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About the Video Clip:

Video Clip Synopsis:
Female migrant workers discuss the pain in their hands after long hours of sewing and repetitive factory work.

2min 5sec

Repetitious Work Affects Migrant Women is an excerpt from the film Teno (10 mins),

produced in 1984.

Teno looks at a widespread workplace illness, tenosynovitis - a crippling and often misunderstood disease. The nature of modern work practices can inadvertently lead to the illness, which mostly strikes women, since they predominantly work in jobs requiring repetitious activity. This is especially evident among migrant workers. The program also considers the responsibility of both employers and employees.

Teno was produced by the Women’s Film Unit for Film Australia.

Study Module

Curriculum Focus: Science
Year: 7-8
Strand: Life and living
Theme: Health Work - Human body

Key Concepts

Body systems – skeletal system

Curriculum Applicability Notes

ACT:Working scientifically: investigating, Life and living: Structure and function
NSW:Science 4.8, 5.8
NT:Science Band 2: CC2.2, CC3.2, WS3.2, WS 3.5
Qld:Life and living 4.1, 4.5
SA:Life systems 3.5, 4.5
Tas:Understanding systems
Vic:Biological science 3.2, 4.2
WA:Learning outcomes: Life and living, Science in daily Life

Context / Background Information

Tenosynovitis is an inflammation of the lining of the tendon sheath and it usually occurs at the same time as tendinitis, which is an inflammation of the tendon itself. Symptoms include crippling pain and swelling. Tenosynovitis is most common in workers who are in jobs requiring repetitive activity, such as in factory production lines. However, often people who use word processors and computers are affected by the disease. The most frequently diagnosed tenosynovitis is in the wrist or the hand.

Discussion Pointers

  1. These people are working in jobs where they suffer pain.
  2. Discuss with the students if there any ‘jobs’ they do at home or at work that make them hurt?
  3. Do they do any sporting activities that make them hurt? Discuss the parts of the body that are affected and how they are treated.
  4. Brainstorm the skeletal system and students’ knowledge of the different parts including bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and muscles.

Suggested Classroom Activities

  1. Find out the meanings of the following terms: RSI (repetitive strain injury), tendon, ligament, inflammation, infection, analgesic.
  2. Find some tendons. Tendons are attached from the endof a muscle to a nearby bone. If you tense your muscles you can sometimes feel the tendon.
  3. Try this: Make a fist and feel the tendon on the inside of your wrist. Clench your teeth and feel the tendons on each side of your neck. Flex your foot and feel the big tendon at the back of your heel.
  4. Try the following ‘Stuck finger’ experiment.
    • Each of your fingers has its own tendons attached to the ‘finger- pulling’ muscle in your arm.
    • On the back of your hand there is an ‘inter-tendon’ connection linking the tendons of the middle finger and the ring finger.
    • Try this: Put your hand on a table with the palm facing down and your middle finger curled under. Try to lift your other fingers, one at a time. You should be able to lift all your fingers except your ring finger. This is because the tendons to the ring and middle fingers are linked which restricts their ability to move on their own.
  5. Your Achilles tendon is the biggest tendon in you body and runs from the back of your calf to your heel. Find our why it is called the ‘Achilles’ tendon.
  6. Dissect a chicken leg and identify the tendons.
  7. Research the best way to work at a computer to avoid tenosynovitis. What sorts of equipment have been developed to help reduce tenosynovitis.

Modules That Use This Clip

English Year 9-10, Health/PE Year 7-8, Science Year 7-8