Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this Tuning In Lesson, students will work in small groups to brainstorm a common understanding of society and its purpose. They will watch a short clip to introduce the concept of institutions of society, then work in groups to identify the various institutions in Australian society. Students view an excerpt from Life After The Oasis and make connections between the issue of youth homelessness and instances of when societal institutions do not support individuals to meet Australian society’s common goals. Students reflect on their learning about social institutions with the “I used to think….Now I think” reflection tool.

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 concept of society.
  • Students can name at least five societal institutions.
  • Students understand the impact that societal institutions can have on individuals.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 Civics and Citizenship

  • Recognise and consider multiple perspectives and ambiguities, and use strategies to negotiate and resolve contentious issues (ACHCS086)

Year 10 Civics and Citizenship

  • The challenges to, and ways of sustaining a resilient democracy and cohesive society (ACHCK094)
  • Recognise and consider multiple perspectives and ambiguities, and use strategies to negotiate and resolve contentious issues (ACHCS099)

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

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students analyse a range of factors that influence identities and attitudes to diversity. They reflect on how groups participate and contribute to civic life.

Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards: Students compare and evaluate the key features and values of systems of government. Students evaluate a range of factors that sustain democratic societies.

Topic: Social Issues

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

Time required: 90 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion and coordinate collaboration between students.

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). 20-25 pieces of A3 (or larger) paper. 10 markers. Butcher’s paper (optional). Exit Slip

Keywords: Society, institutions, social issues, support, individuals, youth, homelessness, 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 concept of society.
  • ... understand what societal institutions are.
  • ... understand the impact that societal institutions can have on individuals.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... explain the concept of society in their own words.
    ... name at least five societal institutions.
    ... make connections between societal institutions and the 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 i
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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Not for profits play a very important role in helping people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Understanding Institutions in Australian Society

Consider what you've looked at already about the role of institutions in Australian society and read the following excerpt from an article titled Survey: People’s Trust Has Declined in Business, Media, Government, and NGOs:

  • "For 17 years the Edelman Trust Barometer has surveyed tens of thousands of people across dozens of countries about their level of trust in business, media, government, and NGOs. This year was the first time the study found a decline in trust across all four of these institutions. In almost two-thirds of the 28 countries we surveyed, the general population did not trust the four institutions to “do what is right” — the average level of trust in all four institutions combined was below 50%." (Source)

Once complete, work in pairs to think about and discuss your answers to the following ques

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