Activity Introduction

owen-at-radio-photoframeQuick summary: Students consider Owen’s experience of living on the street and the reasons that he is experiencing homelessness. They explore their own responses to Owen’s experiences, and then analyse the manner in which Owen’s story is told through a deeper investigation into film techniques and how they affect the audience’s interpretation of the story being told.

Key ideas to explore:

  • Youth homelessness is often invisible.
  • There are a range of different factors that lead to a young person becoming homeless.
  • How conventions of film are used to influence the audience.

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)

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)

Year 11 English

Unit 1

  • evaluating the choice of mode and medium in shaping the response of audiences, including digital texts (ACEEN003)
  • explaining the ways language features, text structures and conventions communicate ideas and points of view (ACEEN004)
  • analysing how vocabulary, idiom and rhetoric are used for different purposes and contexts (ACEEN006)
  • using appropriate form, content, style and tone for different purposes and audiences in real and imagined contexts (ACEEN011)
  • using evidence-based argument (ACEEN014)

Unit 2

  • analysing the ways language features, text structures and stylistic choices shape points of view and influence audiences (ACEEN024)
  • the ways ideas, attitudes and voices are represented, for example, how events are reported differently in the media (ACEEN029)
  • selecting and applying appropriate textual evidence to support arguments (ACEEN035)
Year 12 English

Unit 3

  • analysing language, structural and stylistic choices (ACEEN041)
  • making innovative and imaginative use of language features (ACEEN051)
  • using and experimenting with text structures and language features related to specific genres for particular effects (ACEEN052)

Unit 4

  • undertaking close analysis of texts (ACEEN060)
  • analysing content, purpose and choice of language (ACEEN063)
  • analysing the use of voice and point of view such as in feature articles, reporting of current events or narration (ACEEN064)
  • exploring other interpretations and aspects of context to develop a considered response.(ACEEN065)
  • using appropriate language and stylistic features to sustain a personal voice and point of view (ACEEN069)
  • synthesising ideas and opinions to develop complex argument (ACEEN071)

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: 120 minutes (or 2x 60 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 and access to THE OASIS documentary on Vimeo. Sticky-notes, Film techniques Factsheet

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities. Using ICT to explore. Using ICT to demonstrate learning.

Homework and extension opportunities:  Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: House, home, homelessness, youth, THE OASIS, family, support, film technique.

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

owen in alleyTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Through the study of a film text, students develop skills in analysing texts, including documentary texts. Students read and view public documents examining and reflecting on the intentions behind these texts. They explore representations of the relationship between homelessness and the failure of family relationships through Owen and the film’s portrayal of his experiences.

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

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: “The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege” – Charles Kuralt

1. Watch Owen’s story and note one phrase spoken by Owen that stands out to you.

The Oasis [Owen] - A Shark Island Productions Film (

For a short description of Owen, click here.

Why did Owen leave home? Note your class's main ideas here:

2. Choose one word from the list below, or think of one of your own.

  • Sad
  • Sympathetic
  • Empathetic
  • Angry
  • Frustrated
  • Hopeless
  • Happy
  • Encouraged
  • Hopeful

Now write a short paragraph that uses that word to explain your reaction to Owen’s story.

3. Think about this: when he’s telling his story, Owen lists some pretty serious crimes that he’s committed … and yet, it could be suggested that we as the audience aren’t afraid of him. Why is that? We could start by considering what the film director shows us. For example: how are Owen's experiences shown to the aud

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