TLN Blog: Change Places If… Linking and Character Education

09/11/2019

Fifty-nine children and ten adults stand in huge, slightly wonky, circle which spans the whole of M6 Theatre’s performance space in Rochdale.  You could hear a pin drop. All eyes are on Caroline, leading the workshop. She smiles.  ‘Remember, only do this if it’s true for you. Change places if… you’ve ever been brave.’

Fifty-five children set off for another space in the circle.  Four look a little unsure.  ‘Did you speak to someone new today?’ asks one of the TAs to an anxious-looking boy.  He nods.  ‘Were you nervous?’ asks the TA.  The boy nods again.  There is a pause. ‘I was brave?’ he ventures.  A smile spreads across his face and he heads off to find a space somewhere else.

‘Change places if… you’ve ever climbed a climbing frame’. Fifty-eight children move.  ‘I don’t like climbing frames,’ states one girl, feet firmly stuck to the floor. ‘That’s ok,’ says her friend who is on the go, ‘we can like different things.’

According to the DfE ‘character’ is a complex concept.  It has several overlapping facets, from the ability to remain motivated by long-term goals, to the learning and habituation of positive moral attributes.  Positive character traits include courtesy, respect, truthfulness, courage and generosity.

Change places if… offers so many opportunities for all children to participate.  It creates the space to explore who we are without having to use our voices.  It also offers the opportunity for children to consider and accept differences and similarities.

‘Change places if… you know a real-life superhero.’
‘You’re’ a superhero Sir,’ says one small boy to his teacher, ‘so I can change places.’

Over the course of the game, the circle gets wonkier.  Everyone gets the change to move. Everyone gets the chance to hold their ground.  There’s strength found in both. Fifty-nine children and ten adults show courtesy, respects, generosity of spirit and a whole lot of courage.

Character education framework guidance shares that developing character will help drive equality and social mobility for pupils.   Change places if you’re up for that

Blog by Erica Field, Rochdale Schools Linking