Activity Introduction

Sarah in labQuick summary: In this lesson, students use teamwork and multimodal stimuli to explore the idea of ‘imposter syndrome’. Students will apply critical and creative thinking skills to identify potential reasons for high rates of imposter syndrome and then to generate possible solutions.

It is highly recommended that this lesson is conducted after students have completed The Leadership: Viewing And Responding To The Film – English – Year 10. Please be mindful that this lesson handles difficult topics and may impact different students in different ways. Please ensure students have access to confidential support if they need it.

The Leadership is rated M for mature audiences and contains coarse language and themes of sexual harassment and abuse. Consider whether viewing this film or clips is appropriate for your students.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand what imposter syndrome is
  • Students understand reasons for higher rates of imposter syndrome in women and people of colour
  • Students will examine the contributing factors leading to imposter syndrome, and consider possible solutions.

21st century skills: 

EmpathyEntrepreneurshipProblem FindingProblem SolvingSocial Skills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 10 English:

  • Analyse and evaluate how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices (ACELY1749)
  • 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)

Syllabus outcomes: EN5-1A

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability 

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

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work The Leadership – English – Year 10.

Time required: 95 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – students may need verbal support and modelling to analyse the text along with emotional monitoring due to the nature of the content.

Resources required:

Keywords: personal skills, problem finding, problem-solving, workplace skills, analysis, solution focus

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


Teacher Worksheet

Sarah CharnaudTeacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will…

  • … understand what imposter syndrome is
  • … understand reasons for higher rates of imposter syndrome in women and people of colour
  • … examine the contributing factors leading to imposter syndrome, and consider possible solutions.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … know the difference between self-perception and the perception of others
  • … make inferences about people’s positions/feelings based on what they say and do
  • … identify aspects of a problem and generate relevant solutions.

Teacher content information:

About The Leadership
The Leadership is a feature-length documentary film directed by Ili Baré and produced by Greer Simpkin for Bunya Productions.

The world is crying out for a new model of leadership, but what is it? One woman thinks she has the answer. Australian CEO and ‘dreamer’, Fabian Dattner, leads an international group of 76 female scientists on an Antarctic voyage designed to transfor

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: “When the report came out that the gender pay gap in science was bigger than any other industry in Australia it was like well, I better start changing the stat. You go. You go girl! You go ask for that pay rise.” ~ Sarah Charnaud, 'The Leadership'

Exploring Perceptions

1. Read ‘Sarah Charnaud’s profile:

Dr Sarah Charnaud is a molecular biologist who is an expert in parasite survival within host cells. Her research focuses on the genetic differences between humans that affect the safety of anti-malarial treatments and how well they work. She holds a Senior Research Officer post at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, Australia, where she leads the molecular team.

What does this make you assume about Sarah?


What values do you think she would hold?


What might be some of her strengths?

2. Sort the below factors into the Venn diagram:

  • Teacher’s comments
  • Peer’s comments
  • Family’s comments
  • Things I’ve seen on TV or online
  • Things I’ve overh
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