Groupwork activity to get children to consider kindness, respect
This proven technique involves students sitting in a circle where there’s one chair too many. The student who sits left of the free chair says, for instance, “The place on my right is free, and I invite Martina to sit there, because she helps me with math.” The positive feedback here should be focused on qualities and deeds, and not on superficial characteristics like “because I like her red shirt,” as this is a ‘technical’ characteristic and, in this case, does not involve Martina, but rather the person who invites her.
If there’s a risk that the group is going to leave someone out, it is suitable to instruct the students that all (!) players must take turns.
The reflections can head to:
• realising the ease or difficulty of saying positive statements;
• what it feels like to listen to such statements, etc.
How this resource relates to Shaping Characters objectives
- Attitudes and attributes
- Education techniques
- Innovative approach
Educational objective: Finding positive qualities in each schoolmate
Qualities in focus: Kindness, tolerance, respect, reverence
Target group, age of the students: 12–15 years of age
Suitable for: No restriction, homeroom period, skiing course, etc.
Classroom organisation – chairs arranged in a circle – one more chair than there are children.
15 – 45 minutes
What could have been done differently or is planned for future repeats?
It was difficult for some students to look for and express positive qualities in the classmates. Sometimes it was a long process, sometimes it was short. But in the end, all of them coped with the situation. The students were generally passionate about the activity, but the pace and interest started to peter out – a signal for the teacher to end the activity