How to have difficult conversations

Sometimes, students find it difficult to stand up to their friends and explain how they feel. This lesson gives students the space to practise saying how they feel and the confidence to face difficult conversations.

Year Level



60 minutes


  • In class activity
  • Online learning

SEL Competencies

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship skills

Learning Intention

Students develop the confidence and skills to have difficult conversations with friends.

Key Outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify strategies for having difficult conversations with friends.
Activity 01

Brainstorm: How to have difficult conversations 10 min

Explain to students that, in certain scenarios, it’s important to have difficult conversations. These conversations might make them feel nervous, uncomfortable and anxious; however, they can help resolve conflicts and help others understand how they are feeling.

  1. Place sheets of butcher’s paper around the room (or virtual equivalent), headed with the following five questions:
    • Who might you have difficult conversations with?
    • What might you have difficult conversations about?
    • When might be a good time to have a difficult conversation?
    • How could the conversation help you?
    • Why is it important to have these conversations?
  2. Separate students into five groups.
  3. Groups spend two minutes at each poster before rotating to the next one. Students write down any thoughts they have in answer to each question.
  4. Once finished, students in the last group read out the answers on their poster.
  5. Discuss any surprising or key ideas with the class.