Go to page Content

Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.

6 — The Stolen Generations: Great speeches – part 2

Jenny Macklin with Kevin Rudd and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma. Kevin Rudd is holding the text for the Apology speech.

Above: The Hon. Jenny Macklin, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma, in the Members’ Gallery photo by HEROC, CC-BY-2.0

This sequence is the first of five about The Stolen Generations. Students may recall Kevin Rudd’s Apology to The Stolen Generations or they may have seen a copy of the apology on display in the school. The motion to the parliament is the part of the speech that is dealt with in this sequence but you may read extracts of or show video footage of the whole ceremony if you choose.

Activity 1: Circle Time

The purpose of this activity is to provide opportunities for students to share experiences in a non-threatening environment. In this case it is also used to help students make connections between their own lives and those of the people under discussion in this sequence (that is, members of The Stolen Generations and the Prime Minister and his government). Click here for instructions on How to play Circle Time.

Activity 2: Using a dictogloss

A dictogloss is a co-operative strategy used to help students understand complex texts. Listen to the 1998 version of the ‘Sorry Song by Kerry Fletcher. Listen to the song again and jot down key words or phrases from the text. Working in small groups, students share the key words and phrases. Groups then work co-operatively to reconstruct the text, negotiating meaning and attempting to reproduce the structure, language and intent of the original.  ACELY1713

Listen to the audio again and compare the reconstructed texts with the original and with other groups’ attempts. Discuss how effective the strategy of paraphrasing a text based on keywords was in helping students to comprehend the meaning of the lyrics. Talk about the use of repetition at the beginning of each stanza and the effect it has on the reader or listener. Students can reflect on the lyrics in light of their comments and feelings during Activity 1. How hard is it to say sorry? Is it harder if the apology is made publicly? How do we find the right words? Discuss the informality of language used among family and friends compared with the language used to a large audience of strangers.  ACELA1515

Activity 3: Reconstructing Kevin Rudd’s speech using a dictogloss

Show the video of Kevin Rudd’s Apology speech (also on YouTube) then read the transcript of the speech to the students, explaining that they need to listen carefully to the meaning of the text. Students then jot down key words and phrases as the speech is read a second time. In small groups, they share their key words and phrases and discuss the meaning of parts of the speech. They may seek clarification within the group of some of the words used and list those that are unfamiliar to all in the group. Read the transcript a third time, after reminding the students that they are going to attempt to reconstruct the speech after this reading. Students make notes as the speech is read for the third time.

In the same small groups, the students attempt to co-operatively reconstruct the speech on a large sheet of paper. Encourage them to record whole chunks of language on strips of paper that they lay on the large sheets, rearranging as necessary until they are satisfied with their reconstruction. Some lines of the speech may just have snippets of language. Loosely attach the draft arrangement to the paper. Students then walk around the room in silence and read the drafts of other groups, then return to their own group and discuss possible changes or additions to their sheets.

Distribute a copy of the transcript to each group. Students then compare their reconstructions with the transcript and evaluate their work by discussing whether they have included all of the important information in a structure that would achieve the original purpose of the speech.  ACELY1712ACELY1715

Activity 4: Analysing the text structure, purpose and language of Rudd’s speech

Read the transcript of the speech once more, and discuss its structure. On a class copy, mark the different sections of the speech and discuss how they contribute to the flow of the text. Within each section, discuss the ways in which the writer has made specific language choices to position the listener. Highlight these choices and talk about how they affect the reader or listener.  ACELY1711

Students use the Text structure, purpose/function and language worksheet to analyse the speech. Remind them to pay particular attention to the language choices that position the reader. 

Activity 5: Comparing two speeches

Compare this speech with Gough Whitlam’s speech to the Gurindji people. What structural and language devices do they share? In what ways are their purposes similar?  ACELY1708

Students may choose to add this speech to their Great speeches worksheet. They may also choose to research responses to the speech and include some of these in their list of great speeches. 

Activity 6: Thinking about the apology

Students discuss the apology and talk about its effects on different sections of the community. Have them recall Activity 1 and ask them to compare their feelings about saying sorry with the sentiments expressed in Kevin Rudd’s speech.  ACELT1613 

The students are now ready to complete Assessment task 1.