An activity exploring what makes us feel comfortable that leads to discussion about strategies for facing uncomfortable situations.
KS3 | 15 Mins | Teacher led
KEY QUESTION: How comfortable are we in different situations? Are there things we can do to handle situations we find uncomfortable?
This activity should only be done with a group of learners who are very secure with one another and the teacher. This is a physical activity involving moving around the room. There will be an imaginary or a taped line on the floor across the length of the space, and learners will stand on the line depending on their responses to key questions. It is important for learners to feel that worries, concerns or feeling uncomfortable are something they can share with others. The activity is a useful ‘platform where learners can develop their self awareness and learn how to manage and articulate their feelings and attitudes’. You could ask learners to draw their responses on a line if you feel they would feel shy about sharing their answers. Use as many different questions as possible to keep learners moving around.
- Explain that feeling uncomfortable is something that we all experience and if we recognise it then we can deal with it and work to avoid running away from it. Share and discuss these quotes about finding things difficult and doing them anyway.
“There are two kinds of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”
“If you don’t fail now and then, it means you aren’t reaching far enough, and you aren’t growing.”
John Paul Getty
- Explain to the group that the line on the floor represents how comfortable we feel and the activity will involve listening to each question, and then positioning yourself on the line depending on how comfortable you feel in the situation given. The line will range from comfortable, to a little stretched, to quite stretched, to uncomfortable.
- You can demonstrate this line by walking along it and describing the different feelings, using your body language to help represent the emotion to help learners understand (as you become more uncomfortable you can move more stiffly and nervously. You could extend it to demonstrating feelings of panic by waving your arms above your head as you describe something you feel really uncomfortable about. Learners can also mimic this body language as they complete the activity if this engages them).
This activity will benefit from a light humoured touch and it’s important that you create an environment where learners are comfortable with sharing the fact that they are comfortable or uncomfortable – make sure the questions you ask create a lot of movement from one end of the line to the other.
If you sense that ‘group think’ is developing keep your questions very light and maybe return to the activity another time. You may find with some groups that they would prefer to draw a line on a piece of paper and record their answers in a small group or individually.
- Ask the following or alternative questions, and ask learners to choose a place to stand on the line. Each time you can ask one or two learners to volunteer to say more about their feelings and why they think they feel that way.
How comfortable do you feel about using the Internet?
How comfortable do you feel about learning through writing activities?
How comfortable do you feel about learning through drama activities?
How comfortable do you feel when you are watching your favourite TV programme?
How comfortable would you feel about playing sport?
How comfortable are you talking about yourself to new people?
How comfortable do you feel working in mixed up groups (not with people you sit next to, or friends you’d choose to work with)?
Some specific questions related to linking could include:
How comfortable do you feel about visiting a new place?
How comfortable do you feel about having guests in your class?
How comfortable are you about the meeting we will have with link partners?
Now you have met your link partners, how comfortable do you now feel about working with new people?
- Explain that it is great that some feel comfortable in the above situations, but that also sometimes it is good to feel a little uncomfortable, or out of our comfort zones, and that it is usual or normal to feel that way.
Some people say that when we feel a little uncomfortable, that is when we learn most about ourselves and other people. However, if we are really uncomfortable then we are not able to learn or work with others, so the class could discuss some strategies to help when people feel uncomfortable. The SEAL and the Global Dimension resources website has some activity ideas for children to deal with worries, called A Worry Shared. See web tab right to access these. You will need to sign up to access, but this is free.
Based on original material created by The Linking Network and Lifeworlds Learning