Bullying Prevention Lesson Plan: The Courage to Be an Upstander
This lesson helps students build their courage and confidence so they can be upstanders for kids who are bullied.
- reflect on why it takes courage to be an upstander for someone who is bullied
- learn specific steps for building their courage and think of other ways to do this as well
- role-play being upstanders for someone who’s being bullied
- chart paper and marker
- handout: “What Real Kids Have to Say About Being an Upstander When Someone Is Bullied” (located at the end of this article)
On chart paper, copy the following, leaving blank spaces so students can suggest additional entries:
Build Your Courage to Be an Upstander Against Bullying
- Practice the Dignity Stance. It will help you stand tall to help others.
- Use deep breathing to keep your cool.
- Rehearse your words.
- Picture yourself helping assertively.
- Partner up. Have a friend join you to confront someone who’s bullying.
Tell students that today they’ll be learning more ways to build their courage “muscles” so they can be upstanders for kids who are bullied. Ask: What are you already doing to help when someone is being bullied? Discuss.
Ask: Why does it take courage to be an upstander? What stops you from helping someone who’s being bullied? Discuss, emphasizing that each time someone stands up against bullying, this helps put an end to it. Ask: What are some things you’ve learned that can help you gain the courage to be an upstander for kids who are bullied? Discuss and review strategies that have been introduced.
Pass out copies of “What Real Kids Have to Say About Being an Upstander When Someone Is Bullied.” Ask for five volunteers to read aloud the quotes from kids who’ve been upstanders. Ask for students’ responses.
Then direct their attention to “Build Your Courage to Be an Upstander Against Bullying” on the handout and chart. Go through steps 1–5 with students, discussing each one and answering questions. For the fifth step, help students recognize how partnering with another person can give them courage by not having to face the situation alone.
Then ask: What else would give you the courage to be an upstander if you see someone who’s being bullied? Write suggestions on the board. Discuss, then ask students which two they find the most helpful. Add these to the chart. If there are more than two, include them as well.
Ask for four volunteers to role-play the following scenario, or another bullying scenario you think students will relate to:
Note: Confronting a bullying situation alone can be daunting. For this reason many experts believe that it’s preferable for kids to be upstanders in partner- ship. However, if no one else is around to buddy up with, it’s helpful for kids to know how to do it alone. For this reason, you will want to vary the role playing so students can practice being upstanders alone and with others.
Jeffrey sees Tommy being bullied by Stewart on the playground. He decides to be an upstander for Tommy. Jeffrey stands tall, breathes deep, thinks of words to say, and walks over. Then he speaks directly to Stewart about what he’s doing. Finally, he asks Tommy to hang out with him on another part of the playground.
After the role play, ask the volunteer who played Jeffrey: How did it feel to be an upstander for Tommy? Was it easy to do?
Ask for one new volunteer to join the others and play the part of a student named Claire. Replay the scene, this time having Jeffrey ask Claire to partner up with him to be an upstander for Tommy. After the role play, ask the student who played Jeffery: How did it feel this time to be an upstander? Was it easier to do with Claire helping?
Also ask students: What could have happened if no one had stepped in to help Tommy? Discuss, making sure to address students’ questions or concerns about being upstanders in bullying situations.
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