Assertiveness activity

A role play activity from Czech Republic encouraging the development of appropriate assertiveness skills

The activity is preceded by watching a Czech TV programme called Asertivita (Assertiveness), a part of Komunikace je hra (Communication is Play) series, which uses an amusing form to acquaint the students with the methods of conflict resolution and assertive behaviour in two short scenes – filing a complaint regarding a cooking pot, and loaning a flat to a friend for his party. The session is concluded with a discussion about the situations.
The activity makes use of drama education elements (scenes). The class is halved and pairs are created in each half. The scenes are focused solely on the effort to be assertive. Half of the pairs are given the following topic: “I received insufficiently fried meal at McDonald’s.” The remaining pairs are given the following topic: “A friend ate part of my meal at McDonald’s when I went to buy a drink.”
Each pair is given 8 minutes to prepare and 2 minutes to act.
Wrapping paper is laid on the floor before performances, and contour of one student is drawn on the paper. After finishing the scene, each pair writes around the contour what – in their opinion – an assertive person is entitled to. Once acting is finished, the students sit in a circle to evaluate the situations, to point out what should not be part of assertive behaviour and to check the writings on the wrapping paper (what should be kept, what should be crossed out or corrected). Only the correct assertive rights are retained. It should be pointed out that it is not possible to only be governed by rights, but also by responsibilities, and homework is assigned after the activity – to write down these responsibilities.

How this resource relates to Shaping Characters objectives

  • Attitudes and attributes
  • Education techniques
  • Motivation and resilience

Actual outcomes

Development of social skills; using a decent discourse to express one’s feelings, attitudes, requirements in a clear and convincing manner; thinking about interpersonal relationships; respecting the rights of the others; using a reasonable level of self-assertiveness

Resources required

Wrapping paper, marker

Time needed

1 teaching unit (45 minutes)

What could have been done differently or is planned for future repeats?

The activity teaches the students to listen to their counterparts, to be empathic, to use certain manners in conflict resolution.
When creating the pairs, it is useful to pair a passive student with a lively one who will compel the schoolmate to act. The two topics were selected purposefully and the students confirmed in all sincerity that it is very difficult to resolve conflicts with strangers as opposed to friends (emotions play a significant role here). Some pairs succeeded in complimenting others while criticising them. The teacher must direct the students so that they play the scenes seriously without “clowning”. If this is not possible, it is better to go over assertiveness just verbally.

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