Tag Archives: #empathy

Using ‘I’ message as an effective tool to strengthen collaboration and communication skills in students

Collaboration and communication are 2 of the 4Cs identified as key skills for the 21st century

Empowering students with these skills from a young age is important as it helps them develop and practise using them in different scenarios. The IB pedagogy places a lot of emphasis on group work, hence effective collaboration is imperative to yield the desired learning goals

Source – Pinterest

What is an ‘I’ message?

An ‘I’ message is simply a statement that begins with an ‘I’ and does not place blame on anyone else.  ‘I’ messages can be used to express our feelings in a way that is direct yet respectful – so important in group work to effectively communicate and collaborate, especially to express one’s feelings and resolve conflicts, so that the group learning goals are ultimately achieved.

For eg.  rather than saying ‘Why are you calling me by that name? Stop it’

I can say ‘I feel hurt when you call me that. Please call me by my given name’.

Which statement would bring about the desired result?

As a committed educator in building social emotional skills in my students, I guided my students to understand the ‘I’ message and how to use this strategy effectively through a Nearpod SEL activity. The goal was to help them communicate their needs and feelings in a way that is direct and respectful. We had discussions about times they have felt hurt/upset and not been able to express themselves. 

There are 3 parts to an ‘I’ message

I feel …

When …

Please …

Sharing some student samples from the activity to help illustrate this process

Students tried applying this strategy to a classroom scenario – something that is often a bone of contention in group work – sharing of the responsibilities and taking on a leadership role 🙂

The scenario – ‘You are working with a partner on a math project. You feel like you are doing all the work and are very frustrated. What could you say to your partner?

Very interesting and creative responses, wouldn’t you agree?

Students then reflected how ‘I’ messages could help them in their relationships with family and friends

The link to the Nearpod activity is shared below


With my students I am always careful to use the language of the ‘I’ message – ‘I feel that you could also do it this way’, ‘I cannot understand your perspective, would you explain it to me’, ‘Would you like to try it another way?’ – giving them a choice makes them feel empowered and 90% of the time you will get them to do what you wanted 🙂

It’s never too late to learn, and it’s never too early to begin applying social emotional skills !!