Bullies and Bullying: Deconstructing Events
Identifying Bullying and Options for Response
Lesson Objectives: Students will recognize the signals of bullying as events that trigger responses (or non-responses). Students will understand that bullying involves a bully and a victim and possibly a bystander or witness to the event. Bullying behavior not only harms one’s identity but also one’s community. Students will recognize that they have choices when bullying occurs and that their actions can affect the result of the event.
Curriculum Areas: Social studies, life skills, language arts
Time Required: 40 minutes
Materials Needed: Copies of Lesson 8 Reproducible (PDF); board and markers
Key Concept: Bullying is defined as repeated and systematic attacks by a more powerful person on a less powerful one. There is often a fine line between bully and victim—many bullies themselves are also victims of bullying.
Lesson Background: Bullying can take many forms and is sometimes difficult to identify. One advocacy group writes: “Children are commonly told to just ignore bullies or to stand up for themselves and confront the bully.... [But] ignoring is not appropriate when a child is being hurt or frightened....” Most experts and child advocacy groups maintain that schools and parents need clear and unambiguous policies about bullying. Children need to know that if they report a bullying incident, prompt action will be taken. This lesson will help students identify some of the dynamics of teasing and bullying, and make positive choices about what they’ll do the next time a bullying episode unfolds.
What You Will Do:
- Explain to students that bullying takes many forms, and that some forms of bullying are hard to identify. Have students read the excerpt on Lesson 8 Reproducible, “Bullying.”
- Define and give examples of bully, bystander, and victim.
- Have students deconstruct the excerpt, identifying the bully, the victim, and bystander, and answer questions about the bystander’s possible choices.
- Talk about the issue of bullying with your students—how it affects those who are the bullies, those who are being bullied, and those who are bystanders.
Ask students if they can imagine being the victim of bullying. How would they feel? How might a bystander feel, watching bullying take place?
- When should adults get involved in a bullying situation? Why?
- How could a strong school policy on bullying help victims and bystanders—and bullies?
- What might you say to an adult when reporting bullying?
- How does bullying affect bystanders? How does it affect the entire school?
- Review with students your school’s policy on bullying. Advocate enforcement of a tough policy if one is not already in place.
- Have students choose one of the examples they gave on the reproducible question 4 and put on a skit based on the story and the student’s choice.
bully (noun) a person who threatens or intimidates others on purpose
bystander (noun) a spectator, an onlooker, or someone who is near to an event or situation, but does not participate
victim (noun) a person who is hurt by another person’s intentional