Assertive Communication Activities for High School

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been part of the whirlwind world of teaching middle school for 20 years. She has a Master of Education degree in instructional design.

Assertive communication skills must be practiced before students are ready to utilize them in real life. Check out these activities to help students apply their communication skills knowledge in a fun and engaging way.

Assertive Communication Activities

These activities bring assertive communication lessons to life! Students will engage in role play, real-world application, and fun exercises that require them to apply knowledge about different styles. These activities are designed to be used with partners or teams.

''It's not you, it's me.''

Using I- Statements is one method to ensure that the messages we send each other are assertive, but not aggressive. In this activity, students will role play using conflict resolution scenarios and a focus on I- Statements.

As a class, brainstorm common conflicts that high school students may face with friends, parents, or other people in their lives. Partner students and have each partnership select a conflict from the list. Provide students time to talk through the scenario to identify some specifics for each side of the conflict. Students can create a simple t-chart on notebook paper and record their ideas in two columns - ''me'' and ''you''. For example, if they selected ''curfew'' from the list, they could write down the following details in the ''me'' column: ''curfew too early, hasn't changed since I was 12, friends are out later, and have been responsible in the past''.

After students have brainstormed, ask that they choose a role. Then, provide time for them to conduct the conversation using You- Statements. ''You haven't changed my curfew since I was 12.'' Provide the same amount of time for them to conduct the conversation using I- Statements. ''I have had the same curfew for years now.'' Debrief by asking the class to reflect on the results of each conversation style. Which style would more likely get them to a resolution satisfactory to both sides?

  • Materials: Notebook paper, writing utensils

The Interrupters

Active listening is an important part of assertive communication. In this activity, students are provided with tongue twisters and asked to listen and restate or rephrase the message.

Partner students and provide them with a list of at least four tongue twisters. Partner A reads a tongue twister. Partner B listens and responds by restating or rephrasing the statement. For example, if partner A says, ''Sally sells seashells by the seashore'', partner B may respond, ''What I hear you saying is that if I want some seashells, I should go to the seashore to buy them from Sally.'' For an added twist, team students and have them come up with a few odd or humorous statements of their own for other teams to use. In teams, student A will read the phrase and students B, C, and D will all have to restate or rephrase in a new way.

To wrap up, have students reflect on the process of using active listening and response skills by posing discussion questions, such as: How could they apply this in their own lives? What conversations have they had recently in which they could have applied these skills? What would happen to their relationships with family and friends if they used restatement and rephrase techniques more frequently in difficult conversations?

  • Materials: tongue twisters, notebook paper, writing utensils

Communication Posters

Visuals can help students process information and prepare them to use it in the real world. In this activity, student teams create a fictional character with a specific communication style.

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