Indigenous Literature: Butterflies


A lesson plan for working with Patricia Grace's Butterflies focussing on cultural differences and understanding. This is particularly related to the following competency goal from Kommunikasjon og Samhandling: grunngi og vurdere eigne haldningar og veremåtar når omsorg og utvikling hos brukaren er målet, uavhengig av kultur, religion, livsførsel og funksjonsnivå hos den andre

Goal: Students will gain an understanding of different cultures value different things and that this can lead to misunderstandings when cultures meet.

Students will read a text, discuss and write a short text in response. The short story Butterflies is published in many of the available textbooks. A link to an online version is also provided.

At the end of this lesson: I will have thought about that different cultures value things differently.





5 min

Read the goals

We are going to read and briefly analyse a short story to consider the cultural issues raised.

So that you know what we are aiming to achieve.

5 min

Think about what butterflies mean to you.

Make a mindmap with the word “Butterflies”. Write down the things you associate with this word.

To consider how you view butterflies in your culture.

5 min

Read Butterflies

Read the story to yourself.


20 min

Think about how the characters are presented and the story is told.

Answer the questions at the bottom of this sheet.

To help you understand the story

10 min

Discuss the twist in this short story

In a short story something unexpected usually happens. What is the twist in this story?

To consider the text as a short story

10 min

Consider cultural differences

Have a look again at your mindmap about butterflies. Are your associations effected by your culture? Discuss with a partner and make a mindmap that the girl in the story might have made.

To consider the idea that different cultures see things differently.

30 min

Write a letter/email to the teacher in the story

Pretend that you are an educated aunty that has come to visit and heard this story. Write an email to the teacher explaining the cultural differences and the importance of considering a child’s cultural background when assessing their work.

To think about how important it is that we understand that other cultures value things differently, particularly in the role of an educator.

5 min


Have you achieved the goals?

So that you know if you’ve achieved what we aimed for.

1.How do the grandparents feel about their granddaughter going to school?

2. Do you think the grandparents have an education? What makes you think this? (Hint: look at their language)

3. What had the girl written about at school?

4. How did the teacher react to her story?

5. Why do you think the teacher reacted this way?

6. How would you react to a child writing about killing butterflies?

7. What does the grandfather mean with his final remark?

8. Why do the grandparents think that it is good to kill butterflies?

Students can be evaluated on the text they have written. They can also use this story as a starting point for reflection on how they show cultural understanding at their work experience placement.