Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Retired AFL star Adam Goodes is known to many for his resilient journey in the face of detrimental treatment by AFL spectators and the media beginning in 2013.

In this lesson, students will become adept at analysing and writing effective apologies. Students will understand the different communicative purposes of private and public apologies, through analysis of Eddie McGuire’s public apology to Adam Goodes. Using authentic, workplace guidelines, they will analyse the effectiveness of this apology. Students will consolidate their skills by examining Kevin Rudd’s famous ‘Apology to the Stolen Generations’. Finally, students will write an apology that they think makes effective choices in tone, language and emphasis.

Using only archival footage aired at the time, The Final Quarter holds a mirror to Australia and is an opportunity to reconsider what happened on and off the football field. Learn more about the film here.

We highly recommend that students view the film in its entirety before participating in subsequent lessons. Our Watching the Film lessons are designed to support you in facilitating this process. Given the content, it is also important for teachers to communicate with parents and guardians of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students before playing the film and/or engaging with the teaching and learning resources. 

Note: This film may not be suitable for viewing by all young people. Teachers are advised to use their discretion when deciding whether to show this film. If teaching in a context with a high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, it is imperative that guidance is sought from the Principal and Aboriginal Education Officer (or equivalent) prior to screening the film.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand the differences between a private and public apology.

  • Students understand the use of common verbal and nonverbal techniques in an apology.

  • Students understand how context affects the delivery of a speech.

  • Students understand how different speakers approach the same communicative purpose (apology).

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCritical ThinkingEmpathyEthical UnderstandingSocial SkillsProblem Finding

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 8 English:

  • Understand and explain how combinations of words and images in texts are used to represent particular groups in society, and how texts position readers in relation to those groups (ACELT1628)
  • Experiment with particular language features drawn from different types of texts, including combinations of language and visual choices to create new texts (ACELT1768)

Syllabus outcomes: EN4-4B, EN4-8D

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability

Cross-curriculum priority: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures (OI.6)

Relevant parts of Year 8 achievement standards: Students understand how the selection of language features can be used for particular purposes and effects. They explain the effectiveness of language choices they make to influence the audience. Through combining ideas, images and language features from other texts, students show how ideas can be expressed in new ways.

Topic: Learning Through Film, Social Issues, Indigenous Education

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: The Final Quarter – Purposeful Language – English – Year 8

Time required: 70 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion.

Resources required:

  • Device capable of presenting a video to the class
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student.

Keywords: language, speaking, listening, tone, voice, emphasis, analysis, comparison, workplace skills, apology, apologising, The Final Quarter, documentary, Adam Goodes, media, private, public.

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


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students understand...

  • … the use of common verbal and nonverbal techniques in an apology.
  • … how context affects the delivery of a speech.
  • … how different speakers approach the same communicative purpose (apology).

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … compare the purpose and language of private and public apologies.
  • … evaluate the effectiveness of an apology using their own and others’ criteria.
  • … synthesise their findings to create their own apology.

Teacher content information:

This lesson will be centred around the acclaimed 2019 documentary, The Final Quarter. This film explores the detrimental treatment of AFL star Adam Goodes and the media and community responses. An Aboriginal player, and number 37 for the Sydney Swans, Adam Goodes was singled out for verbal abuse, booing and jeering by spectators from a range of clubs during the last three years of his career in 2013 - 2015, until he retired from the game. 


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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: “It is time to reconcile. It is time to recognise the injustices of the past. It is time to say sorry. It is time to move forward together.” ~ Kevin Rudd


1. Read the quotes below and document your thoughts, feelings or interpretations.

Quote Your thoughts/feelings/interpretations
“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”
― Benjamin Franklin
“Would 'sorry' have made any difference? Does it ever? It's just a word. One word against a thousand actions.”
― Sarah Ockler, Bittersweet
“An apology is the superglue of life! It can repair just about anything!!”
― Lynn Johnston

2. Free-write in response to the question:

  • What is the purpose (the point) of an apology?

Public vs Private Apologies

3. Complete the Venn Diagram comparing public vs private apologies.

Analysing Apologies

4. Watch Eddie McGuire’s public apology to Adam Goodes in The Final Quarter:

Eddie's Apology (


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