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Peer Pressure Classroom Role Plays

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Peer pressure is a very real issue for kids in every grade. However, the ability for students to role play out different scenarios can help them find ways to combat this behavior.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure can have different causes and may have positive or negative effects. An example of positive peer pressure is friends pushing one another to do better in school, which is a good thing. However, negative peer pressure can result in fighting, self-harm, or bullying, just to name a few effects.

Peer pressure can be very subtle, which makes it hard for some students to recognize. Yet, even more blatant peer pressure can still be challenging for students to be objective about, because they are trying so hard to fit in. A good way to teach students to recognize and respond to peer pressure is to create role plays in the classroom where the situation is safe, and kids can react honestly. The following role plays address common types of peer pressure.

Normative Social Pressure

Normative social pressure, also known as normative influence is a type of peer pressure that inspires people to conform to a group. For example, when a group of students is doing something or have something that seems cool and interesting, others may want to do ow own the same thing to fit into the group. Students are not directly pressured to fit in but feel the need to conform nevertheless.

Normative Social Pressure Role Play

For this role play, you need two groups to commit to the roles. The first needs to be 4-6 students that have the newest smart phones. They can be sitting and playing them, laughing and showing each other the neat things that their phones do. The students not involved in the role-play can explain how they feel about the students and their cool phones. Then do the exact same role-play, but replace the phones with cigarettes or alcohol (fake of course) to show students that the yearning to be in that crowd is still the same, but could lead to negative consequences.

Rejection Peer Pressure

Rejection peer pressure involves students being turned down for friendship or activities because they are not cool enough or a specific type of person. This type of peer pressure happens a lot, so it is good for students to be able to spot it.

Rejection Peer Pressure Role Play

For this role play, place sticky notes under half of the chairs before class starts. Then when the students come in, have them choose their own seat. Once all of the students are seated, have them look under the chair to see who has the sticky note. Tell them that those with a sticky note will get a prize after class, while those without a sticky note will not. At this point, you will have part of a class that is happy, and another part that is not.

Now pair two prize-winning students with two students who did not have a sticky note. Have them all act out a rejection role play about two students that exclude two other students from a night out. Watch the behavior from both sets of students to see how the prize winning changes their behavior. You might find that you have two students who are happy and active in the event, and two who are grumpy. Once the role play is over, explain that everyone gets a prize (candy is easy) and explain rejection peer pressure and the reasoning behind your set up.

Insult and Influential Peer Pressure

Insult peer pressure happens a lot in school when kids call each other names or bully one another. However, kids can be desensitized to this and not recognize it for what it is, so it is important to show the realities of this type of peer pressure.

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