This is a great little exercise on building empathy and understanding about bullying behaviour with the purpose of building resiliency.  I found it on www.yessafechoices.org.

Here’s how I would teach the lesson:

  1. SONY DSCStart a conversation with your class by asking them why they think people bully. Why do people bully others? Acknowledge that bullying behaviours can take place deliberately or by accident/without hurtful intent. Also, make sure to make note that bullying can have a variety of different repercussions, including short and long-term consequences. Record the answers on the board or chart paper. Students may come up with a list of reasons related to the 6 Emotional Needs (especially related to creating a sense of Certainty, Variety, Significance, Belonging for themselves through their actions)
  2. Next, use large chart paper in the shape of two large hands for the following activity. On one hand, write, “How does someone being bullied feel?” On the other hand, write, “How does someone doing the bullying feel?” Ask the students to examine the emotions and feelings that arise for both groups. Ask them to put themselves in the shoes of the bully.
  3. When we think of preventing bullying, a lot of it comes from creating and reinforcing sense of belonging and significance for all of our students. The more all of our students feel as though they matter and that they are part of the group, the less likely they will be to lash out against students in the class. When students understand the psychology behind bullying, it’s easier to view the behaviour with empathy instead of demonizing the bully. It’s about an imbalance of power.

This video is a great illustration of how understanding, compassion, and empathy can go a long way to counteract bullying behaviours!screen-shot-2017-11-17-at-2-32-57-pm.png

Leave a comment below to share how you used and adapted this lesson for your classroom! I always get inspired by people’s stories and the things they do. You might just inspire someone today!

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