Hundreds of schools across Australia have begun incorporating The Final Quarter – a feature documentary which tells the story of the last three years of the career of AFL champion Adam Goodes – into subjects including English, Media and PDHPE.
The film is now freely available to every Australian school, both primary and secondary, as part of a comprehensive education package which includes access to 46 lesson plans aligned to Years 5-12 of the national curriculum.
Shark Island Productions worked with the Australian Human Rights Commission and Reconciliation Australia to develop the long-term education strategy for the film.
Director of The Final Quarter, Ian Darling, said he hopes film will have a powerful long-term impact.
“We’ve focused our free education campaign on schools and sporting clubs so the next generation of young Australians has a greater awareness about racism and its impact,’’ Mr Darling said.
“Through The Final Quarter’s extensive education materials, teachers and students are being given tools to have these important but often difficult conversations about racism and bullying in an engaging and constructive way.’’
Mr Darling and his team have already received positive feedback from teachers who have screened the film to their students and accessed the accompanying resources.
A teacher in WA said the film had provoked lively discussion among her students about race, vilification and taking personal responsibility for the impact our actions have on others.
“There isn’t a student in our group who hasn’t been engaged with the film and these lessons, and some of them don’t often get involved. Thanks very much for this fantastic resource,” she said.
A teacher of Aboriginal Studies and Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) from southern NSW wrote, “I’ve used the film with my Year 12 class this year and it evoked so much discussion, passion and anger,” She added that The Final Quarter was “one of the best documentaries I have ever used as it is so powerful.”
The teaching and learning resources and lessons have been created by education experts Cool Australia, with advice from a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous teachers and educators.
There is also learning material and screening guides to accompany the film from the Australian Teachers of Media (AToM), the Human Rights Commission and RA.
The film, and all education resources, can be accessed from The Final Quarter website.
The film premiered at the Sydney Film Festival in June 2019 to a number of sold out screenings. It was then broadcast nationally on Channel 10 and WIN in July, sparking a national conversation about racism in our country.
Sandra Brogden, who co-ordinates a group of Koori Education Support Officers in Victorian schools, has watched the film with students from the government, Catholic and independent school sectors.
“The power of the film has been seen across all three different sectors,’’ Ms Brogden said.
“No matter what school they were at, all the students came up with the same conclusions and the same feelings that they had to call out racism or say something.
“I think they’ll now be much more aware of that subtle, casual racism that is talked about in the film. Teachers have been looking forward to being able to access the material, which will help to have the conversations that can change attitudes,’’ Ms Brogden said.
The 46 lessons which accompany the film are designed for subject areas including Civics and Citizenship, Health and Physical Education, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, English and Media Arts.
They cover themes such as racism and wellbeing, truth-telling, cultural pride, the language of influence, identity and belonging, and respect and bullying in sport.
The first lessons are available now and others will be rolled out over the next three months.
The education and outreach program for The Final Quarter has been made possible through philanthropic funding and all proceeds from the film are being donated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support organisations.
Darling and Shark Island Productions editor Sally Fryer made the film entirely from archival material, so it would be an account of “what was seen and what was heard” by the public during the last three years of Mr Goodes’ career.
They scrutinised hundreds of hours of broadcast and online footage and more than 300 newspaper articles written from 2013, when Mr Goodes was called an ape by a Collingwood fan, to 2015 when he retired.
The 2014 Australian of the Year, Mr Goodes was booed by opposition fans at stadiums during two seasons which prompted a divisive and heated national debate about whether it was racist.
Mr Goodes was devastated by the events and walked away from the game at the end of 2015.
Mr Darling felt Mr Goodes’ treatment by spectators and sections of the media during that period was too disturbing to fade into history without proper investigation.
He and Fryer sought an answer in the mountain of archival material and spent more than a year shaping it into a feature length documentary. The Final Quarter goes beyond the sporting field to become a mirror to the nation, revealing for the first time the full weight of what Mr Goodes endured.
More than one million Australians have so far seen the film and Mr Darling is confident that number will grow significantly through the education program.
During the Network Ten screening, The Final Quarter trended number one on Twitter in Australia and number seven worldwide as thousands of people expressed their feelings about the way Mr Goodes departed the game, and the media’s role in his treatment.