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5-10 minutes




Discussion topics geared towards class interests


To help students get to know each other by having a conversation with others with whom they do not usually interact


  • meeting new people and extending our circle of friends is healthy
  • brainstorm topic ideas (e.g., current sport events, current school events, favourite food/music/movie)

Ask students:

  • to choose a topic
  • to pair up and talk with someone new for two to three minutes about the topic


  • How did this make students feel? What did they learn? What will they do differently?


  • It is important that students feel included in the process.
  • Co-creating classroom norms of inclusion, respect for diversity, compassion, and collaboration will help create discussions with a positive and safe emotional climate. To ensure respectful dialogue, norms must be co-created before the practice, and students can be reminded of them throughout.

Students who have quality friendships are less likely to engage in, and be victims of bullying, even if they have a tendency to act out or be socially withdrawn (Bollmer et al., 2005). This is because students can use quality friendships to learn to regulate their emotions and behaviour in socially appropriate ways (Bollmer et al., 2005). Also, developing quality friendships during adolescence has been linked to improved physical and mental health throughout the lifespan (Yang et al., 2016; Thoits, 2011).

Bollmer, J., Milich, R., Harris, M., & Maras, M. (2005). A Friend in Need: The Role of Friendship Quality as a Protective Factor in Peer Victimization and Bullying. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20(6), 701-712. doi:10.1177/0886260504272897

Thoits, P.A. (2011). Mechanisms Linking Social Ties and Support to Physical and Mental Health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 52(2), 145–161. doi: 10.1177/0022146510395592

Yang,C.Y., Boena,C., Gerkena, K., Lid, T., Schorppa, K., Mullan Harris, K. (2016). Social relationships and physiological determinants of longevity across the human life span. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(3), 578-583. doi:10.1073/pnas.1511085112