The 'Tippy'

[Episode 4 | 1978 : Mike]

Mike learns from his father, Michaelis, that the 'Tippy' is different since returning from the Vietnam War. Regardless of difference, Mike regards the Tippy as his genuine best friend.


The Australian curriculum: English

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The Australian Curriculum: English aims to ensure that students:

  • learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose
  • appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue
  • understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning
  • develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.

English activities [2]

Activity 1: War and trauma
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Subtheme(s): Australians at war
  • Encourage students to view and discuss the scene in Episode 4 where Michaelis explains that the Tippy wants to be on his own because of what happened to him during the war. As a class, discuss how Michaelis explains the Tippy's situation. Is Michaelis speaking as someone who knows what the Tippy is going through?

  • Many returned soldiers from the Vietnam War experienced non-physical problems following their deployment, but these were not recognised for a long time. One common stress-related disorder is called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Encourage the students to research this illness and in particular what it means for people who suffer from it. Ask them to consider ways to help those affected by it.
  • Post -traumatic stress disorder has inflicted a number of Australian service people deployed in recent wars, and older soldiers are thought to have suffered from it too. Encourage students to find at least five facts on post-traumatic stress disorder and how the condition affects returned service people. Ask students to present their research as a poster for Mental Health Week.


Activity 2: I'm different
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Subtheme(s): Gender roles and stereotypes; Relationships
  • As a class, discuss the way Mike is feeling, particularly when he tells his father 'People don't like me either.' Ask students to reflect carefully on this conversation and in particular what Michaelis might mean when he says, 'Being popular is not such a great thing.'
  • Focus the students' attention on how Mike is portrayed in this scene. The clip ends with him standing alone as an outsider, even within his own family. Discuss reasons why the filmmaker chose to represent Mike in this way.
  • Michaelis, Mike's dad, tells his son he needs a 'true friend'. Discuss this with the class and ask students to write a wish list of what they think are the criteria for a 'true friend'. Ask them to rate both Ben and the Tippy as genuine friends of Mike.
  • Refer students to books about loners, loneliness and making friends such as Woolvs in the Sitee by Margaret Wild and Anna Spudvilas and Way Home by Libby Hathorn and Greg Rogers.

  • Ask students to write a wish list for their criteria of a 'true friend'. Have students compare similarities and differences of the main characters from the My Place series and nominate four characters who they would want to be friends with out of Laura, Mohammed, Lily, Mike, Sofia, Michaelis, Jen, Colum, Bridie, Bertie, Evelyn, Rowley and Victoria. Ask students to write down why they would choose these characters as friends.


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