Speech writing - early activism

Year 9/10
English / Civics and Citizenship

Suggested duration: Two lessons


In this task, students will develop and present a speech based on their research of an individual involved in activism for social justice among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Cultural resistance is arguably one of the most important forms of survival. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have fought to retain our languages and ways of life, and our many cultures are proudly seen as the longest ongoing living cultures in the world. Our warriors include not only those who served with honour and pride in Australia’s military, but our ancestral warriors who fought against colonial invasion and occupation over many years. Today our modern-day warriors continue the fight to maintain our culture, battle against racism and work in defence of our sovereignty and rights to self-determination (The Little Red Yellow Black Book, p. 142).

Learning outcomes

  • Students will be able to demonstrate the use of voice and language conventions in a speech they develop about an individual involved in activism.
  • Students will examine and be able to discuss different interpretations and points of view on civics and citizenship issues.
General capabilities Cross-curriculum priorities
Literacy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
Critical and creative thinking  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures organising ideas: 2, 6
Intercultural understanding  

Australian Curriculum descriptions

Year 9 English

  • Use interaction skills to present and discuss an idea and to influence and engage an audience by selecting persuasive language, varying voice tone, pitch, and pace, and using elements such as music and sound effects (ACELY1811).
  • Explore and reflect on personal understanding of the world and significant human experience gained from interpreting various representations of life matters in texts (ACELT1635).

Year 10 English

  • Use organisation patterns, voice and language conventions to present a point of view on a subject, speaking clearly, coherently and with effect, using logic, imagery and rhetorical devices to engage audiences (ACELY1813).
  • Evaluate the social, moral and ethical positions represented in texts (ACELT1812).
  • Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations, selecting and sequencing appropriate content and multimodal elements to influence a course of action (ACELY1751).

Year 9 Civics and Citizenship

How and why individuals and groups, including religious groups, participate in and contribute to civic life (ACHCK079).

Year 10 Civics and Citizenship

  • Account for different interpretations and points of view (ACHCS098).

Provisions for differentiation

Learning support

To support students with learning difficulties, teachers may elect to allow them to orally present the summary material in the Student resource sheet instead of writing their own speech.


Students could consider presenting their speech to a community group rather than just to their peers in the classroom setting.


  • Copies of the Student resource sheet (PDF)
  • Computer and internet access
  • The AIATSIS website
  • The Little Red Yellow Black Book - an introduction to Indigenous Australia (4th edition), ‘Our leadership and activism’, Aboriginal Studies Press, AIATSIS, Canberra, 2018.

For teachers

Ensure that the guidance notes included in The Little Red Yellow Black Book teacher resource have been considered.


  • Activism
  • Social justice


Ensure that students have access to computers and the internet to complete this task.

Make one copy per student of the Student resource sheet.

Step 1.

Ensure students have access to copies of The Little Red Yellow Black Book. Refer them to the chapter entitled ‘Our Leadership and Activism’ (pp 141-176).

Step 2.

Set students up with computer and internet access.

Step 3.

Distribute the Student resource sheet and go through the task instructions with the class. Direct students to complete their online research and begin work on the speech writing task.

Step 4.

Set some additional time for students to finish writing and practising their speech at home.

Step 5.

Set aside a subsequent lesson to host the presentation of the speeches to the class or to another class or group.

Assessment ideas

  • Rubric for speech presentations
Last reviewed: 11 Nov 2019