Bullying Prevention Lesson Plan: If You've Bullied Others (page 4)
This lesson focuses on helping kids who have bullied or who are bullying recognize that they can change.
- review the three roles in the bullying cycle
- assess themselves to see if they’ve been bullying others
- learn ways to help themselves stop if they’ve been bullying someone
- Chart paper and marker
- handouts, "Are You Bullying Anyone?" (located at the end of this article) and "Help Yourself Stop Bullying" (Located at the end of this article)
On chart paper, write:
“Three Roles in Bullying
- the person who bullies
- the person who is bullied
- the bystanders”
Ask students: What are the three roles in bullying? Refer to the chart and go over each role. Ask students to define bystander. Emphasize that bystanders play an extremely important role. Bystanders can decide to help or to hurt. Often, bystanders remain silent, which doesn’t help. If they start to laugh, do something to encourage the bully- ing, or join in themselves, they become part of the bullying. Say: But bystanders can transform them- selves into upstanders. How?
Let students know that people may experience all three roles at some point in their lives. Briefly share your own examples of roles you’ve played. Be honest—this helps students be honest, too. Ask which roles students have experienced. Discuss briefly.
Note: Students may be reticent to disclose that they have bullied others. Don’t push or put anyone on the spot.
Refer again to the terms you wrote on chart paper and say: Some people know they bully. Others bully without realizing it, or get drawn in without really meaning or wanting to. Pass out the “Are You Bullying Anyone?” handout and say: This is a quiz you can take home and fill out to figure out if you are bullying anyone. Briefly review the items on the handout together; ask if students have any questions.
Tell students that if they have bullied someone else or are doing it now, today’s session will help them stop.
Pass out “Help Yourself Stop Bullying: What to Do If You’ve Bullied Others” and ask for a volunteer to read the opening paragraph. Ask students how bullying hurts the person who is doing it. Discuss.
One by one, ask for volunteers to read the individual steps to stop bullying. Discuss each briefly, making sure students understand. Invite ideas for ways to own the problem, promise to stop, make amends, give yourself credit, and be part of a solution to the wider problem of bullying. Help kids identify appropriate adults to talk to also.
Ask for a volunteer to role-play the part of a student who has been bullying. Have another volunteer play the role of a trusted friend or adult. Have them play out the conversation that takes place when the child who bullies decides to do the things on the “What to Do If You’ve Bullied Others” handout.
Afterward, have the class give feedback. Ask: How did it go? What else could the student have said or asked? Is this something you could do in real life?
Note: Although recent research indicates that some kids bully strictly because of the desire for power, research also shows that kids sometimes bully because they’re depressed or carrying around intense feelings of anger. They may be, or have been, the targets of bullying or abuse themselves. They may also be dealing with family issues like divorce, unemployment, mental health problems, serious illness, domestic violence, or substance abuse. Any time a child is at risk in these ways or seems motivated by cruelty, contempt, or anger, it’s essential to take steps to help that child. Reach out to your school nurse, counselor, or psychologist for interventions and follow-up.
Reiterate to students that we all make mistakes, and that many people have bullied someone at one time or another. Every day is an opportunity to do better.
Let students know they can write you a note or come to you confidentially at any time to discuss these issues.
Acknowledge students for their honesty, respectful listening, and openness. See if students want to acknowledge others in the class.
Be sure to check in with students in a day or two about what was discussed in this session. Follow up with any students who ask for help or appear to need it.
Allow separate times for additional students to role-play ways to ask for help from an adult and to apologize and make amends.
Also allow a time for small-group discussions about ways to stop the problem of bullying in the school.
As a class, take the “No Bullying Pledge”:
- I will not take part in any actions that purposely hurt another person.
- I will join with friends to stand up for kids who are being picked on.
Are You Bullying Anyone?
Some people know they bully—others bully without realizing it. To find out if you do things that could be considered bullying, take this quick self-test. Be honest and check off any statements that apply.
REGULARLY or OFTEN . . .
______ I try to make someone else feel really bad or embarrassed.
______ I make fun of someone in a mean or humiliating way.
______ I take part in lots of mean name-calling.
______ I leave people out on purpose and make them feel bad about it afterward.
______ I purposely cause physical pain to another person.
______ I threaten people.
______ I try to make someone feel like she or he isn’t as good as I am.
______ I send mean emails, IMs and texts, or I post mean things on social networking sites about another person.
______ I spread mean rumors about others.
______ I try to get other people to do any of these things.
If you need help to stop bullying, talk to an adult you can trust.
Think About It
What can you do to be part of the solution to bullying?
Help Yourself Stop Bullying
What to Do If You’ve Bullied Others
When you bully, it hurts you as well as the person you’re picking on. Kids who bully can form long-term negative habits: habits of meanness, trouble managing anger, difficulty getting along with others, broken relationships. But you don’t have to go down that road. Here are six important things you can do to break the habit of bullying:
- Own the problem. It takes a lot of courage to admit to yourself that you’ve done something wrong, but only by doing so can you change. If you’ve bullied and you’re willing to be honest and face up to it, you’re taking a BIG first step.
- Tell a trusted adult. Telling an adult can help you feel better about your- self again. He or she can help you figure out how to stop bullying. You might say, “I’ve been really mean to someone. I feel bad about it and I want to stop, but I’m not sure how."
- Make a promise to yourself to stop bullying now. Write it down and put it in a safe place. You might want to share your promise with the adult you spoke to.
- Make amends. This means apologizing to the person you’ve hurt, then doing something to make up for the pain you’ve caused. For example, you can start including the person in games, or telling your friends that you‘ve gotten to know the person better and you’re sorry you were mean. Or invite the person to your home or offer to help with a home- work assignment or a sport.
- Give yourself credit for the steps you’re taking to stop bullying. It takes a lot of courage to own up to bullying and change. It’s a big deal for the kid you’ve bullied and for yourself. You can use your journal to write down the steps you’re taking and give yourself credit for taking them.
- Be an upstander to help stop bullying in your school. Think of ways you can do this. Talk to your teacher and other kids about ending bullying in your school. Stick up for kids who are being picked on and get your friends to do it to. Be part of the solution.
Remember, bullying will only stop when enough kids make the decision to stop it. Congratulate yourself if you decide to become one of them.
What adult can you talk to? It can be a parent, teacher, guidance counselor, nurse, social worker, principal, or a youth leader at an after-school program or at your place of worship. If you have big problems on your mind and feel bad inside, an adult can help you deal with these issues, too.
If you can’t figure out who can help and need to talk to someone right now, call the Boys Town National Hotline: 1-800-448-3000. (Even though it says “Boys Town,” the hotline is for everyone, girls and boys.) You can call anytime, day or night. A trained professional will be there to talk to you and your call will be confidential. Don’t hang up if there’s a little wait time. A real person who cares will be there.
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