Session Outline: Bullying: As simple as ‘sticks and stones’?
Registration & refreshments
What you see…: Get the young people into groups of no more than four. Give each group a set of pictures (see leaders’ notes) – the pictures each belong in one of two categories – they have to decide as a group which belongs to which. The only problem is they won’t be told what the categories are, so they’ve got to decide which picture belongs where, with only the images to go on.
…is what you get?: How did the groups decide how to separate the pictures into groups? What sort of things/features were a factor in deciding which went together? Were they surprised to find out what the categories were… how close were they?
10-15 mins feedback
What’s in a name?: Do you know what you’re name means? Some parents choose a name for their child because it has a particular meaning. Perhaps you have a nickname that says something about you. In groups of three or four see how many names you can match with their correct meaning.
Sticks and stones: We’ve thought a little about the important meanings that names can hold for us – but what about hurtful names that people use for us? People often quote the phrase ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words/names will never hurt me’ but how true is that? If names have important meanings then what do we do about names that have a negative meaning for us? What do our faiths teach us about the importance of words and how we use them?
45 mins: 10 mins opening discussion 20-25 mins research 10-15 mins feedback
Making judgements: Very few of us make it through life without experiencing name-calling, teasing or bullying of one kind or another. There’s a fine line between friendly teasing and verbal or even physical abuse but how do we judge what’s acceptable and what’s not. Pose a series of scenarios to the groups and get them to decide which of the situations they believe represent abuse. What would they advise the people to do in those situations?
Share information with the group about what constitutes bullying.
45 mins: 25-30 mins discussion 15-20 mins feedback
Pride and prejudice: Bullies can often start bullying because of personal insecurities and they usually focus on people who they feel they can exert superiority over. People who are ‘different’ can seem an easy target to bullies and if we think about it we all have something about us that can distinguish us from others, whether it’s our accent, our skin colour, our faith or even something as simple as wearing glasses.
What does our faith teach us about how to treat other people? How can faith help you cope with bullying or even challenge bullying when we see it taking place?
30 mins discussion
Stimulated to act: Encourage the groups to put their thoughts to something practical. They might choose to act out a scene portraying experiences they’ve had of bullying; they might compile a poem or a series of monologues that draw their thoughts together; they may decide to create a piece of artwork, a collage or model depicting the struggle against bullying.
1 hour 15 25-35 mins preparation 40-55 mins completing
Affecting change: Give each of the groups a chance to share their work, explaining the thoughts that went into what they created and what they learned both through what’s been shared throughout the day and the act of creating.