Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will complete a Think-Pair-Share visible thinking routine to establish what they know about the link between homelessness and human rights. They will read a section of the Human Rights And Equal Opportunity Commission’s 2008 Paper, Homelessness Is A Human Rights Issue, then reframe their thoughts on the link. Students will watch a short clip from Life After The Oasis and make assertions about the experiences of Haley. They will then participate in a Socratic Seminar activity to explore the impact that media representations of homelessness can have on government policy around the issue. Students will reflect on their learning by responding in writing to a reflection prompt. 

Life After The Oasis is a 75 minute documentary that explores the issues, interventions and mindsets associated with youth homelessness in Australia. The film revisits characters and stories from the original 2008 documentary The Oasis, and how opportunities and experiences have shaped their lives over the last ten years. Find out how to screen or view the film here.

Warning: The documentary and the clips contained in this lesson, contains explicit language, images of drug use and confronting scenes and may upset some viewers. Teachers should use their personal discretion when showing the documentary. This resource deals with the rising problem of youth homelessness and its associated social and personal issues. There may be students in your class who have experienced some of the issues discussed. You are encouraged to arrive at a set of agreements and ground rules for discussion with your class about the best way to approach the issues being covered in a way that recognises the dignity of our fellow classmates. Click here for tips on setting ground rules for class discussions and here for advice on how to handle sensitive topics and controversial issues in your classroom.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand the role that the media plays in influencing public opinion on social issues.
  • Students understand that citizens can influence government policies on social issues.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 Civics and Citizenship

  • How citizens’ political choices are shaped, including the influence of the media (ACHCK076)
  • The influence of a range of media, including social media, in shaping identities and attitudes to diversity (ACHCK080)
  • Critically evaluate information and ideas from a range of sources in relation to civics and citizenship topics and issues (ACHCS084)

General capabilities: LiteracyEthical Understanding, Critical and Creative ThinkingPersonal and social capability,

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students identify and analyse the influences on people’s political choices. They analyse a range of factors that influence identities and attitudes to diversity. Students compare and account for different interpretations and points of view on civics and citizenship issues.

Topic: Social Issues

Unit of work: Life After The Oasis – Civics & Citizenship

Time required: 90 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – facilitate class discussion and Socratic Seminar.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Handling Sensitive Topics And Controversial Issues Factsheet (Optional). Homelessness Is A Human Rights Issue Factsheet – one per student. Article: Media Lead Beat-Up Of Homeless, Bad Government Policy Follows – one per student. 

Keywords: Homelessness, youth, human rights, media, government, choice, policy, society, Socratic Seminar, The Oasis.

Shark Island Productions and Cool Australia would like to acknowledge the generous contribution of The Caledonia Foundation to the development of these resources.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will ... 

  • ... understand the role that the media plays in influencing public opinion on social issues.
  • ... understand that citizens can influence government policies on social issues.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... describe the link between homelessness and human rights.
  • ... make connections between how the media represents the issue of homelessness and the way the issue is addressed by democratically elected governments.

Teacher content information: On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 people are experiencing homelessness. This alarming statistic raises many questions about homelessness in Australia and what is being done by government and non-government institutions to combat the problem. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines a person to be homeless when they do not have suitable accommodation alternatives and their current living arrangement:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or
  • has
- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Governments pay attention to what is in the media, and what is being said. It is a gauge of what is in the public perception and how things will be perceived.


Complete the Think-Pair-Share visible thinking routine in response to the prompt below:

  • "Homelessness and human rights...what is the link?"
Think Pair Share


Haley's Experience

Hayley's Story (

After watching the clip from Life After The Oasis, reflect on Haley’s experiences, paying special attention to what they now know about the link between human rights and homelessness. Write your response in the space below:


Socratic Seminar 

After completing the Socratic Seminar activity, reflect on your own accomplishments by responding to the questions below:

1. At any point, did the seminar revert to something other than a shared conversation? If so, how did the group handle this?

2. What evidence did you see o

- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.