Playlist teacher guide - Inner & outer worlds

Playlist information

Playlist summary

This playlist unpacks the different aspects that make up our inner and outer worlds and explores how these influence our decisions and behaviours.

Playlist purpose

The content in this playlist supports students to:

  • Understand the concepts of inner and outer worlds and how they influence our behaviours and choices.
  • Explore how social expectations, particularly around gender can impact on our relationships and the roles we play within them.

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Learning objectives

  • Analyse societal expectations linked to a range of personal and professional relationships.
  • Understand the nature of gender stereotypes and inequalities and how these stereotypes and inequalities may impact on the decisions they make and the way they behave.
  • Understand that gender stereotypes are socially constructed and perpetuated through the media and accepted social norms.
  • Be able to identify the impacts of gendered expectations on young people and their personal and professional relationships.

Key messages

  • Personal experiences and societal/cultural norms can create different expectations of the roles that people should play.
  • Gender stereotypes portrayed in the media can be rigid and narrow and may not reflect the reality of genders in our society.
  • Challenging narrow gender stereotypes helps to create a more equal society which benefits everyone.

Year level(s) appropriate for

Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10, Year 11, Year 12

Australian curriculum links

Critique behaviours and contextual factors that influence health and wellbeing of diverse communities.

Evaluate situations and propose appropriate emotional responses and then reflect on possible outcomes of different responses.

Investigate how empathy and ethical decision making contribute to respectful relationships.

Media items

Inner and outer worlds

Type: Video.

Duration: 2 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: What makes us who we are? Our feelings, beliefs, thoughts and values make up our 'inner world' and this both influences and is influenced by our 'outer world' of environment, social groups and behaviours. Because we only ever see a small part of somebody and their worlds, it's important we Stop Ask Listen when making shared decisions.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. How important do you think it is to understand both your own worlds, and those of a partner or friend? Answers
    1. a.Super important
    2. b.Nice to have
    3. c.Not that important
    4. d.Waste of time
    Discussion points:

    This question is a check in to see whether or not the video has convinced students of the significance of these elements. Ask students to explain why they chose their answers, and to think of situations where a better understanding of worlds might have helped them resolve conflicts.

What do we mean by inner and outer worlds?

Type: Page.

Duration: 3 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Inner worlds, outer worlds—what are we actually talking about? What are examples of elements in each of these worlds?

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. How well do you think you could describe your own inner and outer worlds? Answers
    1. a.Thoroughly and well
    2. b.Reasonably okay
    3. c.Pretty patchy
    4. d.No idea
    Discussion points:

    This question is a challenge for students to think about how deeply and thoroughly they know their own worlds. It might be a nice activity to have students write down descriptions of each, seeing how much information they can mine, and whether or not they see patterns of influence they had never noticed before.

How do our worlds influence us?

Type: Page.

Duration: 8 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: How exactly do our inner and outer worlds (and bodies) influence us? What are the mechanics? And how can we influence them back?

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. How well does this description of worlds with feedback loops capture your own experience of life? Answers
    1. a.This is my life
    2. b.Kind of my life
    3. c.Nothing like my life
    Discussion points:

    Young people often think about their place in the world, and their romantic, social, career options and opportunities or lack thereof.

    • Do they relate to this model of the world?
    • How surprised were they by the content of this page?
    • Is this topic something they think about?
    • Are these conclusions they had already come to, or read about?


  2. Question number 2. Who or what controls you? You and your own free will? Or your environment and biology? Answers
    1. a.We control ourselves completely.
    2. b.Our environment controls us completely.
    3. c.We mostly control ourselves, but environment has an influence.
    4. d.Our environment mostly controls us, but we have some influence.
    5. e.Our actions are exactly 50% us and 50% environment.
    Discussion points:

    We haven’t used the terms free will or determinism, but these themes sit underneath “How do we choose?” as well as the whole Inner & Outer Worlds influence.


    The main discussion here is:

    • Having thought about the complexity of gut vs head, and seeing that head splits into intuitive beliefs and self-talk, and that beliefs are informed by so many environmental and biological experiences: how in control of our decisions are we?
    • A different way to look at this: how many decisions are we even given? (Out of the full range of possible decisions, how many are available to us as individuals?
    • Where do students see the balance of power?
    • Do we choose everything?
    • Are we influenced by the environment?
    • What is the balance of influences? If we say half and half, do we mean precisely 50% each way? That seems awfully convenient.
    • If there’s an imbalance in influence, which way does it skew? How much? And even if it’s small, how might the effects compound over time?
    • Why do you believe your answer?
    • What evidence would you give to support your position?
    • What are examples of inner and outer influences in your own life?
    • Are they positive or negative influences?
  3. Question number 3. Do you think your outer world is the same as your partner’s or closest friend? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    Your outer world is shaped by many things such as people you meet, places you go, objects you own, personal experiences and social and environmental forces. Each of these things will be different for each person and therefore our outer worlds could be very different. To further explore this concept, discuss the following questions with the group:

    • What factors have the greatest impact on your outer world?
    • How has your outer world changed since you were in primary school?
    • What has been the greatest influence on this change?


