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To help pupils consider the idea of heroes, especially in light of the recent Chilean mine rescue.

by Tim and Vicky Scott

Suitable for Key Stage 3


To help pupils consider the idea of heroes, especially in light of the recent Chilean mine rescue.

Preparation and materials

  • Have a PowerPoint display of historical and present-day characters who are considered to be heroes. This could include astronauts, such as Neil Armstrong, mountaineers, such as Sir Edmund Hillary (who was the first man not only to climb Everest, but also to stand on both Poles), Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Aung San Suu Kyi (the Burmese pro-democracy opposition party leader recently released from house arrest), famous military figures awarded gallantry medals, such as Private Johnson Beharry, and famous sportsmen, such as David Beckham. Make sure that you include a good mix of men and women. You could also include fictional super-heroes, such as Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Iron Man, etc.
  • For inspirational stories of heroism, see the Pride of Britain Awards website: You may be able to view a dramatized example of one of the stories of heroism by looking at and typing in ‘Pride of Britain Awards’.
  • Article about one of the Chilean miners and true heroism:


  1. Can you name any of the people shown on the PowerPoint slides? What words could be used to describe them all? They are all seen as ‘heroes’ by many people. What are heroes? (You could show a clip here from the Pride of Britain awards and/or footage from the Chilean miners rescue – see above, check copyright.)
  2. Heroes are increasingly recognized and celebrated in society today:

    The Pride of Britain Awards, broadcast every year on ITV, celebrates many unsung heroes from across the country. They are attended by a huge line-up of famous celebrities, who all come to celebrate ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. Categories range from courageous children and adults to members of the emergency services, teachers and carers or care workers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

    ‘Help for Heroes’ is a well-known charity that provides better facilities for wounded British servicemen and women.

    The 33 Chilean miners who survived 69 days last year trapped underground became national and international heroes.
  3. Heroes are ordinary people who embody virtues such as courage, selflessness, service to others, humility and hope. They are an inspiration to all of us and have lots to teach us about how to make the world a better place.
  4. Heroes recognize that some causes are more important than personal survival, for example those who risk their own lives in order to save the lives of others. An obvious example of this would be the story of . . . [name recent example of hero].

    Do people still care about heroes? Not all heroes are recognized. War heroes from Afghanistan and Iraq may not become household names in the same way as they did following the Second World War. What feats of heroism capture the public imagination today? Some people can lose their hero status by making a mistake in their personal lives – for example, Tiger Woods the famous golfer.
  5. Heroes help to shape our society by showing us what is really valuable in life. But is it harder today for heroism to make an impact on the everyday person in the street? In a media-saturated culture of instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter and iPhones, people can have limited attention spans, and glitzy, self-seeking celebrities can become today’s ‘heroes’. What do people think about this? Do they agree? Do they think this is good or bad? Can people still recognize a hero when they see one?
  6. Who are our heroes now? Celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver? X Factor judges like Cheryl Cole or Simon Cowell? Simon Cowell attended the Pride of Britain Awards and said, ‘These awards are far superior to the Brits and the Baftas. I genuinely believe it’s the best award ceremony of the year. It makes you realize exactly what life is about and what people have to overcome.’

Time for reflection

‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’

(John 15.12–13)

There are many remarkable people who should inspire us for what they have done. However, it is down to us to recognize their heroism by allowing them to inspire us and challenge us to become better people. True heroes show us what is morally valuable and what is not. Christians believe Jesus is the ultimate hero who has demonstrated God’s amazing love for us.

One of the trapped Chilean miners, José Henriquez, who led Bible studies down in the mine twice a day and was marked out for bringing ‘calm, God and unity to the most difficult moments’, said that he was not a hero despite being widely praised for helping the other miners. Mr Henriquez said the glory belongs to Jesus Christ: ‘He is the only hero that should be mentioned. Apart from whatever man may have done both inside and outside that mine, He is the one who deserves the honour and the glory.’


Lord, thank you for the inspiration of the Chilean miners.

May their heroic bravery inspire us all.



Play one of the tracks recorded by ‘The Soldiers’, available to download.

Publication date: March 2011   (Vol.13 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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