Lesson 4: Advocacy

Learning intention: To investigate actions that promote inclusion in the community.


In this clip, Hannah visits her friend Josh, a transgender boy in her year level at school. Josh says he will continue with Distance Education partly because of Hillview’s uniform policy. He would like to wear the boys’ uniform but doesn’t want the added attention that might create; and he can wear whatever he likes at home. Hannah later learns that the uniform is a barrier for other gender diverse students at school.


After viewing the clip, allocate students to small groups to brainstorm and discuss possible solutions for Josh’s situation. The current uniform options are not suitable for him, so what might be a good alternative? What actions might need to be taken to enact change?

Ask groups to briefly share their ideas, then play the following clip.


This clip shows Hannah speaking at school assembly. She appeals to the student body to support a proposed change in uniform policy and to sign her petition. This action was inspired by Josh but a gender-neutral uniform option would benefit many students at Hillview High.

Invite students whether any of their proposed solutions were included in this clip. What are some of the actions Hannah took to raise awareness of the issue and call for change? Did Hannah take any steps that the class had not thought of?

Hannah was unsuccessful in her bid to become class captain at Hillview, but she found another way to enact change on an issue important to her and her peers. Hannah’s actions can be described as ‘advocacy’.

Advocacy means standing up for your rights, standing up for someone else, or seeking change for an issue in the broader community. Advocacy involves sharing your views and opinions with others to bring about positive changes in society. Everyone can use their voice and agency to enact positive change in the world, whether they are in a formal leadership position or not.


There are many ways to advocate for the issues that matter to you. If they feel comfortable doing so, teachers or students may wish to share past experiences or prior knowledge of advocacy.

In their Youth Advocacy Toolkit, UNICEF UK suggests that a well-planned advocacy campaign should include the following steps:

  1. Explore – Identify, research and analyse the issue.
  2. Think – Consider required action, identify who has power and who can facilitate change.
  3. Act – Figure out what you need to do and say, and any risks or challenges involved.
  4. Evaluate – Reflect on outcomes and plan for the future.

Working individually, have students take the first step in the Youth Advocacy Toolkit by thinking about, identifying and recording an issue that matters to them. This issue could be on a local scale – such as changing a school policy – or perhaps a broader societal issue. It could involve students standing up for their own rights or standing up for someone – or something – else. 

This task enables students to develop advocacy knowledge and skills without necessarily requiring them to take action. If time permits or in subsequent lessons, students could continue their learning by researching and analysing their selected issues and considering possible actions.


In a whole class reflection, ask for volunteers to explain the issues they would advocate for. After several students have shared, consider whether any similarities are emerging. For example, are there multiple issues related to inclusion, animal welfare or the environment? These may reveal shared passions and concerns among the group.  

Australian Curriculum Links

Year 7
Year 8
Civics and Citizenship
Civic participation and decision-making
Explain the methods or strategies related to making decisions about civic participation.
Explain the methods or strategies related to making decisions about civic participation.
Critical and Creative Thinking
Create possibilities by adapting, combining or elaborating on new and known ideas, and proposing a range of different or creative combinations.
Understand how language expresses and creates personal and social identities.
Recognise how language shapes relationships and roles.
Discuss the aesthetic and social value of literary texts using relevant and appropriate metalanguage.
Explain how language and/or images in texts position readers to respond and form viewpoints.
Use interaction skills when discussing and presenting ideas and information including evaluations of the features of spoken texts.
Plan, create, edit and publish written and multimodal texts, selecting subject matter, and using text structures, language features, literary devices and visual features as appropriate to convey information, ideas and opinions in ways that may be imaginative, reflective, informative, persuasive and/or analytical.
Use interaction skills for identified purposes and situations, including when supporting or challenging the stated or implied meanings of spoken texts in presentations or discussion.
Plan, create, edit and publish written and multimodal texts, organising and expanding ideas, and selecting text structures, language features, literary devices and visual features for purposes and audiences in ways that may be imaginative, reflective, informative, persuasive and/or analytical.
Ethical Understanding
Understanding ethical concepts and perspectives
Describe the relationship between the role of individual and community values, rights and responsibilities, and ethical norms when responding to ethical issues.
Explain how different traits, such as honesty, trust, courage and selfishness interact with responsibilities or duties to determine ethically appropriate responses.
Health and Physical Education 
Identities and change
Analyse and reflect on the influence of values and beliefs on the development of identities.
Interacting with others
Examine the roles of respect, empathy, power and coercion in developing respectful relationships.
Investigate strategies that influence how communities value diversity and propose actions they can take to promote inclusion in their communities.
Making healthy and safe choices
Plan and implement strategies, using health resources, to enhance their own and others’ health, safety, relationships and wellbeing.
Personal and Social Capability  
Social awareness
Acknowledge the emotions, needs, cultures and backgrounds of different groups and compare with their own.
Analyse roles and responsibilities of citizens within communities.
Social management
Appreciate diverse perspectives in a range of collaborative contexts and demonstrate negotiation skills to improve ways of working and outputs.
Devise a plan for leading action and evaluate the appropriateness of various leadership approaches in the process.

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