Purpose: Students practice techniques to improve their assertiveness.
1. Students create a class mission statement regarding assertiveness.
Explain to students that a mission statement describes a philosophy and a course of action to reach a goal. The class will now create a mission statement that will guide them toward the goal of assertive behavior.
Elicit from the class a philosophy on assertive behavior. If necessary, offer students this prompt: “We believe that assertive behavior is essential to achieving success.”
You may wish to suggest that students add statements such as the following: “As assertive people, we are confident. We express our needs and opinions comfortably. We are sensitive to the feelings and needs of others. We have the right to be listened to and taken seriously, and we recognize that right for others.”
2. Students list their strengths and weaknesses.
Tell students that they will need to practice assertive behavior. Distribute the “Developing Assertiveness Skills: Personal Characteristics” activity sheet.
Ask students to recall the earlier discussion about the characteristics that passive, aggressive, and assertive people display. Then, ask students to consider their own behavior patterns. Have students list on the activity sheet the strengths and weaknesses they possess that relate to assertive behavior. Remind students to think of their behavior in light of the class discussion and role plays.
3. Students identify a weakness to improve.
Ask students to select one of the weaknesses they’ve written on the activity sheet that they would like to improve (e.g., lack of initiative, shyness).
Explain that being assertive requires self-confidence. Remind students that confidence is built largely through their efforts to focus on their strengths. Explain that the more they build their confidence by continuing to identify and improve upon their weaknesses, the easier it will be for them to assert themselves.
4. Students develop an action plan to improve their assertiveness.
Distribute a copy of the “Developing Assertiveness Skills: Action Plan” activity sheet to each student.
Have students complete the action plan. Review the steps of an action plan that were taught in lesson 1:
- Determine your long-term goal.
- Establish stepping-stone goals.
- Set deadlines for completing each goal.
- Complete each step on time.
- Continue until you attain your goal.
Tell students that they will evaluate and record their progress daily, so they should write the action plan in a format that is easy to read and consider.
Give students time in class for a week or two to develop the habit of evaluating their action plans and progress. Explain that as they develop self-confidence, they should continue to practice assertive behavior. Tell them to be more open, to express their ideas, and to show acceptance of others. Encourage students to act in a confident way. Remind them that being assertive becomes easier the more they practice such behavior. Explain that people will respect them more when they act assertively.