Quick activity

Being Assertive: Class Activity

  • Alcohol and Cannabis Module
  • Climate Schools logo
Targeted Drugs:

This resource has undergone expert review.

Year 7–8, Year 9–10
Time Allocated

1 lesson






Climate Schools was developed by researchers currently based at the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use at the University of Sydney, Australia, formerly based at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), School of Psychiatry, and the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use at UNSW Sydney. See the Climate Schools website.


Pair work, followed by class discussion.


Print the “Being Assertive”  worksheet (attached). 


Pair work:  The aim of this activity is for students to learn about being assertive and how to say no. Split the class into pairs. Give each pair a copy of the group worksheet. Once complete, get each pair to report their ideas to the class.

You may find it useful to provide students with the “Making Choices” factsheet for ideas about how to be assertive. 

Background Information

Refusal skills: In some situations or with some people it can be hard to resist the pressure to drink alcohol. Many adolescents find it particularly difficult to say “no”.

Skill 1: Being assertive

Learning to be assertive probably takes the most practice. However, there are three easy steps to follow to help say “no to alcohol”, which are:

  1. State your answer
  2. Give your reason
  3. Be understanding. Show you understood the other person’s position.
 Skill 2: Make an excuse

As the title implies this involves the person making an excuse.

  • “No thanks, my parents are picking me up soon”.
Skill 3: Delay tactics, put someone off until later

This involves putting the person off until later and trying to avoid the situation.

  • “I’ll just have a soft drink first.”


  • Students explore different approaches to being assertive and saying no.

Evidence Base

Secondary teachers reviewed this and other Climate School activities, with 92.3% rating these activities as good or very good. This particular activity was among the most popular activities selected for implementation by teachers.

The benefits of implementing individual activities from the Climate schools has not been examined. The benefits of implementing the entire 6 session Climate schools program has been supported by multiple research studies, see Climate Schools: Alcohol and Cannabis Module.

Page last reviewed: 2/03/2021

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