Lesson 1 – Under Pressure

Slide 1-2 - Introduction: Under Pressure

To begin this session which looks at ‘pressure’, play a short sketch from Zoe and Joey called, “Under Pressure”.

Click to play film.

In the sketch, Zoe applies two strategies for putting Joey under pressure to give her his last piece of chocolate: spoken (direct) pressure and unspoken (indirect) pressure.

Slide 3 - Introduction: Under Pressure

Reveal the key phrase on the screen, “Feeling Pressured”, and explain that in this session we are going to explore what it means to feel or experience ‘pressure’.

Invite the children to discuss in pairs reasons people might put pressure on them. Discuss some examples and then click to reveal the following list to see if and how their examples fit into the following categories:

• To act a certain way
• To look a certain way
• To reach certain academic or skills based targets
• To do something they don’t want to
• To be made to feel like they don’t have a choice

Explain that:

Pressure is the feeling that someone is pushing you toward a certain choice, good or bad.

Slide 4 - Teaching: Under Pressure - Explained

Click to play the follow-up film, “Under Pressure – Explained”.

Zoe and Joey explain that there are two kinds of pressure:

Spoken Pressure – Also called direct pressure. It’s when a person asks you directly to do something, or says things to you that push you toward a certain choice.
Unspoken Pressure – Also called indirect pressure. It’s when nothing is actually said to you, but because you see others doing something, you feel pressure to make a certain choice.

They also reiterate the teaching given in the last section, that people might feel pressure:
• To act a certain way
• To look a certain way
• To reach certain academic or skills based targets
• To do something they don’t want to
• To be made to feel like they don’t have a choice

Slide 5 - Role Play Scenarios: Putting on the Pressure

In this role play activity, children will be given scenarios to rehearse in small groups, where each scenario depicts a different kind of spoken or unspoken pressure. When these scenarios are performed to the class, the audience will be asked to identify from a list – or ‘bag of tricks’ – what type of pressure they witnessed and to describe how it could make someone feel. You will need to hand:

• 6 x Appendix 1: Pressure Bag of Tricks, cut up (put these in 6 bags if you have them)
• 1 x Appendix 2: Putting on the Pressure (roleplay scenarios), cut up
• 1 per child x Appendix 3: Pupil Response Sheet (optional)

In advance of this activity, it is advisable to read through the scenarios to decide the best allocation and groupings for your class.

Detailed Instructions:
1. Put the class into 6 small groups. Give out Appendix 1: Pressure Bag of Tricks to each group and talk through what each of the ‘tricks’ are. Explain that each group will be portraying one of these tricks in a scene that they will perform to the class.

2. Give each group one scenario from Appendix 2: Putting on the Pressure (roleplay scenarios). Each group’s scenario shows one of the ‘tricks’ they have just discussed – and they are not to tell other groups what their ‘trick’ is, as the class will be asked to guess it later!

3. Give groups a time limit in which to rehearse their scenarios. Use the following to discuss expectations, you might like to type these or your own agreements on to the screen:
• Everyone in the group should be involved and treated respectfully.
• No specific situations or names should be used that could identify or embarrass anyone.
• Groups should work hard to demonstrate the ‘trick’ well enough for other students to identify it.
• The person being pressured in the scene may react but is not to respond verbally to the pressure.
• All actors are to stop when the teacher calls “Freeze” at the end of the performance.

Slide 6 - Role Play Scenarios: Putting on the Pressure

Before starting the performances, explain that after a group has finished, a spokesperson for each of the other groups should hold up the pressure type from Appendix 1: Pressure Bag of Tricks that they think the scene demonstrated. They should justify their answers. After this, the correct answer should be revealed by the performance group.

Watch the performances, stopping in between each to identify the pressure type and if using, fill out student response sheets:
• If using Appendix 3: Pupil Response Sheet, children should fill out the relevant line after each performance, where they identify the spoken or unspoken pressure ‘trick’ and choose from a word bank to describe how it might feel to experience it.
• If not using the sheets, discuss as a class how it might feel to experience each kind of pressure.

Slide 7 - Discussion: Can Pressure Be Good?

Ask the children for examples of times when pressure might be a good thing. Take the lead from pupils about examples of good pressure and use some of your own examples in order to develop the idea that some pressure can be good.

Click on the screen to reveal two situations in which pressure can be good:

• Dad: “Eat your vegetables or you won’t get dessert.”
• Mum: “You have a test coming up and need to study for it.”

The click to reveal the key learning point:

Pressure can be good when the person has our best interests at heart and doesn’t harm our emotional well-being when applying it.

Slide 8 - Teaching: How To Resist and Cope With Pressure

On screen, 10 tips on how to resist pressure will appear with each mouse click. Spend a few moments discussing each tip with your pupils. There are some further notes below which might help you communicate more substance about each suggestion.

1. Take time out
Taking yourself out of a pressure situation for a short time can be really helpful.

2. Do something else for a while
Eg exercise, read, see a movie, listen to music.

3. Talk to someone and ask for help
It might friends, parents, a teacher, a priest or a youth leader.

4. Take a fresh look at the problem; brainstorm new solutions.

5. Don’t be overly critical of yourself; give yourself a break.

6. Think about your good qualities
Remember your past achievements and think about your good qualities instead of getting stuck in a negative spiral.

7. Don’t take on more than you can handle
Learn your limits!

8. Put things in perspective; pressure usually passes

9. Keep a journal
Writing things down can really help you to reflect on the situation.

10. Use your sense of humour
Eg make a joke about eating those vegetables

Slide 9 - Personal Activity: Under Pressure - Learning to Identify and Resist Pressure

Children should complete the ‘Under Pressure’ activity in their Module 2 Activity Workbook.

Today’s activity asks children to identify good and bad pressures as spoken or unspoken. There are opportunities to record the types of pressure they might personally face and strategies they can use to resist and manage these pressures.

It is advisable for children to complete these workbook activities independently. You might like to play music in the background to encourage focus, before bringing the class back together to conclude.

Slide 10 - Final Prayer and Song

Slide 11 - Final Prayer and Song

Click to play the song for this Unit: Be My Stronghold