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Introduction to belonging activities

This material was prepared by Eve Mayes, Condell Park High School.

Prescription statements
Resources on the internet
Belonging definitions
Key vocabulary to use as you study belonging
Circles of belonging

Group work

Holding hands

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Prescription statements

English as a Second Language

Language Study Within An Area Of Study

The Language Study within an Area of Study builds on and extends the development of skills in responding and composing undertaken in the Preliminary course. Students' language skills, knowledge and understanding are reinforced and extended as they respond to and compose longer, more sustained and more complex texts at and beyond the literal level and further develop their understanding of the ways in which meaning is shaped in and through texts.

In the Area of Study students explore and examine relationships between language and text, and interrelationships among texts. They examine closely the individual qualities of texts while considering the texts' relationships to the wider context of the Area of Study. They synthesise ideas to clarify meaning and develop new meanings. They take into account whether aspects such as context, purpose and register, text structures, stylistic features, grammatical features and vocabulary are appropriate to the particular text. (Reread English Stage 6 Syllabus,pp.72-73.)

AREA OF STUDY: Belonging

This Area of Study requires students to explore the ways in which the concept of belonging is considered and expressed in and through texts. Through close language study, and by experimenting with different language choices, students will examine how perceptions of belonging, or not belonging, vary.

Perceptions of belonging are shaped within personal, cultural, historical and social contexts. A sense of belonging can emerge from the connections made with people, places, groups, communities and the larger world. Within this Area of Study, students may consider aspects of belonging in terms of experiences and notions of identity, relationships, acceptance and understanding.

Texts explore many aspects of belonging, including the potential of the individual to enrich or challenge a community or group. They may reflect the way attitudes to belonging are modified over time. Texts may also reflect choices not to belong, or barriers which prevent belonging.

Perceptions and ideas of belonging in texts can be constructed through a variety of language modes, forms, features and structures. In engaging with the text, a responder may experience and understand the possibilities presented by a sense of belonging to, or exclusion from, the text and the world it represents. This engagement may be influenced by the different ways perspectives are given voice in or are absent from a text.

In their responses and compositions students examine, question, reflect and speculate on the concept of belonging. They explore:

  • how the concept of belonging is conveyed through the representations of people, relationships, ideas, places, events, and societies that they encounter in the prescribed text and texts of their own choosing
  • the underlying assumptions which shape those representations
  • how the composer's choice of language modes, forms, features and structures shapes and is shaped by, a sense of belonging or of not belonging
  • the ways in which they perceive the world through texts
  • the ways in which this study may broaden and deepen their understanding of themselves and the world
  • the connections between and among texts in their representations of the concept of belonging.

English Stage 6, Prescriptions: Area of Study Electives and Texts,
Higher School Certificate, 2009 and 2012.p.24 ©Board of Studies, NSW 2007

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Resources on the internet

The belonging.org website (http://www.belonging.org/ (external website)) is part of an exhibition including the State Library of New South Wales (external website), State Library of Victoria (external website), National Archives of Australia (external website) and the National Library of Australia (external website) for the Centenary of Federation (external website). There is a range of useful texts that could be used as an introduction to belonging and/ or as related texts.

There is a range of film texts on Screen Australia's website (http://dl.screenaustralia.gov.au/tag/belonging/ (external website)) related to the concept of belonging. A range of activities are suggested for each clip.

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'Belonging' definitions (NOUN)

Look at the following definitions of belonging and complete the activities below or download this activity as an interactive PDF form.

Be-long-ing n.

  1. Acceptance as a natural member or part: "I felt a sense of belonging"; happiness felt in a secure relationship; "with his classmates he felt a sense of belonging".
  2. A personal item that one owns; a possession. Often used in the plural.

Write a sentence using the word 'belonging' according to the 1st definition.

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Write a sentence using the word 'belonging' according to the 2nd definition.

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'Belong' definitions (VERB)

Be-long v.

  1. be owned by; be in the possession of; "This book belongs to me."
  2. be suitable or acceptable; "This student somehow doesn't belong."
  3. be in the right place or situation; "Where do these books belong?"; "Let's put health care where it belongs--under the control of the government."
  4. be rightly classified in a class or category; "The whales belong among the mammals."
  5. be a member, adherent, inhabitant, etc. (of a group, organization, or place); "They belong to the same political party."
  6. belong to: be a part or adjunct; "the uniform looks like it belonged to a museum collection"; "These pages don't belong."

Write a sentence using the word 'belonging' according to the 1st definition.

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Write a sentence using the word 'belonging' according to the 2nd definition.

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Write a sentence using the word 'belonging' according to the 3rd definition.

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Related Words

Belongings - property: something owned; any tangible or intangible possession that is owned by someone; "that hat is my belonging"; "he has many belongings".[ from wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn (external website)]

reading place

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Belongingness - the need to be a part or member of a group, whether it is family, friends, career, or sports affiliations. Humans have an inherent desire to belong and be an important part of something. A motive to belong is the need for strong, stable relationships with other people.
[ from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belongingness (external website) ]

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Key vocabulary to use in your study of belonging

Look at the list of words related to belonging.

The "Red light" words are important to know to write well on belonging. "Amber light" words are reasonably important. "Green light" words are good to know to enhance your response.

Look up and learn any words that you are unfamiliar with. You may want to make the commitment to learning two new words a day.

