6 Questions to encourage kindness in the classroom

Tal, Teacher

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.’ - Aesop

Kindness matters.  But why?

Research shows that those who are compassionate and kind may live longer.  They’re also likely to have reduced stress levels and improved wellbeing.   

The known benefits of kindness include:

  • Increased happiness
  • Promoting a sense of belonging
  • Keeping things in perspective
  • Improved confidence

There’s no better place to practice kindness than in our classrooms.

Here are 7 questions to kickstart kindness practices with your students.

1. What does kindness mean to you?

It’s hard to practice a concept unless we have a good grasp of what it means.  As a whole class, you might like to brainstorm what it means to be kind.  

Some ideas include:

  • Being a good friend
  • Being helpful
  • Being considerate of others
  • Being inclusive

If you’re using Ziplet, you can review student responses using the word cloud feature. This enables sharing the results with the class quickly to identify common themes.

Once you have a shared definition of kindness, consider placing this in a prominent location in the classroom to help guide students' behaviour.

2. How do you show kindness to yourself?

The concept of kindness isn’t just applied to others.  It’s also about the way we treat ourselves.  

We tend to be our biggest critics, which can make it hard to be kind to ourselves.

Have students turn and talk to share small acts of kindness they’ve done for themselves.

These could include prioritizing ‘me’ time, buying themselves a meaningful gift or engaging in a hobby, for example. 

3. What are two things you could do to show kindness to others?

The easiest way to put something into practice is to have tangible examples of how it can be applied.  

By focusing on just a couple of things, the task becomes manageable for our students.  

Encourage students to think about acts such as checking in on friends or helping with household chores, for instance.

4. Can you think of a time someone showed kindness to you?  How did it make you feel? 

Some students struggle to think about things in theory.

Reflecting on a time they’ve been shown kindness is sure to get them thinking about their own future acts.  

Recalling how they felt is especially powerful in highlighting the impacts of kindness on wellbeing.

 Encourage students to share their experiences.  This will inspire them to undertake acts of kindness towards others.

5. Are you happy with the way you treat others? Why/why not?

This is a tough question, but one that’s important to ask.  

We’re all human.  We’ve all had times when we haven’t been the best version of ourselves.  

Reflecting on this serves to influence our future behavior towards others in a positive manner.  

You might like to ask this question anonymously to ensure student confidentially in Ziplet.

5. What acts of kindness could we undertake as a class?

This question serves to unify students through a shared purpose.

Have students work in small groups to discuss both kindness to each other and also whole class acts of kindness.  

These could include volunteering as a class or writing appreciation notes to each other, for example.

6. How can you be kind at home?

Kindness and its benefits transcend the classroom.

For students to reap the full benefits of kindness and compassion, it’s important to encourage implementation in other areas of their lives.

Discuss ways in which we can show kindness in our lives, especially towards our families and friends outside the classroom.  

You might like to provide some examples, such as tidying the house, or helping a younger sibling with homework, for example.  


Practicing kindness has been proven to improve wellbeing, increase happiness, promote a sense of belonging and improve confidence.  

Asking these questions in the classroom is a great way to develop a culture of kindness amongst your students.

It’ll help students understand kindness and its value, as well as come up with practical ways to implement it in their lives.

You can access these questions for free via your Ziplet account. 

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