Social awkwardness is a part of life, especially for young people as they grow and change during adolescence. This lesson helps to break the stigma of talking about social awkwardness, or ‘cringe’ moments, and supports students to identify practical strategies to help them navigate social awkwardness.

Year level



60 minutes


In class activity

Take away activity

SEL Competencies



Social awareness

Relationship skills

Learning intention

Students understand what social awkwardness is and identify practical strategies they can use in social settings when feeling awkward.

Key outcomes

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

  • recognise the different feelings and behaviours associated with social awkwardness

  • identify practical strategies they might like to use when feeling awkward in social settings

  • reflect on the effectiveness of any strategies they have used to navigate social awkwardness, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Materials needed

  • Access to article A guide to conquering social awkwardness

  • Post-it notes

  • Blank pieces of paper

  • Students’ notebooks

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Analyse factors that influence emotional responses and devise strategies to self-manage emotions (AC9HP8P06)

  • Evaluate emotional responses in different situations to refine strategies for managing emotions (AC9HP10P06)

  • Explain and apply skills and strategies to communicate assertively and respectfully when seeking, giving or denying consent (AC9HP8P07)

  • Examine how strategies, such as communicating choices, seeking, giving and denying consent, and expressing opinions and needs can support the development of respectful relationships, including sexual relationships (AC9HP10P07)

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Personal and Social Capability:

    • Self-awareness

    • Self-management

    • Social awareness

    • Social management

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

  • Applies and refines interpersonal skills to assist themselves and others to interact respectfully and promote inclusion in a variety of groups or contexts (PD4-10)

  • Critiques their ability to enact interpersonal skills to build and maintain respectful and inclusive relationships in a variety of groups or contexts (PD5-10)

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Analyse factors that influence emotions, and develop strategies to demonstrate empathy and sensitivity (VCHPEP128)

  • Evaluate situations and propose appropriate emotional responses and then reflect on possible outcomes of different responses to health and wellbeing (VCHPEP147)

Show details

Activity 1

Look, sound and feel: Social awkwardness

20 minutes

  1. Draw a large Y-chart on the whiteboard with the labels:

    • 'Looks like'

    • 'Sounds like'

    • 'Feels like'

  2. Give students time to think about times they might have felt socially awkward and what this looked like, felt like and sounded like for them.

  3. Students share their thoughts with a partner, pick their top answers for each label, and write them on the board. Students also have the option of doing this activity individually in their notebooks.

  4. As a class, discuss some of their answers, reminding students that it’s common to feel socially awkward at times.

Activity 2

Think, pair, share: Navigating social awkwardness

30 minutes

  1. Have students access and read the ReachOut article A guide to conquering social awkwardness. This includes tips and strategies for managing and overcoming feelings of social awkwardness.

  2. Use a ‘Think, pair, share’ routine to give students the chance to practise some of these tips and strategies while talking about them.

    • STEP 1: Students identify what their favourite, or most useful, tips and strategies are in the guide, and why.

    • STEP 2: Students pair up with a partner to discuss their answers, making sure to ask each other questions, and to listen carefully to their partner and be mindful of their body language.

    • STEP 3: Pairs then take it in turns to share a summary of their answers with the whole class.

Activity 3

Take-away activity: Exit tickets

10 minutes

  1. Students write down on a blank piece of paper a strategy they could use if they were to find themselves feeling socially awkward outside of class – e.g. in the playground, at an event, or when meeting new people.

  2. Collect students’ tickets as they leave the classroom.

  3. In a follow-up lesson, give students a Post-it note to write down their thoughts about any scenarios where they used their own or another strategy.

  4. Students can then add their Post-it note to the whiteboard as a summary and reflection.


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