Activity: Stage 3 Unit 1 - Why factors influence or shape identity?

Broad focus for an inquiry: Diversity and difference, culture and society.

Image: Download the activity sheet.


Generative questions

  • What is a stereotype?
  • Do the media contribute to stereotyping?
  • What stereotypes exist in our community today?

Understandings, skills and values

  • Examples of stereotypes found in the media.
  • Values and beliefs that are represented in stereotypes.
  • Changes in perceptions and biases over time, for example gender roles.

Tuning in

What are stereotypes

Students view advertisements selected by the teacher for obvious stereotyping. Digital images of historic advertisements can be a good source for examples of stereotyping. The group brainstorms questions about how the characters are portrayed and whether they are stereotypes. Students can contribute their own examples.

The National Library of Australia, Trove is a good resource for digital images.

Finding out

Case study: gender stereotypes

Students independently or in small groups complete a case study of either a male or female in popular culture to consider how stereotypes are continued or challenged by the media.

Sorting out

Photograph sorting

Use old photographs and images that show change in Australian culture and society. For example, images of women or men might include changing fashions or job roles. Students may wish to contribute images they find in magazines or family photos. Students identify differences and provide possible reasons for changes.

Resources for images:

Going Further

Reporting back

Students write a newspaper report or persuasive text on the impact stereotypes have on themselves or others. Students should include how and why stereotypes have changed over time.

Concluding and acting

Unbiased advertisements

Students create an advertisement (using technology, if possible) that promotes positive attitudes or challenges a certain type of stereotyping.

Information for teachers

The following units of work for Stage 3 provide suggested activities to develop students’ understanding of diversity and appreciation of difference using an inquiry-based framework.

Critical thinking is developed as students evaluate and challenge perspectives including negative stereotypes and cultural and social bias. This unit emphasises shared values, belonging, acceptance and tolerance.

Note: Teachers should consider and be sensitive to the needs of specific students when planning these activities.

The subject matter includes:

  • stereotypes and biases of individuals and groups may not always reflect reality
  • values and beliefs influence the decisions and actions of others
  • how Australia has changed over time and how this has contributed to our diverse society
  • how values and attitudes have changed over time
  • exploring commonly held values such as respect, fairness and equality
  • how identity is shaped by many factors such as, family, cultural influences, gender and background.

The units can be used to support the following syllabus areas and suggested outcomes:

  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education
  • Human Society and its Environment
  • English

GE3-2 Explains interactions and connections between people, places and environments.

HT3-2 Describes and explains different experiences of people living in Australia over time.

HT3-3 Identifies change and continuity and describes the causes and effects of change on Australia.

IRS3.11 Describes roles and responsibilities in developing and maintaining positive relationships.

INS3.3 Acts in ways that enhance the contribution of self and others in a range of cooperative situations.

GDS3.9 Explains and demonstrates strategies for dealing with life changes.

V1 Refers to a sense of their own worth and dignity.

V2 Respects the right of others to hold different values and attitudes from their own.

V3 Enjoys a sense of belonging.

EN3-1A Communicates effectively for a variety of audiences and purposes using increasingly challenging topics, ideas, issues and language forms and features.

EN3-2A Composes, edits and presents well-structured and coherent texts.

EN3-3A Uses an integrated range of skills, strategies and knowledge to read, view and comprehend a wide range of texts in different media and technologies.

EN3-5B Discusses how language is used to achieve a wide range of purposes for a wide range of audiences and contexts.

EN3-11D Identifies and considers how different viewpoints of their world, including aspects of culture, are represented in texts.

Assessment for learning

Establish current student understanding using strategies such as retrieval charts, word banks, mind maps and class discussions.

Assessment as learning

Students will:

  • Write a newspaper report to explain how stereotypes impact on themselves and/or on wider society.
  • Define key terms and give examples of stereotype, migration, migrant, refugee, asylum seeker, racism, gender, diversity and values.
  • Research stories and describe the contribution the migration of individuals and groups has made to Australian society.

Assessment of learning

Students will:

  • Create an advertisement that challenges negative stereotypes and/or biases.
  • Outline a plan to support a new, non-English speaking student or group of students around the school.
  • Write a song, create a picture book, write a story or write a poem that promotes positive values suitable for younger audiences.
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