either 1A or 1B.
Text 6 of the preparation material has three cartoons about English as a world language.
Write a short text in which you explain and give your opinion on the views expressed in two of the cartoons.
On the next page you will find two conversations between Fred and John and their employer at their work placement. Both of these young men want to be accepted for an apprenticeship, but only one place is available.
Read the conversations and write a short text about which of the two young men you would give the apprenticeship to. Compare both the language they use and their attitudes in your answer.
The following tasks are based on your preparation topic “Diversity in English-speaking countries”.
Answer either 2A, 2B, 2C, or 2D.
In the preparation material you have read about some of the benefits and challenges of diversity.
Create a text discussing the challenges and positive experiences that people who are in a minority in English-speaking countries may encounter. In your text, you may refer to the preparation material and/or a film or literary text you have studied.
Give your text a suitable title.
Create a text about health and safety in the profession you are aiming for and how diversity in the workplace can affect safety and the work environment. You should include these points:
· Information about the profession you are aiming for
· An explanation of important health and safety rules and routines in your profession
· An explanation of how diversity in the workplace can affect safety and the work environment
· Your thoughts about diversity in the workplace
Give your text a suitable title.
“On the sports field or on the stage, there is no black or white, no gay or straight, no rich or poor, just the joy of being out there doing your best”.
Using this statement as your starting point, create a text discussing diversity in sports and culture. Use examples from English-speaking countries and ideas from the preparation material in your text.
Give your text a suitable title.
Create a text discussing prejudice against minorities in English-speaking countries. Use “Time for Love” (Text 7) or “The Painting” (Text 8) from the preparation material and another text or film you have worked with during your course in your discussion.
Give your text a suitable title.