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  Balancing demands
Updated 30 June 2004, 19.05

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


British school girl Katie O'Brien hotfooted it from exam hall to tennis court to play in the Wimbledon Championship.

Following in her footsteps, students learn how to achieve their potential by balancing and prioritising conflicting demands.

Learning Aims

Students learn to:

  • Prioritise
  • Set goals with timescales
  • Alter their weekly timetable to achieve their goals
  • Juggle demands

Teaching Ideas

1. Icebreaker

Read the story:

Ask students:

  • How would you cope if you had to put in hours of tennis coaching and revise for your exams at the same time?
  • How many hours a day, out of 16, would you spend revising?
  • How many hours a day would you spend playing tennis?

Students imagine it is 3.15pm and they have been asked to do the following things - tonight!:

Computer games

  • Complete a piece of PSHE homework
  • Tidy their bedroom
  • Hang out at their friend's house
  • Turn up for tennis coaching
  • Play their brother or sister at their favourite PS2 game
  • Listen to a friend's music CD before giving it back tomorrow
  • Watch their favourite TV show

Students prioritise the list, putting them in order of importance. They make a note of any activities that could be done another day.

2. Main activity

Students draw up a weekly timetable of their activities, showing what they do every hour from 7am to 11pm each day.

Using a different colour for each, students shade in the boxes relating to:

  • School and home work
  • Favourite hobby, sport or interest
  • Socialising with friends and family
  • Watching TV/playing computer games
  • Other

Students count the number of hours each week, out of a total of 112, they spend doing each activity.

Students imagine they want to become a champion at their hobby, sport or interest.
They write down their goal and a time scale. For example:

  • To play football for England by the age of 18
  • To star in a Hollywood film by the age of 15
  • To teach their dog to jump through a record number of hoops in a minute

Students draw up a new weekly time table that includes the training needed to achieve their goal.

Students once again count the number of hours spent on the following:

  • School and home work
  • Favourite hobby, sport or interest
  • Socialising with friends and family
  • Watching TV/playing computer games
  • Other

Based on one day's planned activity, students write a diary entry.

They should include:

Writing a diary

  • How they feel about their success based on the intensive training
  • What they feel they are missing out on
  • Their energy levels
  • Their stress levels

3. Extension activity

Role play: Student A is struggling to keep up with school and home work because of outside activities.
Eg. Swimming training every day before and after school is making them tired during lessons.

Student B is A's teacher.

A and B discuss the problem and work out a solution.
E.g. Swimming every other morning or doing homework at weekends when A is less tired.

4. Plenary

Recap on the main teaching point:
The importance of balancing demands and prioritising to achieve a goal.

Students share their diary entries with the class.

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
SportTennis girl sits exam before game
Find OutA guide to stress
ClubMy Diary: Tennis player
ClubI'm hoping to be a professional footballer


Past StoriesBORDER=0
Teen juggles exams and Wimbledon
Ten top tips from tennis coach Stuart
Real-life Bend It Like Beckham star



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