Bullying—repeated aggressive behavior with an intent to hurt another person physically, socially, or mentally—is characterized by an imbalance of power between an instigator and a victim. As classroom educators, we know that bullying takes place in many places, from classrooms to online settings. For teachers who are bringing technology into the classroom, cyberbullying, defined as verbal and/or social aggression carried out through technology, is a known reality and an increasingly common problem. Around the world, however, students, teachers, and whole schools are finding ways to educate about cyberbullying and take proactive steps to reduce social exclusion, derogatory comments, rumor spreading, or racial or sexual stereotyping online and on social media.
Yesterday, the New York Times Motherlode blog featured The Facing History School in New York City, where students are encouraged to connect the lessons of larger social issues to their own lives in the classroom and during advisory period.
“When we talk about standing up against injustice and all of our curriculum is surrounded by ways that individuals speak out against the wrongs that are happening, it kind of ingrains in the kids and they become these empathetic individuals,” Jeffrey Galaise, 32, special ed coordinator and a teacher of English and history, told Motherlode.
Watch the whole video below and check out the post on Motherlode.
Here are some more resources for thinking about how you might talk about issues of cyberbullying with your students:
- In this video, the Executive Director of GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), discusses cyberbullying and countering a culture of fear.
- MTV’s A Thin Line helps empower students to identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital media abuse. The site offers thought-provoking questions and examples to help people recognize and take action.
- MediaSmart offers tools for teachers that can help young people better understand media. Their cyberbullying resources include lesson plans and a parents’ guide, and all content is available in English and French.
- See how students in Watchung, New Jersey, used a Facebook campaign to spread positive messages in an effort to counter cyberbullying in the Not in Our School video Students Take on Cyberbullying.
- Watch a student-produced video showing what bullying and cyberbullying is like from the perspective of a bullied student. The video was produced as part of a semester-long project in Facing History teacher Jen Hillier's Irvington High School class that looked at issues of bullying.
Has your school encountered issues of cyberbullying? How has it been addressed?
Tell us about it – comment below!