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Beniam, Ramsy and MJ are best friends. They hang out at Melbourne's Flemington public housing estate they call home and enjoy a game of footy. With the arrival of Sahara, the three friends suddenly find themselves at odds. Falling for Sahara is supported by The Bill Hutchison Foundation (BHF). The BHF is a charity devoted to harnessing the power of sport to prevent harm to children and young people in Victoria and across Australia. The BHF brought its partners, the Scanlon Foundation and the Essendon Football Club, aboard to finance the making of the film.
Falling for Sahara is suitable for secondary students in Years 9–12. In Years 9 and 10, the film is a recommended resource to teach subjects in the following learning areas:
- Health and Physical Education
- Humanities and Social Sciences
- The Arts
In Years 11 and 12, the film is a recommended resource to teach English, Health and Human Development, Media and VET Community Services. The film can be used to teach the following Australian Curriculum general capabilities:
- Ethical Understanding
- Intercultural Understanding
- Personal and Social Capability
Falling for Sahara provides opportunities for students to learn about:
- teenage identity and belonging and the factors that shape teenage identity and belonging;
- the experiences and challenges faced by young people who have a migrant and refugee background;
- the implications of attitudes and behaviours such as prejudice, discrimination and harassment on individuals;
- how participation in sport can influence an individual's sense of identity and belonging;
- positive, respectful relationships and the rights and responsibilities of individuals in relationships;
- the importance of valuing their own cultures, languages and beliefs, and those of others.
Falling for Sahara can also be used to support the teaching of Pastoral Care programs at Years 9–12. It is important that students are provided with strategies to support their learning about themselves and others. Students with well-developed social and emotional skills find it easier to manage themselves, relate to others, develop resilience and a sense of self. Within this frame of reference, Falling for Sahara provides opportunities for students to learn to:
- recognise and understand their own emotions, values and strengths, have a realistic assessment of their own abilities and a well-grounded sense of self-esteem and self-confidence (self-awareness);
- manage their emotions and behaviour, persevere in overcoming obstacles, set personal and academic goals, develop self-discipline, resilience, adaptability and initiative (self-management);
- perceive and understand other people's emotions and viewpoints, show understanding and empathy for others, identify the strengths of team members, define and accept individual and group roles and responsibilities, be of service to others (social awareness);
- form positive relationships, manage and influence the emotions and moods of others, cooperate and communicate effectively with others, work in teams, build leadership skills, make decisions, resolve conflict and resist inappropriate social pressure (social management).
The study guide is structured as a series of discussions about the ideas and the issues explored in Falling for Sahara. Teachers may select from the information and activities to support students' viewing, close analysis and discussion of the film. In completing the tasks, students will have demonstrated the ability to:
- engage in detailed analysis of Falling for Sahara;
- analyse the representation of ideas and issues in Falling for Sahara;
- develop and justify their own interpretations of Falling for Sahara;
- create a wide range of texts, make presentations and contribute actively to class and small group discussions.
Teachers need to provide students with a safe and supportive classroom environment given the personal and sensitive nature of many of the ideas and issues explored in Falling for Sahara. It is important to recognise that some students may not want to share their responses. All students should be reminded that a classroom discussion is a public forum and that some information should not be disclosed in this context. Teachers should preview Falling for Sahara prior to using the film as a curriculum resource. Falling for Sahara contains coarse language and depictions of violence. Falling for Sahara is also suitable for use with TAFE and tertiary students and community organisations. Showings of the film followed by guided discussion have proved successful with a wide range of community groups, including participants from not-for-profit organisations, sports clubs, youth groups and local councils.
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