Activity Introduction

CA-Fraser-Daniel-Wieckmann-photoframeQuick Summary: Students are introduced to forms and concepts of power and how it can influence perspectives on the issue of seeking asylum. They enhance their understanding of power and how it manifests in stories of, and responses to, seeking asylum. With a specific focus on political power, students use a selection of thinking and analytical tools to deconstruct and evaluate perspectives represented in texts and analyse how language and visual features influence audiences. Using this knowledge, students will create their own message about political power.

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 Intention:

  • Students will understand how political stakeholders apply different forms of power to influence responses to the plight of people seeking asylum.
  • Students will understand how satirical texts, especially political cartoons, can be used to communicate perspectives on significant issues.
  • Students will be able to analyse and evaluate visual and language choices used to communicate meaning.

21st Century Skills:

ca power politics skills v2

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

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)
  • Use comprehension strategies to compare and contrast information within and between texts, identifying and analysing embedded perspectives, and evaluating supporting evidence (ACELY1754)
  • Evaluate the social, moral and ethical positions represented in texts (ACELT1812)
  • Analyse and explain how text structures, language features and visual features of texts and the context in which texts are experienced may influence audience response (ACELT1641)

Syllabus outcomes: EN5-8D, EN5-2A, EN5-7D, EN5-3B.

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 develop and justify their own interpretations of texts, and evaluate other interpretations, analysing the evidence used to support them.

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. Double bubble concept mapAustralian Political Cartoons (print enough copies for one per group of 2-3 students). ‘Very Powerful’ and ‘Not Powerful’ signs. What is Satire? Presentation

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: asylum seeker, refugee, migrant, power, influence, political cartoons.

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


Teacher Worksheet

CA-Poster-Khadim-Da-photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: This lesson will engage students in an examination of the stories of power and politics inherent in the issues arising from people seeking asylum in Australia. Students will be able to critically assess the meanings of power and its use in media coverage of refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia. In analysing published political cartoons and creating their own, students will further enhance their critical and creative thinking skills, as well as their understanding of written and visual language choices to communicate meaning and influence 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 and historical media texts. Australia has a long history of migration resulting in diverse ethnicities, cultures and religions. The movement of people has occurred for varied reasons, including work and employment

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What makes a powerful person powerful?

What is Power?

Complete the 'Think, Pair, Share' table below by considering what comes to mind when you see or hear the word POWER.

THINK - What comes to mind when I hear or see the word POWER?

PAIR - What can I add after discussing with my partner?

SHARE - What will we share with the class?

Write your own definition of power in 50 words or less:

Political Power and Powerlessness

Watch the following clips from Chasing Asylum and consider the elements or evidence of power or powerlessness that are presented.

Chasing Asylum Clip 4 (

Chasing Asylum Clip 6 (

Record your responses in a double-bubble concept map like the one below (also available here). Aim to focus on the elements of political power that are evident. On one side refer to power and on the other refer to powerlessness. The middle circles that co

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