Activity Introduction

This lesson is designed to be completed independently by students. 

Students will focus on the ways that culture affects the impact of messages. They will read an article comparing how individualistic and collectivist cultures view messages around social distancing and other policies in different ways. They will complete a table to generate ideas about the collective and individual benefits and risks when following, or not following, government policies during this pandemic. Students will be guided to understand the main messages of the article through comprehension questions. They will then connect the article to their lived experience by classifying messages they have seen as individualistic or collectivist. Finally, they survey people in their social circles to look for patterns in answers.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Year 9 English

  • Analyse how the construction and interpretation of texts, including media texts, can be influenced by cultural perspectives and other texts (ACELY1739)

Year 10 English

  • Identify and explore the purposes and effects of different text structures and language features of spoken texts, and use this knowledge to create purposeful texts that inform, persuade and engage (ACELY1750)

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. Communicating with society about these changes puts pressure on governments, companies and other bodies. The way that messaging is crafted needs to take into account the priorities and mindsets of the audiences who are being targeted.

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

One Size Does Not Fit All - Activity Instructions

Learning intentions:

  • You will consider individual and collective reasons for complying with social distancing
  • You will summarise an article about how cultural values affect messaging
  • You will apply what you’ve learnt to generate several messages that consider cultural resonance.

Success criteria:

  • You can identify the difference between individual and collective risks and benefits
  • You can locate key information and explain it in your own words
  • You can consider cultural resonance when creating your own texts.


We're not all in this together. Messages about social distancing need the right cultural fit

Geetanjali Saluja, University of Technology Sydney

Governments everywhere face the challenge of getting people to stay home so they can limit the spread of coronavirus. In order to make their messages more effective, governments must ensure these appeals resonate with the cultural

- 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.