RED LIGHT - You HAVE to know these words and what they mean

Words from the Syllabus rubric: Synonyms for belonging (nouns):
Acceptance
Assumptions
Barriers
Challenge
Connections
Constructed
Contexts
Enrich
Identity
Perceptions
Perspectives
Potential
Relationships
Representations
Understanding
Vary
Conformity (negative connotations)
Harmony
Inclusion
Security
Solidarity
Unity

Antonyms for belonging (nouns):

Alienation
Division
Exclusion
Isolation
Loneliness
Separation

AMBER LIGHT - You SHOULD know these words and what they mean

Synonyms for belonging (nouns): Antonyms for belonging (nouns):
Accord
Allegiance
Association
Attachment
Cohesion
Companionship
Devotion
Fellowship
Fellow feeling
Kinship
Loyalty
Morale
Refuge
Similitude
Stability
Synchronisation
Sympathy
Union
Anxiety
Conflict
Discontentment
Dislocation
Displacement
Insecurity
Opposition
Resistance
Seclusion
Segregation
Solitary status
Withdrawal

GREEN LIGHT - It's GOOD for you to know these words

Belonging related words(nouns): Words related to antonyms for belonging (nouns):
Affiliation
Affinity
Allegiance
Alliance
Camaraderie
Concord
Duty
Devotion
Enclosure
Esprit de corps
Fealty
Fidelity
Fraternity
Homogenous
Loyalty
Rapport
Unanimity
Aggression
Animosity
Antagonism
Antipathy
Disaffection
Disarray
Discord
Elimination
Enmity
Estrangement
Hostility
Remoteness
Rupture

Download a PDF poster of these tables.

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Circles of belonging

Consider who you feel a closest sense of belonging to. Label the concentric circles below, with the person you feel the closest sense of belonging to at the centre.

You may want to consider people/ groups/ communities including:
Friends, family, your self, gym, religion, club, work colleagues, sports team, online community…

circle of belonging

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Group work

Experience what it means to not belong to increase your ability to write empathetically about belonging.

This activity can be done in groups to help you experience different aspects of the belonging rubric statements. One student from each group should nominate themselves to be given the blue sticker (or equivalent). Individuals with blue stickers should leave the classroom while the instructions are given to the rest of the people in the group. This activity should be followed by discussion and journal reflection.

  1. Connections made with people - appearance

    Belonging Idea: A person may belong, or not belong, to a group based on appearance.

    Method: When the person with the blue sticker returns to your group, inadvertently stare at their left shoulder when you interact with them. Your discussion can be about anything but you must continuously stare at their left shoulder. (5 minutes)

    After: Discuss how each of you reacted to the situation. What behaviours were exhibited by the ones who belonged compared to the one who was made to feel as though they didn't belong?

    Begin your answer with, "I perceived that the person with the blue sticker felt…"

    Write a reflection on your feelings during this activity. Make sure you include feeling/ thinking verbs and detailed description. Use the words 'perceive' and 'perception' in your reflection.

  2. Connections made with people - cultural identity - language

    Belonging Idea: A person may belong, or not belong, to a group based on understanding of language.

    Method: When the person with the blue sticker returns to your group, speak in 'gibberish' to each other giving the impression that you are having a meaningful discussion. You can speak to that person in gibberish too but you must show that you don't understand what they are saying.

    After: Discuss how each of you reacted to the situation. What behaviours were exhibited by the ones who belonged compared to the one who was made to feel as though they didn't belong?

    Begin your answer with, "I perceived that the person with the blue sticker felt…"

    Write a reflection on your feelings during this activity. Make sure you include feeling/ thinking verbs and detailed description. Use the words 'perceive' and 'perception' in your reflection.

  3. Connections with place - an historical context

    Belonging Idea: A person may belong, or not belong, to a group based on their shared experience of a place.

    Method: When the person with the blue sticker returns to your group, you are having an in depth conversation about a fictitious café that you have all been going to for a very long time; you share a history with this place. You can share your memories of this place together with fondness. Any attempts of shared experience by the person with the blue sticker should be refuted with, "No. That's not the café…"

    After: Discuss how each of you reacted to the situation. What behaviours were exhibited by the ones who belonged compared to the one who was made to feel as though they didn't belong?

    Begin your answer with, "I perceived the person with the blue sticker felt…"

    Write a reflection on your feelings during this activity. Make sure you include feeling/ thinking verbs and detailed description. Use the words 'perceive' and 'perception' in your reflection.

  4. Connections with people through a social context

    Belonging Idea: A person may belong, or not belong, to a group based on the social interactions of a group.

    Method: When the person with the blue sticker returns to your group, you all exhibit the same physical behaviour simultaneously. For example, you all have your right leg crossed over your left leg. Then you might all choose to scratch your left arm simultaneously etc.

    As soon as the person with the blue sticker attempts to mimic you, change the physical behaviour.

    After: Discuss how each of you reacted to this situation. What behaviours were exhibited by the ones who belonged compared to the one who was made to feel as though they didn't belong?

    Begin your answers with, "I perceived the person with the blue sticker felt…"

    Write a reflection on your feelings during this activity. Make sure you include feeling/ thinking verbs and detailed description. Use the words 'perceive' and 'perception' in your reflection.

Download this activity as a PDF.

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