Friday, 19 March 2010

Auction - bid for a friend

It's been a training-heavy week which is always interesting. I always learn something when I deliver training. I am still processing my learning in fact. Highly reflective - as ever.

In today's post, I am just going to tell you about an activity that has always gone down well - one that I did last Tuesday with a group of teachers as part of training in 'spicing up (PSHE) lessons'.

Here it is:

I start by asking people to start with a blank canvas friend. In other words, a friend that has no qualities - as yet. I then give everyone 100 Grifs, Doobles, Blibs, Knigols...whatever the currency is that day and ask them to keep a tally of how much money they have. This activity relies on a degree of honesty (and sound maths) but I actually nearly always admire the cheek of a cheat!

I then declare a quality (one at a time) and people bid for their blank canvas friend to have that quality. It is surprising how well it works. People that have been taking a back seat will suddenly start bidding frantically if the quality 'hits the right spot'. And, as people are bidding, it's actually a bit exciting!

The kind of qualities I include are:
•Good sense of humour
•A good listener

I never give the bidders a complete list of qualities so they never know what's coming up next. The reason for this is, if you bid, you know it's something you really value in a friendship. As the auctioneer, it's surprising how quickly you come to anticipate correctly who, in the room, will bid for the different qualities, as people often have quite a narrow idea of what is essential in their particular friendships. Some bid for the reliable, honest, sensible type qualities, others go for things like fun, good sense of humour, entertaining etc.

I also ask bidders to make a note of the things they bid for. It soon clarifies what they do and don't value in a friendship.


  1. That reminds me of a TEFL activity I used to do which involved betting on sentences with different odds to decide whether they thought a sentence was correct or incorrect. It got very exciting as if we were dealing with real money. Japanese boys aged 11 to 16 in particular loved it.

  2. That sounds like a great exercise..and very interesting!! I think I would love to attend one of your training sessions!

    C x

  3. Can I stick with my own company and go and buy some new shoes?

  4. I have serious trouble with that list. My friends are all different. About the only thing I can state is that I tend not to be friends with unkind, or impolite or intolerant people.

  5. I wish we could get you in! I have been asking for years for some help with PSHE. We did have a lovely chat in class in PSHE on Wednesday - talking about going for goals and the qualities you need to succeed, eg perseverance, support from family and friends, patience, hard work and self-belief. We even came up with a class motto - Start Small - Think Big!
    I quite like these SEAL powerpoints I have found on the internet, there is one for each topic and they have lots of slides but no explanations so I just use them however I think best!

    PS My word for verification is Farti. Well, really!!!

  6. James - yes nothing like a bit of excitement to heighten learning and build up anticipation for the correct answer!

    Carol - yes we do have a hoot! (Love that word). it's demonstrating a lot of active learning methods that prompt discussions and are NOT about kids doing a worksheet!

    Sandra - granted - if shoes is your thing!

    Codgi - yes my friends are all very different (I suspect most people's are) some are serious and sensible, others are hilarious, some good listeners...etc etc. But if I was doing this activity, I would definitely bid for some qualities over others. You see it doesn't always turn out to be about friends...we project and choose things we value in ourselves too! The general feedback is that people surprise themselves at how passinately they find themselves bidding for a quality! And it's great fun because I throw in a fair bit of humour too.

    Nikki - that course is called PSHE Level 2. They might let you attend? I do visit schools and do a condensed version for staff meetings just on the different methodologies. Perhaps DD might like it! Did MB and diversity stuff at junior heads' conference yesterday. I was surprised at how many heads were middling/Ss. I guess they have to be good at so much detail stuff now! I was expecting a herd of ENFJs! They lapped it up. MC wasn't there - of course!


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