This article differentiates between a troublemaker and a rebel, outlining basic characteristics of each and offering rebels some advice on how to avoid becoming a troublemaker.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Careers, business studies

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are the differences between a rebel and a troublemaker?
  • How do you avoid slipping from rebel to troublemaker?

New Terminology:


Materials Needed:

Copies of the article for the students

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

As young people enter the workforce and begin to experience working conditions they often have ideas about how things could be made better. How they handle these ideas can dramatically affect how they are perceived by their employer. Those who complain, remain focused on personal issues and behave in an antagonistic fashion are usually branded as troublemakers and face restricted possibilities. Those who work to effect change positively are seen in a better light and, although considered somewhat rebellious, face more favourable responses to their ideas. It is important, therefore, for young people to know how to avoid the trappings of being a troublemaker and instead have a more positive approach to suggesting change. This lesson will have the students examine not only the differences between troublemakers and rebels but also the pitfalls to avoid so that they are seen in a more positive light when suggesting change.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Ask the students who have jobs if they have any ideas about how things could be improved where they work.
  • List the ideas as they are presented.
  • Now ask the students to identify how they would go about trying to get those changes made.
  • List those ideas.
  • Ask the students if their bosses see them as troublemakers because they try to get these changes made.
  • Ask them if they see themselves as troublemakers.
  • Arrange the students in groups of five or six and have them discuss and suggest a better term for people who want change if they believe that troublemaker is an unfair term.(If they believe troublemaker is an appropriate term have them develop an explanation as to why.)
  • Allow time for the discussions and then have each group report.
  •  Record the suggested alternative descriptors.
  • See if the term rebel is among them – if not, suggest it as a term that could be used that would encompass the suggestions.
  • Ask the groups to discuss and delineate what they see as the differences between a rebel and a troublemaker.
  • Once this has been completed, have each group report and highlight the differences as they are suggested.
  • As a final group task, ask the groups to identify ways in which rebels can avoid being seen as troublemakers.
  • Have each group report its ideas.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Once the groups have reported, provide the students with a copy of the article and allow them time to read it.
  • Get their responses to it and any ideas as to changes they would make to their reports or definitions.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will be able to:

  • Appreciate the positive contributions that can be made by people who think about the way things are done.
  • Outline the differences between a troublemaker and a rebel.
  • Suggest ways in which people can avoid being seen as a troublemaker at work.

Confirming Activity:

  • Assign the following writing task – “Am I (or would I be) seen as a rebel or a troublemaker? What do I need to do or keep doing to ensure that I am not seen as a troublemaker but rather someone whose intentions are good and worthwhile?