Explore the General Capabilities with Emmy-Winning Series, Hardball

Explore the General Capabilities with Emmy-Winning Series, Hardball

In a virtual ceremony held last month, children’s series Hardball won the 2020 International Emmy Award for best ‘Kids: Live-Action’ series. The latest in a long list of awards, this prize reaffirms what Australian primary students and teacher already know: it’s a ripper of a show.

Hardball is a fish-out-of-water comedy set in the western suburbs of Sydney. When Mikey moves from New Zealand, he finds himself in the thick of the ultra-competitive schoolyard game of handball. Mikey’s new friends Jerry and Salwa discover that he has a powerful handball strike, but zero precision or skill. They join forces to train Mikey, hoping he can topple the resident king of the court, Tiffany, and take home the western suburbs crown.


The series has heart, humour and an exciting underdog storyline that has the child audience literally cheering Mikey on. Teachers also love the series for its portrayal of the cultural diversity of inner-city Australia. In the world of Hardball, we hear Māori phrases, see Lebanese food, and observe how culture and language shape the identity of Block Street Primary. This content also encourages kids to reflect on aspects of their own culture.

In the Australian Curriculum, the cultural understandings children gain through viewing are acknowledged in the Intercultural Capability learning continuum. This document states that by the end of Year 4, our students should be able to: identify and describe what they have learnt about themselves and others from real, virtual and vicarious intercultural experiences.

The Hardball Teaching Toolkit outlines three learning tasks for each of the seven General Capabilities, all aimed at Years 3-6 students. All tasks also align with content in the Australian Curriculum: English. Learning tasks and discussion starters centered on Intercultural Capability and more will highlight the many ways this award-winning series can be used in the primary classroom.