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Video clip synopsis – A teacher at a call centre college in India takes students through some general knowledge about 'Downunder Australia'.
Year of production - 2002
Duration - 1min 27sec
Tags - Asia, Australian culture, Diverted to Delhi, India, Screen Asia, colonialism, communication, exploitation, globalisation, identity, job satisfaction, language, values, see all tags

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An 'Australian Culture Capsule'

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About the Video Clip

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In this video clip see call centre trainees commute by motorbike to their call-centre training college in New Delhi. We then see a call centre training classroom. A teacher is taking post-graduate students through some general knowledge about 'Downunder Australia’ and is presenting iconic images to familiarise them with their customers’ country. An Australian businesswoman explains her goals in using call centre trainees for Australian wine sales.

This digital resource is from the project Screen Asia, a joint production of the Asia Education Foundation, Australian Children’s Television Foundation and Screen Australia Digital Learning. Click here for more digital resources for Asia.

An 'Australian Culture Capsule’ is an excerpt from the documentary Diverted to Delhi produced in 2002. Diverted to Delhi is a Greg Stitt Production, developed in association with the Australian Film Commission and financed with the assistance of the Australian Film Finance Corporation. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Curriculum Focus

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In the middle years of schooling, students can synthesise, analyse, reflect on and apply their learning to personal experiences of Asia in an increasingly independent way. They engage in cultural exchange, reflecting their enhanced understanding of their own culture, and their richer and broader framework of knowledge and understanding of Asian cultures. The aim is that students will increasingly empathise with people from different cultural backgrounds, and develop intercultural values and skills to participate in, learn from, contribute to and engage confidently in diverse cultural environments at home and abroad.

Asia Scope and Sequence: English, SOSE, The Arts

Australian Curriculum: English, History, Arts

All state and territory syllabuses for English, SOSE and Arts

Background Information

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This film clip is from Greg Stitt’s 2002 documentary Diverted to Delhi which explores the call centre industry. The documentary was filmed in call centre training colleges in Delhi, India. There are also interviews in Melbourne, Australia.

In the documentary, we see intensive training which changes the accents of trainees and immerses them into the perceived culture of the client’s country. Students will be able to step into the shoes of a trainee, empathise with them, and gain an increased understanding of the phenomenon of outsourcing communications. Diverted to Delhi also provides colourful images of ‘incredible India’.

This clip demonstrates aspects of 21st century global technologies and provides students with an opportunity to understand the impact of these technologies on society (National Goals of Schooling). Viewing this clip will assist students to understand Asia, to develop informed attitudes and values, to know about contemporary Asia, and to connect Australia and India (refer to National Statement for Engaging Students with the Studies of Asia).

Teachers familiar with the film Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle, will recall that the hero, Jamal, works in a call centre in Mumbai as a chai-wallah (tea person).

Classroom Activities

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Background preparation

For background preparation, students should create a ‘Fact File’ rubric of three columns. (Refer to page 50 in In our Own Backyard: Connecting to Global Issues in Our Region edited by Bronwyn Collie, published by Curriculum Corporation, 2006.)
Label your three columns ‘Feature of Comparison’, ‘India’ and ‘Australia’. To complete the rubric, research information for the following ‘features of comparison’ for both countries: Geographic area, Population, Government, Capital population, Dominant language, Other main languages, Main ethnic groups, Religions, Average income per day/year, Average life expectancy, National literacy rate, Major exports including any to India/Australia, Major imports including any from India/Australia, Cultural exchanges with India/Australia.

Activity 1: Individually or in a group, students are asked to research and write their responses to the following:

  1. List the elements included in the 'Australian Culture Capsule’ presented to the students by the two teachers. What do you think of the 'Australian Culture Capsule’? Are the images reasonable or are they stereotypical? Do you think it is appropriate to include a copy of the film The Castle in this capsule? Think about the language and slang.
  2. Create a photo-story of your own ‘Australian Culture Capsule’ which depicts your family culture in Australia. Does it have any similarity with the one used in the call centre training in India? Share it in class.
  3. Is this call centre job and its requirement to pretend to be another nationality similar to taking on a cyberspace identity, or an avatar identity? What are the similarities and differences?
  4. The Australian wine sales interviewee is pleased that her Indian employees telemarketing as Australians achieved very high sales. Is this ethical? Why?
  5. What values, or what inter-cultural understandings, should ideally underpin the actions of the operators of the companies out-sourcing telecommunications to India? Why?
  6. Create a PMI (plus/minus/interesting) diagram titled ‘My Call Centre Job’. Step into the shoes of an Indian graduate call centre worker and complete the PMI diagram. Draw from the other two video clips about this industry, as well as this one.
  7. Refer to the Kahootz 3 Xpression titled, Pen Pal Exchange. Write a story about a memorable experience you have had and share this with your imaginary pen pal in India. Develop this story into a Kahootz Xpression of your own.

Further Resources

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Diverted to Delhi Study Guide, Film Australia.

Adiga, A, 2008, The White Tiger, P127-128 Atlantic Books, London.

Collie, B, 2006, In our Own Backyard. Connecting to global issues in our region, Curriculum Corporation, Melbourne.

Collie, B, 2006, In our Own Backyard. Shifting Identities, Curriculum Corporation, Melbourne. (Ella and Josh’s dialogue about stereotypes on Page 24)

Hamston, J & Murdoch, K, 2004, Australia Kaleidoscope, Curriculum Corporation.

Kwok, J and McKnight L, 2002, Film Asia, Curriculum Corporation, Melbourne.

Ledger, S & Ledger R, 2005, Snapshots of India, Curriculum Corporation.

Swarap, V, 2005, 50,000 – How to Speak Australian in Slumdog Millionaire, Black Swan.

Tharoor, S, 2007, The Elephant, The Tiger and the Cellphone – Reflections on India, an emerging 21st century power, Arcade Publishing, New York.

Theroux, P, 2007, The Elephant God novella in The Elephanta Suite, Houghton Mifflin, New York.

Curriculum Corporation, 2004, Think English, Speak English in Popular Publishing, Voices and Visions from India: Texts for the Senior English Classroom CD Rom.

Curriculum Corporation, 2004, Crazy English in Visual and Performing Arts, Voices and Visions from China: Texts for the Senior English Classroom CD Rom.

Curriculum Corporation, 2004, Voices and Visions from India: Texts for the Senior English Classroom CD Rom.

Slumdog Millionaire, 2009, (Film) Directed by Danny Boyle, Fox Searchlight & Warner Brothers.