Activity Introduction

robin and paul mouldsQuick summary: This lesson introduces the concepts surrounding homelessness and youth homelessness. Students begin to explore the term ‘couch surfing’ and how it affects people’s understanding of the issue of homelessness. The issues surrounding couch surfing are explored through listening to a radio interview with a young person experiencing homelessness. Students select three quotes from the interview and formulate short written responses to two prompts. Students then reflect on their understanding of couch surfing and explore the misconceptions that surround the term and choose the manner in which to present their ideas from a number of suggested options.

Key ideas to explore:

  • Youth homelessness is often invisible.
  • There are differences between being houseless and homeless.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 9 English

  • Interpret, analyse and evaluate how different perspectives of issue, event, situation, individuals or groups are constructed to serve specific purposes in texts (ACELY1742)
  • Explore and explain the combinations of language and visual choices that authors make to present information, opinions and perspectives in different texts (ACELY1745)
  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features (ACELY1746)
  • Review and edit students’ own and others’ texts to improve clarity and control over content, organisation, paragraphing, sentence structure, vocabulary and audio/visual features (ACELY1747)

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)
  • 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)
  • Review, edit and refine students’ own and others’ texts for control of content, organisation, sentence structure, vocabulary, and/or visual features to achieve particular purposes and effects (ACELY1757)

Year 11 English
Unit 1

  • Explaining the ways language features, text structures and conventions communicate ideas and points of view (ACEEN004)
  • Evaluating the impact of description and imagery, including figurative language, and still and moving images in digital and multimodal texts. (ACEEN007)
  • Using appropriate form, content, style and tone for different purposes and audiences in real and imagined contexts (ACEEN011)
  • Using evidence-based argument (ACEEN014)
  • Using strategies for planning, drafting, editing and proofreading (ACEEN016)

Unit 2

  • Analysing the ways language features, text structures and stylistic choices shape points of view and influence audiences (ACEEN024)
  • Analysing how attitude and mood are created, for example, through the use of humour in satire and parody. (ACEEN027)
  • The impact of language and structural choices on shaping own and others’ perspectives(ACEEN028)
  • Selecting and applying appropriate textual evidence to support arguments (ACEEN035)
  • Using strategies for planning, drafting, editing and proofreading (ACEEN036)
  • Explaining how and why texts position readers and viewers. (ACEEN040)

Year 12 English

Unit 3

  • Analysing language, structural and stylistic choices (ACEEN041)
  • The ways language patterns can create shades of meaning (ACEEN047)
  • How responses to texts and genres may change over time and in different cultural contexts.(ACEEN049)
  • Sustaining analysis and argument (ACEEN053)
  • Using strategies for planning, drafting, editing and proofreading (ACEEN055)

Unit 4

  • Undertaking close analysis of texts (ACEEN060)
  • Examining how each text relates to a particular context or contexts (ACEEN061)
  • Analysing content, purpose and choice of language (ACEEN063)
  • Synthesising ideas and opinions to develop complex argument (ACEEN071)
  • Using strategies for planning, drafting, editing and proofreading (ACEEN074)
  • Using accurate spelling, punctuation, syntax and metalanguage. (ACEEN075)

Syllabus OutcomesEN5-1A, EN5-2A, EN5-8D.

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

Topic: THE OASIS, Social Issues

Unit of work: THE OASIS – English

Time required: 90 minutes

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Access to THE OASIS documentary on Vimeo.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities, web 2.0 thinking tools such as or mindmeister to display students’ ideas.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: House, home, homelessness, youth, THE OASIS, couch surfing, misconceptions.

Acknowledgement: This resource has been adapted from ‘Teaching Social Issues Through English’ developed with the English Teachers Association NSW and the ‘Youth Homelessness Matters Resource’ developed by Janice Atkin. You can find these resources here.

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


Teacher Worksheet

paul moulds at a squatTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students understand that youth homelessness is often invisible and recognise that there are differences between being houseless and homeless.

Teacher content information: This lesson is based on THE OASIS documentary, which raises awareness of youth homelessness, celebrates the resilience of young people who are experiencing homelessness in Australia and empowers the next generation of young people to take action to prevent youth homelessness in the future.

Young people often become homeless because of family breakdown, often stemming from parental conflicts or a collapse of their relationship with a husband/wife or partner. Some young people who are living independently become homeless because they can’t afford living expenses such as rent. Being homeless is unsafe, unhealthy and very stressful. Young people experiencing homelessness are not a homogeneous group. They come from a range of family backgrounds, have diverse dispositions, e

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: "Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change" - Muhammad Ali

1. What image, feeling or memory does the word 'couch' create in your mind?

When you think of surfing, what do you think of?

When used together, what do the words 'couch surfing' imply?

2. Working in pairs or small groups, revisit the ideas about couch surfing developed during your brainstorming and refine these ideas using the following questions as a starting point:

What does couch surfing refer to in the context of the issue of youth homelessness?

3. Many experts in the field of homelessness claim that youth homelessness is often invisible. Listen to the interview Out of Sight, Out of Mind - The Couch Surfers.

What do you think is suggested by the interview title: Out of Sight, Out of Mind - The Couch Surfers?

4. Listen for the phrase 'I have a roof over my head but it is not a home.'

Identify three quotes from the interview that resonate with you

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