Activity Introduction

CA-boat-poster-photoframeQuick Summary: Students will be immersed in and connect with the documentary film Chasing Asylum. They will engage with the film from critical, emotional, cultural and ethical perspectives and understand some of the background of the film while also considering the intentions of the filmmaker.

CA-Title-Treatment-ReversalChasing Asylum exposes the real impact of Australia’s offshore detention policies through the personal accounts of people seeking asylum and whistleblowers who tried to work within the system. To watch the documentary, stream it on Kanopy and Clickview or purchase the DVD at the ATOM Education Shop.

Learning Intentions:

  • Students will understand how to actively view documentary films.
  • Students will consider the importance of context and background when critically considering a documentary film.
  • Students will engage with the Chasing Asylum documentary as the filmmaker intended.

21st Century Skills

ca watching film skills v2

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions

Year 11 English

Investigate the relationships between language, context and meaning by:

  • explaining how texts are created in and for different contexts (ACEEN001)
  • evaluating the choice of mode and medium in shaping the response of audiences, including digital texts. (ACEEN003)

Analyse and evaluate how responses to texts, including students’ own responses, are influenced by:

  • purpose, taking into account that a text’s purpose is often open to debate (ACEEN008)

Investigate the representation of ideas, attitudes and voices in texts including:

  • evaluating the effects of rhetorical devices, for example, emphasis, emotive language and imagery in the construction of argument (ACEEN025)
  • analysing how attitude and mood are created, for example, through the use of humour in satire and parody. (ACEEN027)

General Capabilities: Literacy, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding, Intercultural Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority:

Topic: Social Issues.

Unit of work: Voices of Chasing Asylum – access the unit overview here.

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – set up AV equipment, set film context and supervise student viewing of film.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of audio/visual presentation to present a film to the class, projector and speakers. (A purpose-specific viewing room would be ideal.) You will need to access the Chasing Asylum film by streaming it from Kanopy and Clickview or purchasing the DVD at the ATOM Education Shop. Other factsheets: Chasing Asylum – Film Synopsis, Documentary Viewing – Factsheet, Things to address before viewing and studying Chasing Asylum.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: documentary, asylum seeking, refugee, migrant, immigrant, emigrant, persecution, sovereignty, nation-state, citizenship, statelessness, whistleblower, policy.

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


Teacher Worksheet

CA-Asad-Eka-Nickmatulhuda-photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will become active viewers of a documentary film in order to consider its content and critically assess the intention of the filmmaker.

Teacher content information: The issue of people seeking asylum and border protection is very political - many different perspectives exist across a range of contemporary and historical media texts. Australia has a long history of migration resulting in diverse ethnicities, cultures and religions. The movement of people has occurred for varied reasons, including work and employment opportunities, family connections, and leaving due to the effects of war or conflict and persecution.

As conflicts and security challenges impact various regions of the world, the global and national debate around refugees and asylum seekers has intensified. It is in this context that scrutiny and politicisation of this issue has increased. Since 1992, policies of both sides of the Australian government have maintain

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Many documentary filmmakers attempt to change or improve society in some way with their documentaries.

After watching Chasing Asylum, organise your thoughts and responses to the film by completing the 'Connect, Extend, Challenge, Explore' visible thinking routine:

How are the ideas and information presented in this film CONNECTED to what you already knew?
What new ideas did you get from this film that EXTENDED or pushed your thinking in new directions?
What is still CHALLENGING or confusing for you to get your mind around?
What questions, wonderings or puzzlements do you now have? What aspects of the film/topic would you like to EXPLORE?
- or - to view worksheets

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