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Latest article

Youth day lesson plan: Developing skills to choose your friends

On 16 June, South Africa will be commemorating Youth Day. This is a 30-minute lesson plan aimed at the South African Senior Phase learners for use on Youth Day.

Learning outcome of this lesson
By the end of this lesson, the learners will be able to apply different ways to handle bad friends.

Introductory phase: How bad are bad friends?

Time allocation: 10 minutes

Objective of this activity: To find random solutions to situations where friends have a bad influence on others.

Instructions: Divide the class into five groups. Give each group an example of what bad friends can do and ask them how they suggest to handle the problem.


  1. A group of boys is playing cricket. A girl asks to join and is told, "No! Girls aren't any good at cricket!"
  2. A boy is being teased because his pants are too short and his shoes have holes.
  3. Two girls are close friends, and other kids start to tease them saying, "You're gay."
  4. Every day at the school, a boy teases another boy by saying, "Hey fatso! What's fatso up to today?"
  5. A new girl in the school doesn't speak English very well. (She has recently come from Angola.) Kids are teasing her by saying, "You're stupid. You talk funny."

Closure: Conclude the introduction with the fact that our friends do not always have our best interests at heart; they only want to satisfy their own needs. These are bad friends, but sometimes these are the only friends we have. So, how do we handle these kind of friends?

Presentation phase: What do I do with bad friends?

Time allocation: 5 minutes

Objective: To introduce the learners to different strategies on how to deal with bad friends.

Instructions: Write the following possible actions on the board or have them ready on posters which you will reveal. Allow the learners to read these and discuss them one by one.

Possible ways to deal with bad friends:

  1. Avoid the bad friend, using excuses.
  2. Try to remind yourself of the good qualities in your friend.
  3. Suggest other, less risky alternatives.
  4. Try to resolve the conflict by using the following six steps

Step 1: Identify and describe the problem

Step 2: Find a few possible solutions, ranging from good to bad


Step 3: Consider each solution



Step 4: Choose the best one




Step 5: Run with this choice





Step 6: Evaluate your choice.







Practice phase: Let's experiment!

Time allocation: 15 minutes

Objective: To create an opportunity to test the different ways of dealing with bad friends.

Instructions: Divide the class into four groups. Each group will apply a different strategy as mentioned in the previous activity. Ask learners to role play their strategy to the class. Allow short discussions afterwards. All the groups will have to deal with the following situation:

A boy and a girl are in a relationship. The boy feels it is time to take the relationship ‘to the next level' and suggests that they should make love. The girl feels that there are many dangers involved such as getting pregnant or becoming infected with HIV and other infections.

Closure: Let the class decide which solution worked best and why.

Did you know?

  • Approximately 13 million babies are born worldwide to women younger than 20 years every year.
  • The World Health Organization reports that 16 million girls between 16 and 19 years old give birth every year; this constitutes 11% of all births worldwide. The vast majority of these births occur in developing countries.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the world. An estimated rate of 143 per 1000 babies born occurs in women younger than 20 years.
  • In South Africa the rate is 66 per 1000 girls between the ages 15 to 19 years.
  • In the Western Cape it has been reported that 16% of all women between 15 and 19 years have been pregnant.

Closure / Enrichment / Homework
Ask the learners to write a personal declaration about what they will do to stay safe, free from any sexually transmitted infections, and take responsibility for their respective relationships. The educator could set the ball rolling by suggesting a few aspects:
I will respect my friends / girl friend / boy friend by:

  • Accepting and respecting their feelings
  • Respecting my own body
  • (Learners can add many more.)

Brochures to hand out in the classroom

  • HIV/AIDS and myths (pdf format, 384 Kb)
  • How do I make a decision? (pdf format, 129 Kb)

Author: Pieter Visser (BA, B.Ed)
Reviewed by:
Hendra van Zyl (MPH) Jean Fourie (M.Phil) and Michelle Moorhouse (MBBCh, DA)

Date: June 2014

Preferred citation
Visser, P. (2014) Youth day lesson plan: Developing skills to choose your friends, AfroAIDSinfo. Issue 14, no. 6, Education. (Open access).

Last updated: 31 May, 2014