Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will take social action to increase other people’s understanding of the complex issue of homelessness. They will refresh their memories by viewing the Life After The Oasis trailer and establish an understanding of the intention of the filmmakers in creating the documentary. Students will then view a TEDtalk that discusses how to best inspire or compel an audience to take action, before forming small groups and planning an action to encourage more people to watch the Life After The Oasis documentary film. Students will carry out their action, then reflect on the potential impact of communication by responding in writing to a reflective 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 that language can compel action. 
  • Students work in groups to plan and carry out an action.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 English

  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features (ACELY1746)
  • Review and edit students’ own and others’ texts to improve clarity and control over content, organisation, paragraphing, sentence structure, vocabulary and audio/visual features (ACELY1747)

Year 10 English

  • Create sustained texts, including texts that combine specific digital or media content, for imaginative, informative, or persuasive purposes that reflect upon challenging and complex issues (ACELY1756)
  • Review, edit and refine students’ own and others’ texts for control of content, organisation, sentence structure, vocabulary, and/or visual features to achieve particular purposes and effects (ACELY1757)

Syllabus outcomes: EN5-1A, EN5-2A

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

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students understand how to use a variety of language features to create different levels of meaning. They understand how interpretations can vary by comparing their responses to texts to the responses of others. In creating texts, students demonstrate how manipulating language features and images can create innovative texts. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, comparing and evaluating responses to ideas and issues. They edit for effect, selecting vocabulary and grammar that contribute to the precision and persuasiveness of texts and using accurate spelling and punctuation.

Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards: Students show how the selection of language features can achieve precision and stylistic effect. They explain different viewpoints, attitudes and perspectives through the development of cohesive and logical arguments. They develop their own style by experimenting with language features, stylistic devices, text structures and images. Students create a wide range of texts to articulate complex ideas. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, building on others’ ideas, solving problems, justifying opinions and developing and expanding arguments. They demonstrate understanding of grammar, vary vocabulary choices for impact, and accurately use spelling and punctuation when creating and editing texts.

Topic: Social Issues

Unit of work: Life After The Oasis – English – Years 9 & 10

Time required:  120+ mins. This lesson could be delivered over one to two sessions.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion and support students in planning and delivering social action.

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 Australia’s Homelessness And Young People Factsheet (printed, one per student). Other resources will be dependent on the action students decide to take. 

Keywords: Homelessness, homeless, lived experience, youth, social action, communication, language, persuasive language, 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 that language can compel action.
  • ... work in groups to plan and carry out an action.

Success criteria: Students can …

  • ... make language choices to compel others to act
  • ... plan and carry out social action to increase awareness of the complex issue of homelessness.

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 no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or
  • does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for soci
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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Documentary films can educate, entertain and make significant social impact.

Think – Pair – Share

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

  • "After watching Life After The Oasis, has your understanding of homelessness changed? If so, how ... if not, why not?"
Think Pair Share

The Audience, Medium & Message

When planning your action, you will need to make choices about the audience, the medium and the message. 

The Audience – Who are you communicating with?
Your ‘why’ will need to be created with your audience in mind. Use the following prompts to get you thinking about your audience.

  • Will you encourage other students to watch the film with a group of friends?
  • OR try to convince teachers to show the film to their class?
  • OR as a whole year level or school?
  • OR will you ask your peers to watch the film with their families at home?
  • What other audiences are available to you?


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