Session 2: From Reaction to Response

PSHE (Ages 11-14)
Session 2: From Reaction to Response

There is a lot to get through in this session. The Starter and Phase 1 are intended to "warm up" quickly, leaving enough time to explore the themes in Phases 2 and 3, which are central and vital to Miriam's Vision. You may want to split the content on this page into two sessions, depending on how much time is available.

Key Messages
  • We have options and choices in our behaviour
  • We can respond rationally to events like 7/7
  • We can respond constructively to adversity in our own lives
  • Explore different ways that people react to events like 7/7
  • Explore the transition from emotional reaction to rational, constructive response to adversity
  • Review key elements of Session 1: Miriam’s life, 7/7 and their feelings
  • Differentiate between reactions and responses
  • Explore how people can move from reactions to responses, from negative to positive, in the face of adversity
  • Apply learning to students' own lives


  • Students to work in groups of four (they can be the same groupings as Session 1) and pairs.
  • If you set the diary activity as homework, the students can feed back to the class and discuss, including reading out some of their diary entries.
  • Project Slide 1 of MV PSHE Resource 2.1 Responding to 7/7 - the time machine that takes us back to the past.
  • Distribute one sheet of sugar paper to each group. They write bullet points or words under the headings "Miriam", "7/7" and "Your feelings". They could be awarded points for each relevant item they identify.
  • Slide 3: At this point you may wish to replay Miriam's Story Parts 1 and 2 to recap learning.

Phase 1

  • Explain that this session we will be exploring possible responses to difficult or traumatic events, using the example of what happened to Miriam and her family.
  • Project Slide 4 and read the definition. ("To punish someone [often using violence] because they’ve done something to hurt you or someone you care about.") Ask the class which word best fits the definition. (Revenge.) You may choose to talk about the definitions of some of the other words before moving on to Slide 5. Match the word to its definition as a class or print copies of MV PSHE Resource 2.2 Definition match A4 for students to do the definition match in groups or pairs. Check students’ understanding of the meanings.
  • Slide 6 is a word sort activity, requiring students to distinguish between short- and long-term responses, and between positive and negative responses. Hand out printed copies of MV PSHE Resource 2.3 React respond sheet A4 and MV PSHE Resource 2.4 React respond word sort A4. In pairs students decide where each word fits best. This activity could be done as a card sort to engage kinaesthetic learners.
  • Compare answers. Are there any differences of opinion? Talk about differences as a class.

Phase 2

  • MV Resource 0 Info for Students.pdf is a single page summary of Miriam's Vision and its aims. Distribute a printed copy to each student. Read the document as a class and ensure understanding.
  • Slide 7: Show Miriam's Story Part 3. You may wish to show the video more than once.
  • Slide 8: Ask students to identify the reactions / responses that are mentioned in the video, and to explore the process of reaction and response that Miriam's loved ones went through. You could look at this slide before and after playing Miriam's Story Part 3 the second time.
  • Slide 9: On the back of the sheets of sugar paper, groups make a quick sketch of a bridge. Think of ways that people can “bridge” from negative reactions to positive responses. Write ideas around the bridge. (For instance, how can we move from bitterness to acceptance? From hatred to forgiveness?) Feed back to the class.

Phase 3

  • You may wish to organise students into a semi-circle so that they can see each other and the board.
  • Slide 10: Show Miriam's Story Part 4. Talk about what has been done in Miriam's memory (the Miriam Hyman Children's Eye Care Centre) and elicit / explain the vocabulary "memorial". You may want to refer to the MHCECC section of the MHMT website.
  • Slide 11 brings us back to the present.
  • Slide 12: Project the statement, "Losing someone will always be 100% negative." Ask students to think about the statement on their own for a minute or two, then to share it in a pair with their neighbour, and share as many opinions as possible with the whole class. You could have a "for" and "against" vote with show of hands.
  • What conclusions can we draw? (That we have options and choices in difficult situations, etc.)


  • Refer to the purpose of the Miriam’s Vision resource and the session’s Key Messages. There have been positive outcomes to 7/7, although it was a painful and avoidable event. Reiterate that Miriam’s Vision: A Response to the 2005 London Bombings is the Hyman family’s way of trying to help people to make considered choices in difficult circumstances. How can these activities help to do that? (By learning what happened to Miriam and her family and understanding that people have the choice to influence consequences constructively; by applying lessons learned to future personal and wider situations, etc.)
  • Slide 13: Students can choose to share personal experiences or knowledge of negative events that have had positive consequences, or that could have had more positive consequences, and how. This provides opportunities for students to relate the contents of this module to their personal histories and their own lives. Sharing in (non-friendship) pairs can sometimes have surprisingly personal outcomes, and as a whole class students may inspire each other.