This section has students look at how they act, feel, and think. Topics covered include self-esteem, social image, decision-making skills, and personal values (what is important to each student). The activities are designed to provide students with a chance to practice decision making and to empower them to make healthy choices.
As noted in Activity One, researchers have found that low self-esteem is a strong influential factor in the decision to experiment with tobacco. This activity will give students the opportunity to consider and reflect upon their own self-esteem.
Share the digital activity link below with your students. Then, explain to them that self-esteem is a term that describes how we see ourselves, and how we either do or don’t accept ourselves as we are.
The statements in the chart come in three clusters:
Ask students to give careful thought to each statement, and then move the statement to the category that best applies (“Agree” or “Disagree”).
Explain to students that the responses they give might be different today than they were six months ago, or might be different six months from now. You might help them out by offering some concrete examples. For instance, for number 7, set up a scenario in which a young person has moved to a new town in the middle of the school year. How hard will it be for that person to make new friends? Ask students why some students will find it difficult and others will not.
After students have completed the survey, give them time to reflect on their responses and then open up the class for discussion. Acknowledge how difficult it can be to discuss these sorts of issues openly, and reinforce honesty and forthrightness as they open up about these sensitive issues. Ask your students to consider the following:
Next, have students look at their completed activities to see if they selected “Disagree” for any statement in 1 through 4, or 10 through 14. Likewise, did they “Agree” with any statement in 5 through 9? If so, open the discussion to talk about things they might be able to do to “switch categories.” For example, if it’s hard for them to meet new people, what could they do to become more comfortable with it? They could hang around with a friend who is more outgoing than they are so that they meet new people with the friend.
Emphasize to students that lots of people have something about themselves that they would like to change. Maybe they wish they were less shy, better at sports, better singers, etc.
Ask your students if they think some people believe using tobacco will make them feel better about themselves. Explain that some young people who experiment with tobacco do so because they have a low self-image, or they don’t feel good about themselves.1 Explain that this is not a healthy choice to make to feel better about yourself. Discuss alternative, positive choices people their age could make to feel better about themselves.
When you want to bring the conversation to a close, emphasize how all people have things about themselves they feel good about and things they want to change. Stress the fact that the students may have more power to make positive changes than they realize.