Bullying prevention is easily and naturally integrated with the goals of learning across the curriculum. Frustration with learning, poor self-esteem and inadequate social skills all contribute to student bullying behaviours. Cooperative learning strategies that emphasize peer collaboration have been shown to contribute to higher academic achievement, to increase self-esteem, to improve language skills, and to facilitate language development. They can be used effectively with all age groups and subject areas. As well as contributing to a wide range of intellectual goals, these small-group instructional techniques incorporate skills that help teachers counter bias, discrimination and bigotry of all kinds. More information on cooperative learning can be found here.
Curricular complements can also be implemented directly into existing curricula. Through literature, for example, students can see through another’s eyes and develop insight into their own behaviour. Students can learn about the bully-target-bystander dynamic in context and discover more about pro-social choices and options open to everyone involved in a bullying relationship. For a listing of appropriate classroom resources, see the Resources section of this website, where individual titles are listed by grade level. Also in this section is a book called Bully in the Book and in the Classroom, by C. J. Bott, which has more reviews of books and practical activities for the classroom.
Media literacy activities help students develop insight into a variety of negative stereotypes, including unbalanced or extreme views of relationships or violence. Concerned Children’s Advertisers has media literacy lesson plans and activities for students from the primary to intermediate levels.
Journal writing, used cautiously and correctly, can be a potent tool in reflecting on and developing insight into the issue of bullying. Writing-in-role is an additional technique that helps students explore, make connections, and learn about issues, events, and relationships that affect their lives. Writing-in-role can broaden and deepen learning across the curriculum while, at the same time, reinforce anti-bullying empathy and illuminate how people make sense of problems such as bullying. In similar ways, themes and materials in the social sciences can serve the dual purpose of teaching content-area skills and knowledge, while placing the issue of bullying in a wider context.
Although often recommended in various programs and manuals, role-playing must be handled only by teachers who are well trained in the concept of “safety in role”. Students can easily be re-victimized in this activity unless it is planned very carefully. For more information on role-play, see our Resources section. Whimsical Productions' DVD called Exploring Bullying Through Drama has a useful series of skill building activities.