Indigenous Mini Lesson – Davidson High School (Part 3 -The Games)

Welcome to the final part of my blog series, where I have recounted my journey with Davidson High School and their Mini-Lesson on Indigenous films!! In Part 3 of this Blog series I will speak about the Indigenous related ‘games’ I ran with Davidson students. 

To briefly re-cap on Part 2 of this blog series, I had already achieved two out of four of my objectives through the questions I asked and the film trailers I showed the class. The completed objectives were – 

2. Understand whether any of the students had gone to SEE an Indigenous film at the cinema

3. Talk to the students about my campaign and my research

The other two objectives were still to be achieved in my games!

The Quiz

Following the film trailers I showed the class, I told the students that they were going to participate in a quiz. The quiz was based off the two film trailers they had just watched, Bran Nue Dae and Charlie’s Country. All class members had patiently watched the trailers, so I was confident that they would be able to answer most/if all of the questions. 

I asked the students to form groups and choose a ‘group name’ based off an Indigenous film. (Quiz Instructions displayed in picture below)unspecified-12

Quiz- The Questions

As soon as I started asking the questions, the students were engaged. The boys were particularly engaged and were jumping out of their seats in excitement. Some of the questions included –

  • In ‘Charlie’s Country’ trailer, what object is taken from Charlie?

  • In a ‘Bran Nue Dae’, what song do the boys sing in the church?

  • In ‘Charlie’s Country’ what food does Charlie eat, after he throws his spear to catch food?

  • In a ‘Bran Nue Dae’, why don’t Annie and Slippery need a map?

‘The Sapphires’ ended up winning the quiz and securing the ultimate prize… Milky Ways!! The Sapphires team was actually made up of a group of boys, who were all very engaged throughout the whole game. This exercise showed me that games are one of the ways to engage young adolescents. 


Final Game – Hunger Games Activity 

For this activity, students had to pretend that they were Cast Directors of The HUNGER GAMES. However, their cast had to be made up of entirely Indigenous Actors. 
The students were shown slides with pictures of Australian Indigenous Actors on them, for casting purposes!


Students looking at the list of Indigenous Actors they can choose from- to cast in the HUNGER GAMES | Picture Source – Amy Johnston (2016)

The following slideshow shows the students working through the worksheet that I gave them. Although most of the students did not know any of the Indigenous actors that they had to cast, they fully engaged in the activity. Many of the students commented that they liked the ‘challenge’ of casting unknown actors, into the iconic Hunger Games roles.

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The students responses were excellent! While the activity was occurring I walked around the classroom and spoke to the students. The students casting choices were insightful and well thought through. All groups cast Jessica Mauboy as Katinss Everdeen, while Gale was cast as Ernie Dingo (from one group) and Luke Carroll (from another)!. 

Final Thoughts

I had SUCH an amazing time engaging and working with Davidson High School. The students were very respectful and eager to learn! I send my sincere thanks to Miss Sly’s Year 7 class for giving me their time! Although the students had not seen many Indigenous films, they were willing to LEARN! If people are willing to learn, then societies problems will change.

Final thanks goes to Miss Sly! I could not have done this lesson without her! Thank you so much for allowing me to come and talk to your wonderful class! Your passion for teaching is so inspiring and your classrooms are filled with such joy. I would also like to thank the Davidson staff for providing me with such a good education, for my six years. A particular thanks goes to my amazing Modern History teacher David Rule. Mr Rule’s passionate love for history and the world was imparted onto me. This will stay with me forever! 


Cover Picture Source | Davidson High School – Amy Johnston (2016)


Indigenous Mini Lesson – Davidson High School (Part 2 -The Lesson)

Welcome back to Part 2 of my journey with Davidson High School and their Mini-Lesson on Indigenous films!

Before coming to teach the lesson I had four main objectives that I wanted to achieve. These were –

  1. Understand the students knowledge of Indigenous films

  2. Understand whether any of the students had gone to SEE an Indigenous film at the cinema

  3. Talk to the students about my campaign and my research

  4. Educate the students about Indigenous Films in a fun and friendly way

Upon entering the classroom I was a bit nervous (I have to admit!!). While the students didn’t throw pencils and paper at me, I was a little bit intimidated to talk to a group of students that I had never met before. However once I started to teach, the students were highly respectful and patient! They didn’t even cause a fuss when my YouTube links didn’t open (which was more stressful for me- than them!!).

To begin, I told the students about my campaign and the problems associated with the issue. I then spoke about my solution and prime objective – “to raise awareness/information and promote Indigenous films in Australia.” I also told them about the three media strategies I had used and I showed them each one of the pages (Facebook, Twitter and WordPress). The students were particularly impressed with my WordPress site!

unspecified-9A Slide from my PowerPoint Presentation to Davidson High School | Picture Source – Amy Johnston (2016)

Questions asked in the Lessons

One of the most interesting parts of the lesson consisted of me asking the students a number of questions. To begin with I asked them, “What Indigenous films have you seen?”. The students responded that they had seen The Sapphires, Bran Nue Dae and Rabbit Proof Fence. All of the students had watched these films in class, under the guidance of Miss Sly.

