Year 7 Starter

Learning Intention

  • To learn what an internal and external locus of control is;
  • To know that we can, through our own actions, change the course of our lives;
  • To learn that we all have a voice of self-doubt and the more we challenge it the smaller it gets.

Success Criteria

  • To define what an internal locus of control is;
  • To name at least one behaviour that you can control that can positively impact on your life direction and outcome;
  • To understand the voice self-doubt, be able to recognise it and label it, as well as know that it reduces the more we challenge it.

An internal locus of control is when we believe that we can change the course of our lives through our own actions. This is a very strong predictor of mental wellbeing.

Brain Fact

Sample Questions for Class:

1. What makes an internal locus of control so important?

2. When have you ever been in the valley? When? How did you get out of it?

3. Have you ever felt helpless with an external locus of control? What happened and how did that turn out? What did the voice of self-doubt say to you?


Class Activity

  1. Each class member has two slips of paper;
  2. On one of their slips of paper, class members write one thing in their life that they feel that they have control of through their own choices and actions (internal locus of control);
  3. On the other slip of paper, class members write one thing in their life that they feel that they have no control over through their own choices and actions (external locus of control);
  4. All the slips are then placed in a pile and mixed up;
  5. Each class member then takes 2 slips of paper being careful not to pick up their own (note that a student may pick up 2 slips that are both designed as an internal or external locus of control – it does not matter what slips they pick up as it is up to them to decide where they think they go);
  6. There are two circles on the ground. One large and one smaller that is inside the larger one (these can simply be made of a circle or chairs or something else easily available);
  7. The small circle (about 2 meters in diameter) inside is the space for the internal locus of control;
  8. The larger circle (about 4-5 meters in diameter) around is the space for the external locus of control;
  9. Students look at their slips and decide which circle each slip belongs to. Is it an internal or external locus of control?
  10. Once each student has placed their slips down, the class then have a discussion about the slips and where they are placed. Students may disagree on things that they can and can not control. For example, a student may see that another student has placed something as an external locus of control when they believe it is an internal locus of control or vice versa. 
  11. Facilitate discussion around common themes on the slips in the external and internal locus of control circles, and disagreement about what slips should be where.

Take Away Challenge

Pick one thing in this coming week (or longer) that you are really going to focus on controlling (internal locus of control). The focus should be on a behaviour you can do that you can control.  


Follow up discussion for the following week…

  1. What action did you focus on controlling?
  2. What happened? 
  3. What did the voice of self-doubt say to you if and when it came?
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