Lesson powerpoint here


  1. To have an understanding of heroism and to place it in the context of their own heroes.
  2. To understand what prevents people from acting heroically.
  3. To develop some strategies for overcoming barriers to heroism.

My heroes.

  • Ask students to come up with a definition of a ‘hero’.
  • Ask students in small groups to identify their heroes. What values and virtues/character do their heroes have? How do the values/virtues of their heroes compare with their own values and virtues?

Scenarios for heroism.

  • Ask students to go through the scenarios (on the slides) in small groups.
  • Ask them what the heroic thing to do is for each situation.
  • They should focus on precisely what they do to help them decide well: e.g., think about past experiences, bring their values to mind, weigh up the pros and cons, be aware of emotions that lead to cowardice or recklessness.

Barriers to heroism.

  • Play the clip from ‘Would You Save a Stranger’ where a woman called Kate talks about witnessing an attack on a bus and doing nothing about it.
  • Ask students to discuss why nobody intervened.
  • Ask them to identify the main barriers to acting heroically in the situations from the slide (e.g. not wanting to upset the group, rushing into a quick decision, intending good things but failing to act: ‘incontinence’)?
  • Feedback ideas of barriers to heroic behaviour. There is a 3 minute video on the bystander effect here.

Overcoming barriers to heroism.

  • Ask students to come up with for ideas of how they can overcome the barriers to heroism, or how they can get themselves out of bad situations.

Zimbardo’s 10 strategies: http://www.lucifereffect.com/guide_tenstep.htm

  • Ask students to go through the 10 strategies for avoiding evil suggested by Professor Philip Zimbardo (on the lesson powerpoint, but more detail on the webpage above). For each of the scenarios they have looked at, what strategies apply and what results might they yield?
  • Are Zimbardo’s strategies as good as theirs?

The Angels of Edgware Road.

If time, finish with this 12 minute clip of some of the heroes of the Edgware Road tube station bombing.

Prep: Be heroic. Write about it.