I then asked the students, ‘Have you ever gone to the movies, to see an Indigenous film?’. Not one student in the class had seen an Indigenous film at the cinema. This fact was highly surprising to me. Even though the students are aged from 12-13, I had presumed that at least some of them would have seen an Indigenous film at the cinema. I had also presumed that some of the students parents would have taken them to see one. Only one boy in the class stated that his mother had watched The Sapphires at home. These facts substantiate my overall argument in this campaign. People are not aware or interested in Indigenous films. All members of the class were more interested in seeing films such as ‘The Hunger Games‘ and ‘Harry Potter‘ and even the film ‘Australia‘.

unspecified-10A Slide from my PowerPoint Presentation to Davidson High School | Picture Source – Amy Johnston (2016)

Further, none of the students seemed overly interested or passionate about the Indigenous films they had watched in class. Only a few of the girls exclaimed that they liked Jessica Mauboy.

This way of thinking NEED TO CHANGE.

People (from as young as 13) should have an interest in seeing or at least LEARNING about Indigenous films. The parents of teenagers should also take more of an active interest in Indigenous films, so that they can pass their knowledge onto their children. Thankfully, teachers like Miss Sly promote Indigenous films and allow children to watch it at school.

Film Trailers shown in Lesson

Following the questions, I showed the students the Bran Nue Dae trailer and Charlie’s Country trailer. I asked the students to pay close attention to the trailers, as they were going to have to complete a quiz after watching them. The students were respectful and attentive when watching the trailers. I was particularly impressed with the way they handled Charlie’s Country trailer, as most of it is spoken in an Indigenous language!

img_1704img_1706Students watching the Film Trailers | Picture Source – Amy Johnston (2016)

Please stay tuned for the FINAL part of my Blog, where I will speak about the games I played with students from Davidson High School!


Cover Picture Source | Davidson High School – Amy Johnston (2016)

Indigenous Mini Lesson – Davidson High School (Part 1 -Background and Hubs)

On Monday 17th October, I visited Davidson High School (a hub). As a part of this campaign, we had to engage with ‘external hubs’. A ‘hub’ is an influential organisation or group within a specific industry (Krebs & Holley 2013). For example, within the Indigenous Film Industry a ‘hub’ would be The Australian Council for the Arts or Screen Australia. Both of those organisations are dominant leaders and have a lot of power in the industry. A hub can also be any other organisation that carries influence, such as a school, a blog or an online campaign (Krebs & Holley 2013).

Throughout the campaign I had to find hubs that were willing to become involved with my issue (Krebs & Holley 2013). For this reason, I approached Davidson High School. Davidson is located in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and is a Public High School from Years 7-12. Davidson is particularly known for their ‘Performing Arts’ and ‘English Department’. While the school does not specialise in Indigenous film, many of the English teachers have a very good knowledge about the films.


Warwick Thornton directing a three-minute film for Tourism Australia | Picture Source – Australia’s Indigenous tourism offering (Tourism Australia)

From 2008-2013 I was a student at Davidson High School. The school was a wonderful place to be educated, as I came away with a deep passion for English and History. While I attended Davidson I watched a number of Indigenous films in my English classes. I was fortunate enough to watch Ivan Sen’s ‘Beneath Clouds‘ (2002) during one of these classes. My passion for Indigenous films started from this viewing.


Me at Davidson (I’m the one on the far left…) | Picture Source- Amy Johnston

Once I had decided that my campaign was going to be about Indigenous films, I approached my old teacher Eleana Sly (or Miss Sly too me… :p). I asked her whether I would be able to come to the school and teach a ‘mini-lesson’ on Indigenous films. The lesson would educate students about Indigenous films and culture. Miss Sly was incredibly helpful and said that she was happy for me to run a lesson with her Year 7 class! 

Before coming I taught the lesson at the school, Miss Sly showed her Year 7 students the films, ‘The Sapphires’ (2012), ‘Bran Nue Dae’ (2009) and ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ (2002). Consequently, most students had a good base knowledge on Indigenous films, making it easier for me to guide them through my presentation. The students had also undertaken a research task on an Australian Indigenous actor and a Australian Indigenous director. Miss Sly went above and beyond to help me and prepare the students for my presentation. I am beyond grateful to her! 


Bran Nue Dae (2009) Poster | Picture Source- Roger Ebert (Bran Nue Dae Review)

I must say, when I was preparing my slides last weekend I was quite nervous! I hadn’t been back to my High School for three years and I was teaching a Year 7 class!! Aren’t Year 7 meant to be a full on year?? However, once I worked out what I was going to talk to the students about, all my worries disappeared and I was excited! 

PLEASE continue to read Part 2 and Part 3 of my Blog, about my journey with Davidson High School and their Mini-Lesson on Indigenous Films!


Cover Picture Source | Davidson High School – Amy Johnston (2016)