Activity Introduction

CA-Asad-Eka-Nickmatulhuda-photoframeQuick Summary: Students are introduced to the notion of compassion as a response to stories of people seeking asylum by engaging with persuasive and poetic texts. Using a range of thinking, analytical and creative tools, students will engage in a close reading, appreciation and manipulation of language to understand the power of language to capture emotions, empathy and communicate experiences.

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 be introduced to the notion of compassion and consider how humane responses to people seeking asylum is often a story of compassion.
  • Students will understand how informative, persuasive and imaginative texts, especially poetry, can be used to communicate compassion.
  • Students will improve their language choices to demonstrate empathy and understanding about issues and compassionate response to people seeking asylum.

21st Century Skills:

ca compassion skills v2

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 10 English:

  • Compare and evaluate how ‘voice’ as a literary device can be used in a range of different types of texts such as poetry to evoke particular emotional responses (ACELT1643)
  • 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)
  • Refine vocabulary choices to discriminate between shades of meaning, with deliberate attention to the effect on audiences (ACELA1571)
  • Evaluate the social, moral and ethical positions represented in texts (ACELT1812)

Syllabus outcomes: EN5-3B, EN5-1A, EN5-7D.

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

Cross-curriculum priority:

Relevant parts of Year 10 English achievement standards: Students evaluate how text structures can be used in innovative ways by different authors. They explain how the choice of language features, images and vocabulary contributes to the development of individual style, and create a wide range of texts to articulate complex ideas, varying vocabulary choices for impact.

Topic: Social issues

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

Time required: 120 minutes.

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 audio/visual presentation to present a website to the class, projector and speakers. Internet access. Quotes slideDavid Marr article – Student copy (one per student – printed or accessed online), David Marr article – Teacher copy, Found Poem, Found Poetry Instructions, printed copies of the Frayer Model (each student will need three Frayer Models), one copy of the Compassion – Word Cluster for each student, one copy of the Venn Diagram for each student.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: asylum seeker, refugee, migrant, text structures, poetry, persuasive text, emotion, empathy.

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


Teacher Worksheet

CA-Eva-With-Family-Eka-Nickmatulhuda-photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: This lesson explores the notion of compassion as a response to the plight of people seeking asylum and as a way to understand the issues that can arise from their experiences. Through reading about the experiences of people seeking asylum and constructing texts that illustrate the nuances of language, students will better understand ways that compassion is figuratively and literally communicated as a humane response to the plight of asylum seekers. Writing poetry can be challenging, however by anchoring this process with an explicitly taught (and thus familiar) text, students will be able to make vocabulary and language choices that discriminate between shades of meaning and communicate challenging issues with deliberate attention to the effect of language on audiences.

Teacher content information: The issue of people seeking asylum and border protection is very political - many different perspectives exist across a range of contemporary

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: When might you appreciate someone showing you compassion?

What is Compassion?

Watch the following clips then complete the 'See, Think, Wonder' visible thinking routine:

Chasing Asylum Clip 3 (

Chasing Asylum Clip 5 (

What do you SEE in the clips?

What do you THINK about that?

What does it make you WONDER?

Read the two quotes below then consider the similarities and differences in what each is saying about compassion. Compare and contrast the quotes using the Venn Diagram.

tony abbott quote

daniel webb quote

Examine the concept of compassion using the Word Cluster hand-out. Write the word ‘compassion’ in the centre oval and then write four synonyms, features or examples of compassion around it. In each of the subsequent ovals, list further synonyms of each of the words you have added. might help you if you get stuck.

Then, in 50 words or less, write your own defin

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