Lesson 5: Voicing Interests, Desires, and Concerns

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Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: To learn about using “I” statements and honest, direct communication


“We have discussed many scenarios involving the opportunity to choose an assertive communication style, and now we will learn how to voice concerns or desires respectfully. We will address the use of ‘I’ statements and the importance of honest, direct communication.”

Discussion: “I” Statements

“If you were to hear the following two statements, consider which would likely be taken as an attack and which would likely be taken as a request:

  • You need to get out of my room. You’re making too much noise.
  • I need it to be totally quiet in my room, or I can’t concentrate. Can you please give me 20 minutes alone to finish studying and then come back?

“You probably noticed that turning a request into a “You do this…” statement sounds like an attack. It can easily leave the listener feeling put down, often increasing tension and aggression.

“On the other hand, a request can be diffused by making a statement or request about the speaker instead of the listener by using an ‘I’ statement. An ‘I’ statement demonstrates personal responsibility instead of attempting to place blame on the other individual. Examples of ‘I’ statements include things like:

  • I work best when…
  • I like to…
  • I may need…

“Assertive communication is respectful, and these types of statements are a respectful means to voice concerns and requests.”

Discussion: Honest, Direct Communication

“While it can be tempting to cover the truth to appear more qualified or popular, the truth is usually revealed with time. Appearing dishonest hinders relationships because your credibility and trustworthiness are damaged.

“Can you think of benefits to honesty? In addition to communicating honestly, it is important to communicate directly. Hints at a request can be misunderstood, as an indirect statement is usually vague. An indirect request can also frustrate the listener because nobody likes feeling baited or having to guess at what someone wants.

“Listen to the following statements and determine which request is direct:

  • If only I had help on this project!
  • Can I work with Julie on this project?”

Exercise: Group Game

Divide the group into two teams. Ask one member of each team to come forward. Present a question. The individual with an answer can slap the table and give his answer once called upon. If correct, his team earns a point. If incorrect, the opposite team earns a point. The team with the most points earns a reward.

Game Questions

  • What is the purpose of an “I” statement?
  • Listen to the following scenario and create an appropriate “I” statement for the character: Liv is frustrated because she is having trouble finding a research article for a class assignment. She wants to ask the librarian for assistance.
  • Moses’s friend asked if he likes to watch football and he does not. What should he say and why?
  • Turn the following statement into a direct request: “I can meet you there, but I have to take the bus. I wish someone could give me a ride.”
  • Provide an example of a direct request.
  • Ada’s boss asks if she has ever performed a particular task and she has not. How should she respond and why?
  • Turn the following statement into an “I” statement: “You always point to a diagram to teach the class where anatomy is located on the body. You have to remember that I can’t see the charts.”
  • Provide an example of an “I” statement.
  • Is the following request direct or indirect? “I’d love to work on that project. Can I offer my assistance?”
  • Provide an example of an indirect request.
  • Is the following request direct or indirect? “It’s so loud in here! I can’t get my work done.”
  • Listen to the following scenario and create an appropriate “I” statement for the character: Akbar wants to tell his roommate to stop using his towels.
  • Turn the following statement into a direct request: “Doesn’t anybody notice I’m having trouble with this?”


“Today, we learned to use ‘I’ statements to respectfully describe a concern or request. We also learned to make honest and direct requests.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, and modifications: