Teaching students how to stand up to bullying behavior, particularly when that means asking the teacher or another adult to intervene, can be a challenge.
Sometimes, students lack the skills to stand up for themselves and others in a bullying situation. To help students identify when it's appropriate to tell an adult about a bully and when it's appropriate to take a stand themselves, I start out by asking the class the following questions:
- What is the difference between tattling and requesting help?
- Should you sacrifice your popularity to "stand up" for someone?
After I write some of their responses on the board, I tell them we are going to work together to avoid bullying incidents by deciding as a class what behaviors should not be tolerated. In this interactive lesson, we also review strategies to handle teasing and bullying.
Make single copies of four "Bully Cards":
- Teasing someone on the bus because the person is "nerdy"
- Taking someone's dessert in the cafeteria
- Excluding someone from a game at recess
- Gossiping about someone's clothes
Create other "Bully Cards" based on specific issues in your school or classroom. Then make multiple copies of four different "Stand Up Cards":
- Don't react. Walk away, don't cry, ignore the bully.
- Smile or laugh. If you do the opposite of what the bully expects, the bully doesn't have any fun.
- Communicate. Tell the teaser calmly how you feel. When you're calm, bullying loses its power.
- Inform an adult. If you need help, ask for it. That's not tattling; that's standing up for yourself.
Distribute the cards. Each student who does not have a "Bully Card" should have a "Stand Up Card." Have a student with a "Bully Card" read or act out the scene. Then those students with "Stand Up Cards" stand if they want to participate, explaining or acting the solutions suggested by their cards. Continue the activity until all the "Bully Cards" are used.
As a follow up, work together to make "Stand Up to Bullying" posters to display in the classroom.
Caroline Figliel, music educator