    Extending this to relationships:

    • How do differences in worlds impact our ability to connect with people?
    • Should they affect our relationships?
    • Can the gap be too big? What makes a gap too big?

Our relationship beliefs

Type: Page.

Duration: 3 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: We’ve seen that beliefs affect the way that we interpret events and stimuli. What kind of beliefs do we hold about relationships, specifically? And how might these help or harm our relationships?

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. How much influence do you think your beliefs have in your relationships? Answers
    1. a.The most
    2. b.A lot
    3. c.A little
    4. d.None
    Discussion points:

    Beliefs significantly influence our reactions to events, so they probably have a lot of impact on our relationships. However there are all sorts of other factors that influence as well. The point of this question is less about a precise answer and more about checking in with students to see if they are convinced of the importance of beliefs, and why.

    • Are beliefs important influences?
    • Can you think of any examples?
    • How and why do they affect us?
    • Are there any other influences?


    Do you think a person’s beliefs about relationships can impact on their ability to form a respectful relationship?

    Your beliefs about what a relationship should feel like and how people should act within relationships will influence the level of respect you give and expect in your relationships. If you hold beliefs that are unhelpful or highly gendered then your expectations about how you act in a relationship and how your partner should act may make it difficult to form a respectful relationship. To further explore this concept, discuss the following questions with the group:

    • How do your beliefs about relationships form?
    • What are the greatest influences on your relationship beliefs?

    How can you ensure that your relationship beliefs are helpful?

How to talk to a partner so they will listen

Type: Video.

Duration: 5 minutes.

Source: The School of Life. ()

Summary: Every relationship has conflicts—clashes of our inner worlds. This video has some advice on how to complain to your partner without getting angry or making them defensive.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. What are your go-to strategies when you’re upset at someone? Answers
    1. a.Bitterness
    2. b.Fury
    3. c.Directness
    4. d.Vulnerability
    5. e.Courage
    6. f.Don’t know
    Discussion points:

    This video suggests we typically fall back to bitterness (passive aggression) and fury (outright aggression) when hurt, but these strategies don’t work because they focus on our own inner world and ignore the inner world of the other person.

    The discussion here can be about whether or not students recognise these negative patterns in their own behaviour, and whether or not they believe the alternatives are better. The alternatives aren’t codified in the video in a way that suits this survey, but we have boiled it down to directness, vulnerability and courage.

  2. Question number 2. If someone hurt you, do you think that appreciating another person’s inner world would help you make a better complaint? Answers
    1. a.Definitely better
    2. b.Maybe better
    3. c.Probably not better
    4. d.Worse
    5. e.Don’t know
    Discussion points:

    This question ties the video back to inner and outer worlds. We’re asking the students to think about the idea that another person has their own world with its own awareness and reasons, and that by complaining well we might help that complaint be internalised and interpreted properly.

    Of course, it’s also worth noting that the video says if the other person can’t understand or doesn’t care, it might be a sign of an unhealthy relationship.

How do we influence our worlds?

Type: Page.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: If our inner and outer worlds have such a big impact on us, do we have any say at all? What can we do to change them?

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. How likely are you to try to challenge your own thoughts, feelings and behaviours in future? (For instance, using Stop Notice Think Try?) Answers
    1. a.Definitely will
    2. b.Very likely
    3. c.Not likely
    4. d.Definitely won’t
    5. e.Don’t know
    Discussion points:

    The first step consciously changing a behaviour is developing some level of awareness and commitment to doing it.

    • How did this page make them think about their own behaviour?
    • Do they feel like it is possible to change?
    • Do they feel like the proposed method is plausible?
    • How would they apply it?

    Push the students for explanations on why they chose their answers.

  2. Question number 2. Do you think you would be able to notice, stop, think and try even if you were being driven forward by really strong emotions (like anger, fear, desire, greed…)? Answers
    1. a.Definitely
    2. b.Maybe
    3. c.I hope so
    4. d.Probably not
    5. e.Definitely not
    Discussion points:

    One of the biggest challenges is overriding our own emotions, because they always feel right.

    • Do students see the importance of emotions, and the challenge of managing them?
    • Have they ever felt driven to the wrong decision?
    • Have they ever tried to stop?
    • Why would you want to override your emotions? Are there times when you shouldn’t?
    • How do we do it effectively?

Maintaining boundaries

Type: Page.

Duration: 3 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: A look at how setting individual boundaries. In a relationship, we can become entwined and conjoined. This page discusses how to establish healthy boundaries around time, privacy, activities and sex, and not feel that they are selfish.

Activities and extras

The conversations generated through engaging with this playlist could be built upon and reinforced by exploring the activities included Concept 1.2 - Respect, Gender and Power for Years 11 and 12 in the Respectful Relationships Education teaching and learning package from Tasmanian Department of Education.