Activity Introduction

CA-Boat-Joel-van-Houdt-photoframe3Quick summary: Students examine issues associated with people seeking asylum and offshore detention policies by studying reflective voices, and how personal experience is communicated through reflective language. Using a variety of thinking and analytical tools, students refine their knowledge and skills by evaluating the reflective, emotive and personal language in text and enhance their understanding of the power of language.

CA-Title-Treatment-ReversalChasing Asylum exposes the real impact of Australia’s offshore detention policies through the personal accounts of people seeking asylum and whistleblowers who tried to work within the system. To watch the documentary, stream it on Kanopy and Clickview or purchase the DVD at the ATOM Education Shop.

Learning Intentions:

  • Students will understand the multi-faceted nature of reflective texts and how purpose and context influences language choices in texts.
  • Students will be able to evaluate the use of language to construct meaning in reflective texts and influence audiences.
  • Students will be able to analyse and make evaluative judgements about the effectiveness of reflective texts in positioning audiences.

21st century skills:

ca reflective voices skills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 11 English

Compare texts in a variety of contexts, mediums and modes by:

  • explaining the relationship between purpose and context (ACEEN021)

Analyse and evaluate how and why responses to texts vary through:

  • the impact of language and structural choices on shaping own and others’ perspectives (ACEEN028)
  • the interplay between imaginative, persuasive and interpretive techniques, for example, how anecdotes are used in speeches to amuse, inform or influence, or the use of characterisation in advertising (ACEEN030)

Reflect on their own and others’ texts by:

  • evaluating the effectiveness of texts in representing ideas, attitudes and voices (ACEEN039)
  • by explaining how and why texts position readers and viewers (ACEEN040)

General capabilities: Literacy, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding, Intercultural Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority:

Topic: Social Issues.

Unit of work: Voices of Chasing Asylum – access the unit overview here.

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – facilitate class discussion and assess student work.

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. Highlighters for annotation of transcript/printed material. Reflective Texts Factsheet. Tan Le – Background information and talk transcript.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: Asylum, refugee, perspectives, advocacy, reflection, journey, identity, language.

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


Teacher Worksheet

CA-Boat-Joel-van-Houdt-photoframe4Teacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: This Finding Out lesson is designed to engage students with the concept of reflective language. Students will engage in critical thinking around how reflective voices communicating personal experiences of seeking asylum and offshore detention policies can have powerful impacts on audiences. By examining reflective language and structures in specific texts, students will deepen their understanding of how language can be used in emotive ways to shape audiences' responses to issues surrounding refugees and people seeking asylum.

Teacher content information: All over the world, the issue of people seeking asylum and border protection is a heavily politicised one. Across a range of contemporary and historical media texts, a wide spectrum of perspectives and voices exist. Australia has a long history of migration resulting in a nation of diverse ethnicities and cultural and religious backgrounds. The reasons for movement of people are equally

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What can we learn from our own or other people’s reflections?

Reflective Voices

Watch the following clips from Chasing Asylum and complete the table below. Pay close attention to the language choices and structures (indicated in the table) used by interviewees.

Clip 1.

Chasing Asylum Clip 08 (

Clip 2.

Chasing Asylum Clip 16A (

Clip 3.

Chasing Asylum Clip 10 (

  Reflective Voices What experiences or issues is the individual reflecting on? (subject matter) Notes about language (tone, tense, word choices, patterns in language)
Clip 1 Martin Appleby - Security Contractor
Clip 2 Manus Island Asylum Seeker (Aref, yellow shirt)
Manus Island Asylum Seeker 2
Clip 3 Reza Barati’s Father
Reza Barati’s Mother

Reflective Language and Structures

After brainstorming the concept of ‘REFLECTION’ with the class, write your ow

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