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Appealing To The Self-Interest Of Bullies

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Photo Credit: Pimkie via Compfight

The nineteen year career I had as a community organizer before I became a educator a decade ago has had a major influence in how I teach. One lesson I constantly remember is the importance of connecting to a person’s self-interest. Of course, it’s difficult to know what a person’s self-interest is prior to building a relationship with them.

But it is possible to make some educated guesses, too.

For example, in the sleep lesson you can find in my book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves (you can also find some elements of it in The Best Resources For Helping Teens Learn About The Importance Of Sleep), I emphasize how researchers have found that lack of sleep often results in weight gain and poor grades.

In the lesson on rudeness found in my book, Self-Driven Learning (you can also find elements of it in The Best Ways To Deal With Rudeness In Class), students read about the negative social impacts rudeness has on people who are rude, and on people who just witness rudeness.

I’ve found that using that strategy tends to be more effective than preaching, and then the next step is looking at the broader implications of what values do we want to use to guide our lives and how we want to be remembered.

Now, some new studies have opened the door to a similar lesson on bullying I’m preparing. There are plenty of lessons out there on the impact bullying has on the person being bullied. I plan on using this new research to also show how it can hurt the bully, too.

Here’s an excerpt:

Bullying, it seems, cuts both ways. The consequences of isolating or ostracizing another person may include heightened feelings of anger, shame, and guilt, as well as a sense of social disconnection. In a series of studies by Nicole Legate and colleagues, for example, individuals who complied with instructions to shun others suffered socially and emotionally as a result of the experience.

I’ll post what I eventually come up with. In the meantime, though, if you have used any particularly effective lessons on bullying, please leave a comment. I’m all ears….

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. This has worked very well for me in middle schools: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwPWbVmWaaE

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