Know yourself

A groupwork exercise to consider character qualities

The first part of the activity involves short homework. Using various sources of information (most likely, the Internet), the students get a picture of human qualities, how they shape and surface and what influences them. The students also prepare five positive and five negative qualities and described them in one sentence.
The second part of the activity takes place at school. The students write all positive and negative qualities on the blackboard (and use their workbooks for that). A table of pairs of qualities is created and the teacher makes sure the students are able to explain the individual qualities. After that, the core of the activity begins. The students create short characteristics of themselves, trying to provide self-assessment. They write it down in their workbooks. Then all the students sit in a circle to create informal atmosphere. Following a short period of preparation, one student stands up and tries to characterise one of the classmates (his/her positive qualities, how he/she behaves among the classmates, his/her negative traits). The student does not say the classmate’s name, does not say anything about his/her looks. The rest of the class has to guess who has just been described, writing their guesses on the blackboard. Then the result is announced, and the classmate who has just been described will read aloud his/her self-assessment, which he/she will not change in any way. The rest of the class tries to empathise with the evaluated student as well as the evaluator who has to show courage speaking about negative sides in his/her classmate’s behaviour. Both assessments are then compared, looking for matches and differences. The rest of the class is asked to express their opinions, stating which assessment is more accurate. Disagreements are then discussed, the students argue in favour of the opinion they find more fitting.

How this resource relates to Shaping Characters objectives

  • Attitudes and attributes
  • Education techniques
  • Motivation and resilience

Actual outcomes

Educational objective: Learning self-assessment and assessing others
Qualities in focus: Courage, respect
Target group, age of the students: 8th and 9th grade students
Suitable for: Citizenship Education

Resources required

Internet, blackboard, workbook

Time needed

1 unit (45 minutes) + homework

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

At the start, the students were somewhat tense about speaking first. I tried to melt the tense atmosphere and chose self-confident students to speak first. The rest of the class gradually loosened up and began to discuss. I was surprised how some of them were able to defend their views. Many did not agree with either assessment. It is necessary to avoid fights and blaming each other.

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