Playlist teacher guide - Belonging

Playlist information

Playlist summary

This playlist explores the importance of belonging and practical strategies for connecting in groups.

Playlist purpose

As a result of engaging with the media items in this playlist students will:

  • Understand the importance of belonging to different groups.
  • Explore how different people create a sense of belonging.
  • Explore how to deal with feeling left out of a group.

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Learning objectives

  • Understand the impact that peer groups can have on identity and self-worth.
  • Understand how to behave respectfully and ethically as a member of a peer group.
  • Develop the skills and confidence to know when and how to leave a peer group or end a peer / group relationship if there are conflicts or problems.

Key messages

  • Transition from primary to high school sees changes in peer connections which can impact on wellbeing and behaviours.
  • Effective interpersonal skills can support young people to negotiate and establish new relationships with different people during this period.
  • We all need to feel a sense of belonging and during adolescence peer groups and friendships can provide these connections.

Year level(s) appropriate for

Year 7, Year 8, Year 9

Australian curriculum links

Investigate the benefits of relationships and examine their impact on their own and others’ health and wellbeing.

Evaluate strategies to manage personal, physical and social changes that occur as they grow older.

Investigate the impact of transition and change on identities.

Analyse factors that influence emotions, and develop strategies to demonstrate empathy and sensitivity.

Evaluate factors that shape identities and critically analyse how individuals impact the identities of others.

Examine the impact of changes and transitions on relationships.

Propose, practise and evaluate responses in situations where external influences may impact on their ability to make healthy and safe choices.

Investigate how empathy and ethical decision making contribute to respectful relationships.

Media items

Belonging introduction

Type: Slides.

Duration: 5 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: These slides introduce the Belonging playlist.

Teacher notes:

Slide 1: Belonging means

Belonging means acceptance as a member or participant in a group.

Belonging to a group helps us feel valued, needed and accepted by others.

Slide 2: Belonging looks, feels, sounds like …

As a class or in small groups complete a Y chart  of what belonging looks like, feels like, sounds like. Discuss whether it feels different.

Slide 3: How can it feel if you don’t belong?

Brainstorm what it feels like if you don’t belong or fit in to a group or social situation. Ask students to share voluntarily situations when they haven’t felt like they fitted in. Discuss what strategies students could have used to deal with these situations.

Why is belonging and fitting in so important?

Type: Page.

Duration: 5 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Group membership connects us with others that share our interests, values or experience and provides us with attention and support. We feel noticed, valued and needed. When we belong to a group, we feel part of something larger and more important than our individual selves.

Teacher notes:

When teaching about belonging it is important to emphasise that belonging is when your friendship group or peer group accepts you for who you are. They don’t expect you to change or do things differently to fit in or conform with expectations they have of their group members.

In this age group students can be strongly influenced by their peers. Often this influence will not be overt pressure from their peers but will be more subtle and can simply be that an individual thinks their peers will disapprove of a particular behaviour or way of dressing and will change their behaviour or dress to try to impress and fit in.

Be yourself

Type: Page.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: It’s difficult to avoid online and media messaging about how we should act, what we should wear and eat, the music we should like and what movies we should watch. When you use social media, do you ever think twice about posting something online because you are worried about whether your friends will “like” it or not?

Teacher notes:

In this content we make the distinction between offline and online worlds in order to explore the different types of identities young people may form and how they can be different in the online and offline world. However, many young people will not make a sharp distinction between the online and offline and this should be recognised when teaching this content.

Suggested activities:

Ask students if they have ever thought twice about posting something online because they worried about whether their friends would “like” it or not.

Discuss the impact that functionality such as “likes” on Facebook and twitter, “heart” on Instagram and views on YouTube can have on what we post online.

What does it mean to be yourself?

Type: Video.

Duration: 15 minutes.

Source: TEDx Talks. ()

Summary: In a society driven by image and success, learning how to be yourself is one of the most difficult things you'll ever do. This video explores how the fear of not being good enough prevents us making an impact and achieving our dreams.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Have you ever created an online illusion through your social media account in order to fit in with your peers? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    There are some people who purposefully create a highly edited version of themselves online. Discuss with the class:

    • What might inspire the ‘illusions’ that some people create of themselves online?
    • Are there role models or celebrities that young people try to emulate?
    • What is it about these celebrities that make them popular?
    • Why do you think people create an edited version of themselves online?
    • Can you trust someone’s online version to be the real them when you meet them face to face?

Are you living an Insta lie? Social media vs…

Type: Video.

Duration: 3 minutes.

Source: Ditch the Label. ()

Summary: There’s’ a tendency when using social media to only post about the good stuff that is happening in our lives. Are we our true selves online and does it really matter?

