In their shoes

This strategy will help students to:

  • consider the different elements that influence a person's thoughts and decisions

  • develop an understanding of why people respond differently to different situations

  • show empathy and respect fo someone's situation


  1. Provide a rich, real-life scenario  - a character from a book at a certain point in the story, a short film, a news story. (e.g. Mel from Trusted Moments) 

  2. Ask a volunteer to play the character (NB: This person needs to be comfortable having a number of people standing close to them).  A prop such as a wig, hat, scarf, etc can be used to help indicate the character role

  3. Place the main character in a chair or standing in a spot in the middle of the room.

  4. Invite other class members to think of thoughts that may be in the characters head. For example:

  • Does he like me?

  • I don't feel comfortable in this outfit.

  • Will he think I'm easy?

  • Do I want to have sex?

  • I'm scared.

  1. As each class member provides their suggested thought, have them stand near to the character. The stronger the thought is in the characters head, the closer they stand to the character. (e.g. 'I'm scared' would be quite a strong thought in Mel's head, so they would stand quite close to Mel).

  2. Once there are at least 8 or 9 'thoughts' standing around the character, have all of the class members speak their 'thoughts' out loud over and over again. 

  3. Ask the character how they are feeling (e.g. overwhelmed, scared unsure, etc).

  4. Discuss how people always have multiple factors in their minds that impact their emotions, actions and decision making. 

  5. Ask the class members to provide some suggestions of how they would help support the character.