Step 3: Put it into Practice

Why does bullying continue?

The following exercise will support your efforts to reduce bullying in your school and to fully engage students in the process.

Your assignment is the following:

First: Draft an agreement with your students. The goal of the agreement is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of ALL students in your class.

To encourage students to express their opinions you can:
  • Let students use their own words; try to resist the temptation to correct their grammar, their syntax, their style and their spelling errors.
  • Ask them why, in their opinion, it is important to have a definition of bullying, and discuss their answers in class.
  • Give students the opportunity to debate the overall question. It is likely that the subject of bullying will generate a great deal of discussion.
  • Launch the discussion in an open-ended way, without preconceived ideas (for example, avoid proposing your own or another definition as a starting point).
  • Try letting students work in small groups for this exercise. At the same time, it is important to remain sensitive to students who have been targeted by bullying and who may be left out or feel vulnerable in such a context. You can try as much as possible to establish trust and an open atmosphere with these students, without drawing attention to them.
  • Try doing this exercise individually as well. Ask each student to create their own definition. It is best not to draw more attention to some definitions over others, for example, by making comments such as “good answer”. Instead you can display them together so that students can read them all.

Second: Encourage (but never force) the students to sign the agreement.

Third: Discuss ways to disseminate the agreement (for example, by posting it in the classroom or hallways, online or in the school bulletin).

The students may have other ideas.