Over the last few weeks in one of my lessons we had been doing a lot of group work, we coach our students in Year 7 & 8 to work more effectively in a group by practicing these skills that they develop. With this particular class they had been struggling with group work particularly when I put them in the groups myself and took them out of their friendship group therefore out of their comfort zones. This class used to be really good at this perhaps they had become to get set in their ways as we had not practiced this for a while.
So I basically decided to do a lesson on friendship – I have a lesson I used to use with particularly tough classes but haven’t used it for a while. It focuses on what good friendship is and what it is not, it explores the way we should treat people. Students work in groups on coming up with the ten rules for good friendship, they then design what a friendship licence would look like and what it would include in the license. Finally they design a job description for someone who was part of the friendship police who monitor the rules and a list of sanctions of what happens when people break the rules. Although some of this is fictional, the students start to see that actually the friendship police do exist within the school but may be the role taken by a mentor, their tutor or even one of their friends.
The students recorded their group discussions on word and then presented their findings to the rest of the class, the rest of the group as questions about what they presented. This was an extremely effective lesson that did improve the relations within the groups almost instantly. Just check out some of the text I have copied from their word documents below, it is really powerful stuff. I did this with 12 year olds but the lesson works with almost any age:
10 rules for friendship
- Treat people with respect
- Never make a promise if you can’t keep it.
- Keep people’s secrets if they confide in you.
- Trust people.
- Always tell people the truth.
- Never talk behind their back.
- Never take someone else’s stuff without their permission.
- Treat all people with kindness.
- Always compliment people.
10. Make people feel good about themselves.
The friendship licence
Carry the friendship licence around with you, it contains things like your name, age, who your friends are, a warning about abiding to the rules of friendship.
As part of the licence you must show the following qualities:
In order to have this licence you must:
- Be a friend to a person for at least a month
- Stick to the friendship code
- No fall outs
The Friendship Police
Will be proactive rather than reactive
Talk through people’s problems
Take people away for time out
Focus on solutions and how to resolve conflict
The attributes the friendship police must have are:
Talking behind a friends back – License taken away from you for 1 week
Excluding a friend – 3 points on your license
Excluding a friend x 2 – 6 points on your license
Excluding a friend often – Licence taken away until further notice
Disrespecting a friends property – 5 points on your license