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.

Starting with the Australian flag, students will gradually build confidence in critically analysing Australian symbols and connecting them with the concept of privilege. Students will connect to prior knowledge about criticisms and defences of Australian symbols. Working in small groups, students will conduct a guided research task and present their findings to another group. Students will then learn to use an authentic industry tool – the SWOT analysis, which will scaffold their problem-solving skills and provide them with an easily transferable skill. This analysis will focus on ways to respond to national debates about Australian symbols. Ultimately, students will reflect on how what they have learnt has challenged them and how they can connect it to their own lives.

Note: Talking about white privilege can be extremely uncomfortable for some people because it is an unfamiliar concept to many Australians. White privilege is structural and as such may not be recognised by those who hold it. The teacher notes provide resources to deepen your understanding of white privilege, and responding to discomfort, and it is recommended that students complete The Final Quarter – What is Privilege? – English – Year 10 prior to the other lessons in this unit. 

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 that privilege can hide within recognised institutions as well as individuals.
  • Students understand the impact that symbols can have on those who don’t experience privilege.
  • Students develop the capacity to analyse symbols of oppression and privilege in the world around them.
  • Students consider opportunities for challenging privilege at the systemic/symbolic level.

21st century skills: 

Critical ThinkingCultural UnderstandingDigital LiteracyEthical UnderstandingInitiativeLeadershipProblem FindingProblem SolvingTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 10 English:

  • Understand how language use can have inclusive and exclusive social effects, and can empower or disempower people (ACELA1564)
  • Evaluate the social, moral and ethical positions represented in texts (ACELT1812)

Syllabus outcomes: EN5-5C, EN5-7D

General capabilities: Literacy, Intercultural Understanding, Ethical Understanding

Cross-curriculum priority: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures (OI.5, OI.6)

Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards: Students create a wide range of texts to articulate complex ideas. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, building on others’ ideas, solving problems, justifying opinions and developing and expanding arguments.

Topic: Learning Through Film, Social Issues, Indigenous Education

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: The Final Quarter – White Privilege – English – Year 10

Time required: 95 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – scaffold student use of potentially unfamiliar analytical approach (SWOT analysis).

Resources required:

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

Keywords: text analysis, comparison, team work, problem solving, historical understanding, cultural awareness, politics, symbols, The Final Quarter, film, documentary, Adam Goodes. 

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 that privilege can hide within recognised institutions as well as individuals.
  • ... understand the impact that symbols can have on those who don’t experience privilege
  • ... develop the capacity to analyse symbols of oppression and privilege in the world around them
  • ... consider opportunities for challenging privilege at the systemic/symbolic level.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … identify how symbols, texts or events include and exclude different voices/perspectives.
  • … explain the impact of symbols, texts or events on audiences .
  • … collaborate to problem-solve and consider alternatives to the status quo.

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

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: “Privilege is invisible to those who have it.” ~ Michael Kimmel

Cultural Symbols Of Australia

Australian flag

1. Examine the Australian flag and complete the following questions:

Who is included and what views are centralised/emphasised?

Who is excluded or not visible?

What impact might this text, symbol or event have on these different groups?

Australia Day

2. Summarise the criticisms and defences of Australia Day in this table:

Criticisms of Australia Day Defences of Australia Day

3. Watch the following clip from The Final Quarter

Australian of the Year Extended (

Deconstructing Symbols Of Australia

4. You are to create a well-researched presentation, responding to the prompt:

Whose experiences, views and contributions do key Australian symbols reflect, celebrate or include?

Context When was this symbol introduced? Who introduced it and why? What is the stated purpose of this symbol?
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