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Is your online self a true reflection of your offline self? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    Discussion points:

    The nature of social media tools is such that we all have a tendency to only post about the good stuff that is happening in our lives. In doing this we are creating an image of who we are and what is important to us that may only be a part of our whole story.

    Most of us at some time or other will feel like we have to change who people think we are in order to belong or fit in. That’s a natural feeling but we don’t have to make it a part of our life. The beauty of being human is that every single one of us is unique – there's no other person who is exactly the same as us. We will all like different things, have different experiences and be interested in different activities. Sometimes your likes and interests may not line up with those of your peers. That doesn’t mean that you need to stop liking or doing what you enjoy or posting about it online.

How to Be Uncool & Not Care What People Think

Type: Video.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: Soul Pancake. ()

Summary: Everyone thinks they want to be ‘cool’. But what's the fun in doing what's cool if it means you don't get to do what you really love?

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Have you ever pretended not to like something because you were worried about what your friends would think? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    Discussion points:

    Belonging in a group means being accepted for who you are and what you like. If you truly belong in a group then your friends will accept you regardless of your taste in music, your choice of clothes, your hobbies or your favourite band.

    Diversity within groups makes them richer and more fun because you get to share in the experiences of other members. You get to learn new things, experience new activities, which can make us a better person. So don’t ever hide your true self – if your group are true friends they’ll accept you for who you are and what music you listen to!

I’m too Awkward for My Own Good

Type: Video.

Duration: 6 minutes.

Source: Jaiden Animations. ()

Summary: We’ve all experienced feeling socially awkward. It can be hard when you’re meeting someone for the first time to know what to talk about.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Have you ever felt socially awkward? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    Discussion points:

    One on one conversations can often be the scene of awkwardness for people. It can be hard when you’re meeting someone for the first time to know what to talk about.

    Ask students to brainstorm some conversation starters that they can use to kick start a conversation with someone they have never met before.

Feeling lonely

Type: Page.

Duration: 3 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: You don’t need to be alone to feel lonely. You can feel lonely in the middle of a group of friends or family. It happens to all of us and when it does it can be pretty confusing.

Teacher notes:

Make available links to the following sites in case this information raises any issues for your students.

Suggested activities:

Discuss strategies that students can use to connect with people if they are feeling lonely. Ask students to brainstorm places they can go or events they can attend in their local community to meet new people.

Additional activities:

Project – focused activities

In a good society people look out for one another and make sure that everyone is travelling OK and feeling like they are connected to their community. But sometimes members of the community might feel lonely for many different reasons. Discuss what students can do if they see someone at school who looks like they may be lonely or not connected with a group.

Belonging: How can I deal with feeling left…

Type: Video.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: PROJECT ROCKIT. ()

Summary: We all need to play a part in making sure that everyone feels included and no-one feels left out. What can you do when you feel left out of social media conversations? Or maybe you’ve noticed someone else is being left out of group conversations?

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Have you been left out of social activities with friends? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    Discussion points:

    Being left out of social activities can make you wonder what you did to be left out. Often being left out of something can be a catalyst for you to ask yourself whether the people who left you out are really good friends. Do they value who you are? Do they respect you?

    We all need to play a part in making sure that everyone feels included and no-one feels left out. Discuss with the class whether they have ever had a moment when someone went out of their way to include them? Who was it and how?

Belonging conclusion

Type: Slides.

Duration: 5 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: These slides conclude the Belonging playlist.

Teacher notes:

To conclude this playlist, ask students to undertake a reflection activity about what they learnt about belonging. To provide structure to their reflection work through the following slides:

Slide 1: Ask students to write down three things they learnt about why it’s important to feel like you belong.

Slide 2: Ask students to write down three things they learnt about how to be themselves.

Slide 3: Ask students to write down three things they learnt about strategies they can use if they ever feel lonely.

Slide 4: Ask students to turn to a partner and go through the I use to but now … thinking routine by asking students to write a response using each of the following sentence starters:

  • I used to think...
  • But now, I think...

Activities and extras

The learning generated through engaging with this playlist could be reinforced using role plays, scenarios or group activities where students practise and refine strategies for:

  • including/inviting others into their groups
  • challenging exclusionary behaviour
  • respectfully leaving a group that is no longer appropriate for them.

If your class is completing the Student Project, provide an opportunity for teams to answer the Need to Know questions that relate to this playlist below.

Need to know inquiry questions

  • How can I balance my personal identity with my group’s identities?
  • Why do we need to belong?
  • How can online communities make it easier to belong?
  • What if you don’t like the group you’re in? How can you change that?