Activity Introduction

muzza-sleeping-photoframeQuick summary: Through viewing Beau’s story, students gain insights into the situations and events that can lead to people experiencing poverty and homelessness. Students investigate the terms precariousness and poverty, and how the two concepts can be linked. Students investigate the causes, effects and issues surrounding poverty as it is experienced in Australia through the comprehension and analysis of two separate media reports on the issue. Students then apply their understanding of the precariousness of poverty by considering Beau’s experience and demonstrate their understanding by writing and producing a voiceover that narrates his experiences.

Key ideas to explore:

  • Relative poverty is the commonly experienced form of poverty in Australia.
  • Poverty is something that can be experienced by anyone and can sometimes be beyond the control of the individual experiencing it.
  • Many people are precariously close to experiencing poverty and can fall into it as a result of numerous different challenging situations.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Learning area: English

Content descriptions:

Year 9 English

  • Understand that authors innovate with text structures and language for specific purposes and effects (ACELA1553)
  • Identify how vocabulary choices contribute to specificity, abstraction and stylistic effectiveness (ACELA1561)
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and analyse texts, comparing and evaluating representations of an event, issue, situation or character in different texts (ACELY1744)

Year 10 English

  • Evaluate the impact on audiences of different choices in the representation of still and moving images (ACELA1572)
  • Compare and evaluate how ‘voice’ as a literary device can be used in a range of different types of texts such as poetry to evoke particular emotional responses (ACELT1643)
  • Use comprehension strategies to compare and contrast information within and between texts, identifying and analysing embedded perspectives, and evaluating supporting evidence (ACELY1754)

Year 11 English

Unit 1 

  • explaining the ways text structures, language features and stylistic choices are used in different types of texts (ACEEN005)
  • analysing how vocabulary, idiom and rhetoric are used for different purposes and contexts (ACEEN006)
  • drawing on a range of technologies in, for example, research, communication and representation of ideas (ACEEN012)
  • using evidence-based argument (ACEEN014)

Unit 2

  • analysing the ways language features, text structures and stylistic choices shape points of view and influence audiences (ACEEN024)
  • the impact of language and structural choices on shaping own and others’ perspectives (ACEEN028)
  • selecting and applying appropriate textual evidence to support arguments (ACEEN035)
  • using accurate spelling, punctuation, syntax and metalanguage (ACEEN037)

Year 12 English

Unit 3

  • making innovative and imaginative use of language features (ACEEN051)
  • using and experimenting with text structures and language features related to specific genres for particular effects (ACEEN052)
  • sustaining analysis and argument (ACEEN053)
  • explaining how meaning changes when texts are transformed into a different genre or medium(ACEEN058)

Unit 4

  • analysing content, purpose and choice of language (ACEEN063)
  • analysing the use of voice and point of view such as in feature articles, reporting of current events or narration (ACEEN064)
  • exploring other interpretations and aspects of context to develop a considered response.(ACEEN065)
  • using appropriate language and stylistic features to sustain a personal voice and point of view (ACEEN069)

Syllabus OutcomesEN5-1A, EN5-2A.

General capabilitiesCritical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding, Literacy.

Topic: THE OASIS, Social Issues

Unit of work: THE OASIS – English

Time required: 120 min (or 2 x 60 mins).

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Pieces of paper and a hat/container. Voice recorder (smartphone, tablet or computer software). Access to THE OASIS documentary on VimeoSMH Opinion Piece, ABC Online News Article.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities. Using ICT to communicate. Using ICT to display thinking.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension and may require completion of activities at home.

Keywords: House, home, homelessness, youth, THE OASIS, poverty, poverty line, narrative, narrative voice, tone, story telling.

Acknowledgement: This resource has been adapted from ‘Teaching Social Issues Through English’ developed with the English Teachers Association NSW and the ‘Youth Homelessness Matters Resource’ developed by Janice Atkin. You can find these resources here.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

owen-alley-photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students develop skills in the analysis of texts, including documentary and media texts. They will read, view and listen to public documents examining and reflecting on the intentions behind these texts. They understand that there can be a link between life events, poverty and homelessness.

Teacher content information: This lesson is based on THE OASIS documentary, which raises awareness of youth homelessness, celebrates the resilience of young people who are experiencing homelessness in Australia and empowers the next generation of young people to take action to prevent youth homelessness in the future.

Young people often become homeless because of family breakdown, often stemming from parental conflicts or a collapse of their relationship with a husband/wife or partner. Some young people who are living independently become homeless because they can’t afford living expenses such as rent. Being homeless is unsafe, unhealthy and very str

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Once poverty is gone, we’ll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations. They’ll wonder why poverty continued so long in human society – how a few people could live in luxury while billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and despair”– Muhammad Yunus

1. What does precarious even mean? Note down the definition your class came up with.

2. What did your class decide poverty could be described as?

3. After reading and analysing these articles, list the causes and effects of poverty that are detailed in each:

Millions of Australians struggling to survive below the poverty line, Salvation Army survey finds:

One million Australians living in poverty- it’s just not good enough:

Article title: "Mill
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