While it is a contentious topic, as teachers we’re all aware that bullies exist, and to varying degrees cast a shadow of negative experiences over most school systems around the country, and the world.
In my view it can help to raise awareness of what bullying is about at it’s core, shining a light on it and giving kids the ability to talk about and understand what might otherwise be a mystifying or upsetting topic for them.
Today I’ve written 15 prompts which should help your class write about or discuss the topic of bullying.
Why cover bullying in a writing exercise?
Some teachers (and schools) don’t want to give bullies or bullying any airtime, or even admit that it is present in their own school, let alone their own classes.
But in my view, hiding your head in the sand is unlikely to be helpful in this situation, and I think it can be far better to expose why some kids choose to become bullies, and allow the wider class to take away some of their power in the process.
Through the writing prompts I’ve created below you can help guide your students thought processes to dig into why people might have started bullying others, what that can tell us about their own level of happiness, and what path is more likely to lead to a fulfilling life.
Perhaps this may even help some bullies reassess what is important to them.
Some deep questions for sure, but important and helpful ones in my opinion.
How should these be used?
I think it’s important when raising difficult topics like bullying awareness that we need to frame the subject with some class discussion, and lead with some of our most important messages.
If we just rely on the students to go off on a standalone writing exercise by assigning a prompt it can still result in some thoughtful insights from individuals, but there may well be members of the class who don’t feel able to break down the subject alone.
In my view it’s best to lead with an initial conversation, highlighting some underlying weaknesses of bullies personas and so on, and allowing the kids to better understand why there are much more productive and positive aspects to life to focus on.
These conversations can diminish the standover power of kids who are bullying others, and can help give some clarity to the rest of the class about what’s important in life, which they can then explore in their own writing.
Obviously we need to keep in mind that some kids may feel unable to speak up on the topic of bullying in front of the rest of the class – so it’s up to us to enable constructive positive conversation in a thoughtful way, without upsetting those students in the process.
After all, our goal here is to have a positive outcome.
We want our kids to feel empowered, with an increased understanding of why some people behave negatively to others, how to help diminish the impact bullies might have on others, and have a clarified focus on what positive aspects of life are worth our attention.
- Why do some kids become bullies?
- How do you think bullies feel about themselves? Why?
- Have you ever bullied someone? Does it make you uncomfortable thinking back to it?
- Would you describe a bully as a happy person who people want to be around?
- Would you rather people think of you as a mean bully, or a funny comedian? Why?
- Do you think a bully has many real friends? Why or why not?
- Why do you think bullies pick on kids who are smarter than them?
- Do you think a smarter kid or a bully will usually end up more successful in life? Why?
- Can a bully change their ways, and become a well liked friend to others?
- How can a class help make sure a bully isn’t able to be cruel to someone?
- If you were a teacher, what would you do to stop bullying in your class?
- If you were a parent and had a child of your own, what would you tell them about bullies?
- Do you think a bully understands much about the world around them? Why?
- Do you think when an old person is looking back at their life they are proud of bullying others? Why?
- Would you prefer to be a bully and not do anything with your life, or be bullied in class and go on to become an astronaut?
Have a constructive writing session
I hope you find these prompts helpful in getting some constructive conversation and writing happening around this difficult topic.
If there is anything we as teachers are able to do to alleviate the negative activity of bullying, and help shine a light on it so awareness and understanding grows, that’s got to be a good thing in my books.
If you’d like more writing prompts, we’ve got thousands more throughout this website!
More free teaching resources and printables are being added all the time, so make sure you bookmark and Pin and we’ll see you again soon!
– Matt & Hayley