Refusing Requests in a Positive Manner

Refusing requests is Ruth's Begun's Lesson 27. She follows the elements of instruction in her teaching, i.e. establishing a need, introducing applications, modeling the skill, behavior rehearsal (role playing), practice outside the classroom and independent usage.

The cornerstone of the lesson is identifying the skill components, which she identifies as:

  • Thinking about the the consequences of accepting or refusing a request.
  • Making a decision about accepting or refusing the request.
  • If you refuse, do so in a polite manner with a comforting tone of voice.
  • Give the person a reason why you cannot so what he asked.

Educational Objective: The student will graciously refuse a request from someone.
Language Arts Standard:
Listening & Speaking/Reading & Writing

Materials Needed:
The Prop Box
Brainstorm Form
Appropriate Rubric: One for each student to complete during each role play. To download the student rubric, click here

The Lesson:

• Identify Need
• Introductory Activity: Brainstorm-situations when you have had to say "no"
• Define Steps and Sequences of Skill

1. Look at the person directly and use their name.
2. Listen completely to the request.
3. State "I'm sorry."
4. Give a reason why you cannot do what was asked of you.
5. Say "I'm glad you asked me."
6. Offer to do something else or the same thing at another time. "James, I can't help you with your schoolwork tonight because my brother is having a birthday party. Thanks for asking, though. Do you want to study together tomorrow night?"

• Model the Skill
• Role Plays/Classroom Discussion
• Applications Extension: Decline a request in writing
• Independent Uses

Use characters created in the Prop Box and role play five situations.

Rubric for the Role Plays

Student (Speaker)____________________________ Student (Subject)____________________________

Date: _____________________
Observer's Name:___________________________________________

Social Skill: ___________________________________

Observations: No Yes
Did the student look at the person and use their name?    
Did the student listen to the complete request, maintaining eye contact?    
Did the student state "I'm sorry"?    
Did the student give a believable reason why he could not comply?    
Did the student thank the person for asking?    
Did the student offer to comply with the request at another time?    

Additional Comments: _______________________________________________________________________