Activity Introduction

This lesson is designed to be completed by students working in collaboration with a peer. However, it is possible for them to achieve most of the outcomes independently.

Students will read an article about the power of framing and the use of militarised language to describe the COVID-19 pandemic. They will understand the reasons for this language and the powerful consequences of it. Students will evaluate the framing of simple statements about the coronavirus. They will then judge whether or not they think this framing is appropriate and share their opinions with a peer.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Year 10 English

  • Identify and analyse implicit or explicit values, beliefs and assumptions in texts and how these are influenced by purposes and likely audiences (ACELY1752)
  • Analyse and evaluate how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices (ACELY1749)

Refine vocabulary choices to discriminate between shades of meaning, with deliberate attention to the effect on audiences (ACELA1571)

General capabilities: Literacy, Ethical Understanding, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Background information

We are living through unprecedented times and our lives have been forced to change almost overnight as a result of COVID-19. How to move forward, when a vaccine is to be developed (or may never be) is now the focus of many governments.

Tips for Parents and Carers

Students can feel a range of emotional responses when researching and discussing COVID-19. If you need further support for students please refer to:

Resources Required

[email protected] from Cool Australia

[email protected] resources are designed for parents and teachers to use with children in the home environment. They can be used as stand alone activities or built into existing curriculum-aligned learning programs. Our [email protected] series includes two types of resources. The first are fun and challenging real world activities for all ages, the second are self-directed lessons for upper primary and secondary students. These lessons support independent learning in a remote or school settings.

This lesson has been developed in partnership with The Conversation. The Conversation’s mission is to be known as a prominent and trusted publisher of new thinking and evidence-based research, editorially independent and free of commercial or political bias. The Conversation hopes teachers will use their content as a source of truthful information, and that teachers can show their students the importance of trusted, evidence-based information in understanding the world around them and making informed decisions about their actions. Please follow the republishing guidelines when using The Conversation’s articles.

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


Student Worksheet

Coronavirus as war? - Activity Instructions

Learning intentions:

  • You will learn to draw comparisons between the pandemic and a war
  • You will analyse the argument made by an author
  • You will understand and analyse the effect of framing.

Success criteria:

  • You can find similarities and differences between a current crisis and others
  • You can connect your own experience of the world to an author’s points
  • You can evaluate the effect that specific language and framing has on you and others
  • You can share your opinion on the use of certain framing.


Stop calling coronavirus pandemic a 'war'

Alexandre Christoyannopoulos, Loughborough University

In speeches, commentaries and conversations about the coronavirus pandemic, we keep hearing war-like metaphors being deployed. It happens explicitly (“we are at war”, “blitz spirit”, “war cabinet”) and implicitly (“threat”, “invisible enemy”, “frontline”, “duty”).

This, after all, helps project

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