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Teachers: PSHE: Ability

Last Updated: Wednesday December 14 2005 12:51 GMT

Giving good advice

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Study and careers


Libby Rees
Ten-year-old Libby Rees has signed a deal to publish a self-help book she wrote when she was nine to help her cope with her parents splitting up.

Do the group have any experiences of school life that they could pass on as top tips for to help younger pupils deal with school life?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of kids advising other kids, rather than advice coming from teachers and professional counsellors?

Learning aims
  • Reflect on difficult times in the past
  • Structure thoughts on the experience

Read out this story from the Newsround website.

Ask the class:

  • What would be their top tip for kids in the year below on how to deal with the challenges they will face when they move up a year?

    Could you write some self help tips?
    Help, Hope and Happiness

  • How could they best communicate those tips?
    Prompt: Poster, handbook, make a video.

  • What are the strengths of getting advice from people who've 'been there and done that' ? Prompt: They have first hand experience, they were in the same position as you.

  • What sort of things do you have to be wary of when you receive this kind of advice. Prompt: They are just giving you their opinion, what worked for them will not necessarily work for you.

Ask students to rank these bits of advice in order of their usefulness:

A. If you have a timetable clash - then your head of year will sort it out.

B. The seat by the window in room 102 is my favourite.

C. Get a spare locker key cut, and leave it with your form tutor in case you lose your own.

D. Don't do media studies, I reckon it's rubbish.

E. Use a diary or planner to remind yourself about what homework is due in when.

F. If you're absent for a lesson, make sure you copy up the missing notes.

G. Darren is a plonker.

H. Never eat the fish in the school canteen, unless you like fish that is.

I. Take a pair of wellies on the geography field trip, otherwise your trainers get ruined.

J. Buy some decent folders to organise all your coursework in.

Get the group to feedback some of their rankings:

What do they notice about where the most personal observations have been ranked? They are likely to be ranked towards the bottom of the lists.

What kind of advice is likely to make it to the top of the list? Things that can help lots of people, advice that is useful to everyone.

Main activity

Come up with their own top tips for students in the year below who are moving up a year.

  • What should they know?
  • What should they do?
Bear in mind the exercise they have just completed and try to come up with things learnt by personal experience but of wider or universal usefulness.

Communicate the tips in any way they think appropriate: Flyer, poster video, rap etc


Getting advice is great, but it's good to be critical of any advice you receive. That way you can work out which bits of advice will be most helpful to you.

Teachers' Background

"I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and advise them to do it."

~ Harry S. Truman

This quote is funny but has a strong grain of truth. Giving good advice is often about listening to other people, and then offering observations based on your own experience. You should aim to help people see more clearly what their options are, not just tell them what you would do in their shoes.

For hundreds more lesson plans, click on Teachers on the left hand side.

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