6.2  Lesson One – Rules in my peer group


Time required: 40 minutes
Materials required: chart paper and marker pens

Teacher instructions:

The teacher introduces this lesson and the first section of the unit by exploring with the students the concepts of values, rules and “rules for living.” The students are informed that they will have the opportunity to reflect on values and rules in four dimensions of their lives: peer group, home life, sports and society.

The students are asked to name any rules or guidelines for living that are observed or followed in their peer groups. The teacher may want to give the students a little time to write these rules in their notebooks. Or, prior to the class, the teacher may invite the students to reflect and write on this subject.

The teacher should be aware that among the students, there will be some variance in terms of these rules and guidelines. If some students are unclear about or uncomfortable with the whole issue of “rules” in their peer group, the teacher may need to stimulate discussion on this subject and provide a few examples.

As the students share their “rules” or their thoughts on the issue of rules, the teacher or a student records these reflections in a “brainstorm” fashion on chart paper, under the heading “Peer Group Rules/Guidelines.”

Some sample rules or comments which may emerge from the brainstorm:

  • Never snitch on a friend
  • Always stand up for a friend
  • It is really important for me to take care of my friends
  • It makes me feel good to know that my friends will stand up for me
  • I should treat everybody in the best way that I can
  • Live life to the fullest – have fun wherever or whenever you can
  • I only follow rules that I like
  • I hate rules
  • We don’t need rules
  • Take care of yourself first
  • I want to make my own rules
  • Don’t trust parents, teachers, police (i.e. authority figures)
  • Maybe we need some rules if we want to get along
  • I am “Number One”; I take care of myself first
  • I don’t need to follow any rules in my life
  • I just want to have fun
  • Respect parents and family
  • Always do the right thing
  • “I” come first
  • Trust no one
  • I don’t need rules in my life
  • Be a good friend
  • There are too many rules in my life
  • I’ll treat other people the way they treat me
  • I believe in treating people nicely
  • Who needs rules?
  • I’ve never thought of rules as having anything to do with how I get along with my friends
  • I think we should try to help not just our friends, but other people as well
  • I have to take care of myself first, because if I don’t take care of myself, nobody else will

When the list of rules and reflections is completed, the teacher or one of the students read aloud some of the rules that have been listed on chart paper. Then, the teacher invites the students to discuss the content of the entire list. Here are some trigger questions that the teacher may wish to use to stimulate discussion:

  • How many of these rules apply to you and your peer group? Explain.
  • How many of these rules apply to you personally? Explain.
  • Are there some rules here that concern or upset you? Explain.
  • Are there some rules here that might help you get along with your friends or other members of your peer group? Explain.
  • Do you feel you need rules or guidelines for living in order to get along with your friends and other members of your peer group? Explain.
  • Do you need rules in order to live your life? Explain.
  • What is the most important rule for living your life? Explain.
  • If there were no rules or guidelines as to how you and your peers should treat one another, what would happen? Explain.
  • Are there some rules listed here that you would find difficult to follow in your own life? Explain.
  • Are there some rules here that you do not like? Explain.
  • Do you know someone who feels that rules are not important in his or her life? Explain.
  • If there were no rules in society, what would happen? Explain.
  • Do you as an individual have some rules that guide your life which are different from those of your peer group? Explain.
  • What is a rule?

Journal activity: Let’s write about it!

For journal questions to stimulate the students’ written reflections after or during class, see Appendix 2.

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