• Activity
  • Walking

Peer influences and developing assertive behaviour

Learning areas:
  • Health & Physical Education
Year levels:
  • Year 5
  • Year 6

Discuss the concept of assertive communication.

Have students role play scenarios involving peer group pressure to participate in unsafe pedestrian behaviour. Explore options available and strategies for managing influences from others to participate in unsafe behaviours. Ensure that the role plays not only explore the unsafe behaviour, but also include some strategies for dealing with them.

Possible scenarios:

A group of students is running late for school and as they approach a railway crossing, the bells start to ring and lights flash. There is no train in sight so the students in front jump the gate at the crossing.

A group of young people are walking beside the road. Several of them start to playfully push and shove each other. Cars have to brake and swerve.

Children getting off the bus decide to walk to the back of the bus and cross the road in front of traffic coming the other way.

Ask students to share any examples of similar types of situations where they may have taken a risk because they were with friends.

Discussion questions

  • In what way do friends influence the way in which you behave around roads and train tracks?
  • Are all influences negative?
  • How can friends influence each other to recognise dangers and increase safety?
  • Why might young people do risky things when walking?

Information for teachers

Assertive communication involves:

  • Active listening (following what is being said – as opposed to guessing, mind reading or interrupting)
  • Calmly communicating without causing conflict (being direct about what you want or will do, saying how you feel and matching your body language and voice tone with what you are actually saying).

Assertive communication dos and don’ts


  • Speak firmly
  • Use ‘I’ statements
  • Stand strong
  • Stay calm
  • Say how you feel


  • Apologise or say sorry
  • Whisper or speak softly
  • Get angry
  • Bully others
  • Look guilty or scared

Victorian curriculum

Health and PE

Level 5 & 6

Plan and practise strategies to promote health, safety and wellbeing (VCHPEP108)

Examine the influence of emotional responses on behaviour, relationships and health and wellbeing (VCHPEP110)

Personal and social capability

Level 5 & 6

Describe the various causes of conflict and evaluate possible strategies to address conflict (VCPSCSO033)