The Leadership - Imposter Syndrome

The Leadership - Imposter Syndrome

Lesson 2 of 4 in this unit

  • Secondary
  • Year 9 - 10
  • English
  • Social
  • Equality
  • Leadership
  • Social Action
  • ...

Lesson summary

In this lesson, students use teamwork and multimodal stimuli to explore the idea of ‘imposter syndrome’. Students will apply critical and creative thinking skills to identify potential reasons for high rates of imposter syndrome and then to generate possible solutions.

It is highly recommended that this lesson is conducted after students have completed The Leadership: Viewing And Responding To The Film – English – Year 10. Please be mindful that this lesson handles difficult topics and may impact different students in different ways. Please ensure students have access to confidential support if they need it.

The Leadership is rated M for mature audiences and contains coarse language and themes of sexual harassment and abuse. Consider whether viewing this film or clips is appropriate for your students.

Learning intentions:

Students will...

  • understand what imposter syndrome is
  • understand reasons for higher rates of imposter syndrome in women and people of colour
  • examine the contributing factors leading to imposter syndrome, and consider possible solutions.

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • know the difference between self-perception and the perception of others
  • make inferences about people’s positions/feelings based on what they say and do
  • identify aspects of a problem and generate relevant solutions.

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

Australian Curriculum content descriptions: 

Years 10 English:

  • Analyse and evaluate how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices (ACELY1749)
  • Identify and explore the purposes and effects of different text structures and language features of spoken texts, and use this knowledge to create purposeful texts that inform, persuade and engage (ACELY1750)

Syllabus outcomes: EN5-1A

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

 Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards: Students create a wide range of texts to articulate complex ideas. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, building on others’ ideas, solving problems, justifying opinions, and developing and expanding arguments.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work The Leadership – English – Year 10

Time required: 95 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – students may need verbal support and modelling to analyse the text along with emotional monitoring due to the nature of the content

Resources required


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • Empathy
  • Enterprise
  • Problem solving
  • Social skills

Additional info

About The Leadership:

The Leadership is a feature-length documentary film directed by Ili Baré and produced by Greer Simpkin for Bunya Productions.


The world is crying out for a new model of leadership, but what is it? One woman thinks she has the answer. Australian CEO and ‘dreamer’, Fabian Dattner, leads an international group of 76 female scientists on an Antarctic voyage designed to transform them into the sort of leaders they want to be. Her hope is that once these women are primed to lead in science, they will be able to make meaningful change around the world. But onboard, Dattner’s own leadership style and philosophy are both severely tested, as the women’s deeply personal stories of workplace harassment and more are revealed. Set against the planet’s last untouched wilderness, The Leadership delivers an altogether unexpected and original reflection on what it takes to be a good leader while unearthing the profoundly troubling systemic obstacles to women’s advancement in science and beyond.

The Leadership is distributed by Dark Matter and premiered at the Sydney Film Festival in 2020. We recommend you access the film via Clickview. It is also available online on Amazon, Foxtel Rental Store, iTunes, GooglePlay, YouTube Film, Microsoft Store, Xbox Entertainment, Fetch TV, Vimeo and DocPlay. Learn more about the film: 

About Homeward Bound:

Homeward Bound is a transformational leadership initiative for women with a background in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine), from around the world.
The program has four core development components, or ‘streams’: leadership, strategy, visibility and science. These are delivered during a 12-month program, with online content and collaborative learning (11 months), and face-to-face on the ground in Ushuaia, Argentina (pre-voyage), and also on-board ship voyaging to Antarctica. Additionally, a Wellbeing Team ensures a focus on psychological safety and wellbeing throughout the program.

The key components are woven together into an integrated program, delivered by an expert global faculty. The live program is also supported by recorded content from leading experts and influencers within their fields. The program comprises lectures, personal and leadership development tools, coaching sessions, visibility training and the opportunity to develop meaningful collaborations – in forums, in teams with a focus on areas of interest, and in small diverse cohorts.
Learn more about the program’s key components and expected outcomes. 

Imposter Syndrome:

Psychology Today defines imposter syndrome as when people “believe that they are undeserving of their achievements and the high esteem in which they are, in fact, generally held (source). They feel that they aren’t as competent or intelligent as others might think - and that soon enough, people will discover the truth about them. Those with imposter syndrome are often well accomplished; they may hold high office or have numerous academic degrees.” The American Psychological Association says that when people are different from their peers (due to race, gender, sexuality or other), they are more likely to experience imposter syndrome (source).

Content Warning:

This film and associated lessons contain sensitive material that may trigger some students or cause strong emotional responses of various kinds. Teachers are strongly advised to watch the full film prior to showing it in their class and consider carefully whether this content will be suitable in their context. Please ensure you monitor all students during, directly after and for several weeks after tackling this content. Refer to the Handling Sensitive Topics And Issues Factsheet for more information.

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