29 August, 2018 Community

China cultural exchange at St Michael’s

On Friday 17 August, St Michael’s hosted 33 students, 3 teachers, 6 parents and 34 principals from schools across China. The visit was facilitated by the Victorian Government and Asia Pacific Source Pty Ltd to promote cultural exchange between Australia and China.

Ms Helen Schiele, Director of Pedagogical Pathways and Senior Advisor (School Improvement) to Independent Schools Victoria, recommended St Michael’s as an exemplary independent co-educational school.

Just like new students to St Michael’s are provided the opportunity to spend a day with a buddy in the School before they start the following year, our visiting Chinese students all paired up with a St Michael’s buddy and spent the day in our Years 3, 4 and 5 classes experiencing what it would be like to be a St Michael’s student.

The students joined in Maths, Japanese and French classes, made masks as part of a Year 4 investigation into animals, participated in a Physical Education class, looked at the life cycles of different animals in Year 4, created a treasure map in Year 5 and finished they day cooking ANZAC Biscuits in Food Technology.

The day was all about sharing of two cultures, which culminated in a lunchtime dance performance. Our Years 3 and 4 boys Hip Hop Club performed a routine before we were treated to four amazing dance performances by our guests.


The day provided a fantastic opportunity for our students to experience the enjoyments and challenges of intercultural communication. Some of our students who learn Mandarin took the opportunity to hone their skills but language proved no barrier to others having fun and making friends. The day was a unique chance to showcase our Australian approach to education and, in turn, for our Chinese guests to demonstrate their own learning and skillsDeputy Head of the School, Mr Gerard Houlihan

It was great to see our students taking their ‘buddy’ responsibilities very seriously making sure their buddy knew where they were going, proudly showing off the School to the visitors.

Whilst the students spent the day in classes, the 34 principals toured the School with Deputy Head, Mr Gerard Houlihan, Associate Head (Teaching and Learning), Mr Tim Dorning and Director of Operations K-12, Mr Andy Smith. The principals were particularly interested in meeting our staff and witnessing learning taking place in a range of environments, commenting on the quality and diverse range of opportunities and facilities for teaching and learning.

At the conclusion of the day, Mr Houlihan attended the ‘Crossing Cultures’ dinner at the Sheraton Hotel.

China cultural exchange at St Michael’s

“The dinner saw a select group of Australian educators networking with 40 principals from schools across the Independent sector in China,” said Mr Houlihan. “The purpose being to learn from one another, celebrate diversity and explore opportunities for future collaboration.”“A number of cultural exchange and language learning possibilities have already been raised including Mandarin language classes, online learning, performing and visual arts tours, and student/teacher exchanges.”We are particularly interested in seeing where this new partnership will go, and discovering opportunities for further cultural exchange for both students and staff.