Step 3: Put it into Practice

What is bullying?

The following exercise will help you grasp the core elements of bullying and deepen your understanding of the problem presented in steps 1 and 2 of Module 1.

This exercise will also help you understand young people’s perspectives on this issue.

Your assignment for module 1 is the following:

First: Create a definition of bullying in your own words.
(Recommended number of words: 150)

Second: Ask students (either members of your committee, or students in a class) to develop a common definition of bullying, in their own words, in plain language.
(Recommended number of words: 150)

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.

Third: Compare the two definitions (yours and your students’) and ask the following questions:

  1. Are the two definitions very different? If so, in what way?
  2. Do students see bullying in a different light?
  3. Based on the two definitions, what are the essential elements of bullying?
Fourth: Compare the definitions with the legal definition presented in the Education Act of Ontario (see Module 1, Step 2).