32. What is the difference between identity and personality?


Ask children if they know what we mean by identity. Take ideas. Now ask about personality. Take some more ideas, then explain that we need to come up with clear definitions of each one for the purpose of our activity. So, for example, identity could be things like: nationality, religion, language, skin colour etc. ‘Things you are born into or born with’. Personality could be things like: being creative, sporty, outgoing, adventurous. ‘Things you grow into’.


Look at photos of various people (e.g. photos below). What do we know about them? Place photos around the room. Put ‘Describe a Character’ sheets (see below) next to them and ask the children to add ideas about the people merely from what they can see.

Share ideas about the different characters and what they seem to be like.

Ask the children if we really know any of these people. Of course not and yet it is easy to make lots of assumptions about them based on one photo. Make sure children understand this is perfectly normal and it is what we all do. It is partly to do with stereotyping and partly it is just how we see someone else to begin with: remind them that first impressions can change.


Now ask the children to reflect on how well people know them. Ask them to draw a quick sketch of themselves on a piece of A3 paper, leaving room to add words around the outside and inside the sketch as well. Explain that the idea is to ‘label’ themselves with traits, features and characteristics that others might ‘see’.

Encourage them to start by writing words around the edge of the paper for things people would see if they just walked in the door – short/tall; colour of hair; clothes; skin colour etc – all the things that are visible. But do they see the real ‘us’?

Ask the children to think about someone who might know them a bit, and to add words nearer the sketch that these people might know about them.

Next ask them to consider what might be on the inside? Explain that people who know us well would be able to add more detail and to know things that cannot be seen. They might know we are adventurous sometimes, creative, kind and so on. Ask them to add these ideas to the sketch INSIDE the outline figure.

Ask them to reflect on the idea that the people who know us best might be able to ‘see’ the most important things about us.


Now draw the children’s attention to the photos used at the start. Remind them about the assumptions we made about these people. Some of the assumptions might be right. But until we know someone, we should remember we can’t know what they are really like. Ever heard the expression, “don’t judge a book by its cover”?


A printable (pdf) version of this session can be found here

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