Session 8.4

Working with young people


This opinion card activity is about raising awareness and challenging the perception of how young people are viewed by adults in society


White postcards with the opinions (one set for each group)


1 -1.5 hours

Group size

10 - 25 people


Ask people to form groups of four or five and give each group a set of opinion cards. Each person in the group picks an opinion card and reads it out. The person places than the card down on an imaginary line between two points: Agree and Disagree. You can use also the following pattern:

Other members of the group now say whether they support where the card lies or think it should be moved, giving their reasons.

Once the groups have finalised, everybody can walk around and look at the position of the opinion cards of the others. Open this out to a general discussion in the large group.

Some specific questions should also be posed:

• What opinions did most people agree/disagree with? Why?

• Was it easy or difficult to reach group agreement?

• Did they feel that each group member had an equal amount of speaking time?

Opinions about young people (*)

This are examples, of course you can add yours or ask the group to write statements about young people.

• Young people, as a rule take more from society than they give back.

• Young people think talking to adults about life is a waste of time.

• You need to learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else.

• You can't expect the world to look after you.

• Young people can make a big difference to the world.

• Young people can't influence anything in the adult world.

• It's important to live your life in the way that your friends do.

• It's important to live your life in a way that's true to yourself.

• Someone will always help you out when you need help in life.

• Young people are a bad influence on each other, they need adult discipline.

• Without the interference of adults, young people could make this a much better world.

• Young people respond well to adult encouragement in dealing with problems.


This session is intended to help the group address issues such as attitudes towards young people, needs of young people, working with young people etc. Either at this point or later this activity can form a useful base for discussion about the role of the peer coach.

A more active version of this session is possible with a small group. Draw in a room an imaginary line between two points. One point is labelled agree and the other disagree. Read out an opinion card and everybody must then stand where they want between the two points. Some people can give an explanation and say why they choose for this position, for those who perhaps do not have a strong opinion, the middle or centre can offer an 'undecided' position.

Techniques of using cards to supply information, which is to be the basis for discussion, are well tried and tested. The technique used in this activity is sometimes called "diamond ranking" and can be adapted to any topic. Another technique, which can also be adapted, is the "find the pairs, memory game", which is described in the activity, "Education for all" in Compass.

(* Extract from Just Us!: Young people in action with young people, by John Holt and Philip Hope, British Red Cross, 1994)

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