- Awareness of different responses to the issue of bullying.
- Reflect upon different forms that bullying can take.
- Analyse an example of bullying from the film Cuban Fury and consider whether the victim made good or bad choices in response to the bullying.
- Analyse a number of responses to bullying, assessing their effectiveness.
- Reflect upon the historic stance of the Christian faith in defence of the marginalised in society.
- Analyse a number of Bible passages, assessing their relevance and helpfulness to Christians who are experiencing bullying behaviour.
- Synthesise learning by evaluating the effectiveness of a specifically Christian response to bullying.
You might want to introduce reminders of your school’s own anti-bullying policy at appropriate moments during this lesson. Start the lesson by brainstorming different ways that bullying can take place. Look for answers such as:
- Violence (harm to the body).
- Theft (taking of property).
- Vandalism (damaging of property).
- Psychological (taunts, insults, public humiliation).
- Coercion (forcing a person to do things against their will).
- Rumours (spreading untruths about a person).
Explain that in this lesson you are going to be thinking about the issue of bullying, and in particular asking what a Christian response to the issue might be.
Introduce the clip from the film Cuban Fury (StudioCanal, 2014, certificate 15). Click here to buy the DVD online.
Explain that this scene comes from the very beginning of the film, and shows someone who encounters a hostile reception from people who don’t share one of his enthusiasms. Ask the students to pay particular attention to the main character’s response at the end of the clip.
- Start time: 0.00.55 (in chapter 1 of the DVD)
- End time: 0.03.16
- Clip length: 2 minutes and 21 seconds
The clip starts when the various company logos have disappeared. The first line is, ‘Salsa! It was like something from another planet.’ The clip ends with the line, ‘And that fire in my heels? I guess it just went out.’ Please note that this clip includes some instances of swearing. To avoid most of the swearing, you could start the clip at 0.1.52, with a row of judges all awarding ten points, but this still includes one instance of swearing during the bullies’ attack on the main character. If this is not appropriate for you to use in your lesson, you would be better to avoid using the clip altogether.
Ask the students why they think young Bruce (Ben Radcliffe) turns his back on salsa after his encounter with the bullies.
Give out the Responses to Bullying worksheet and ask students to rank the sixteen possible responses to acts of bullying according to what they think somebody who is being bullied should do. Ask the students to give each response a score on the following scale:
1: One of the worst things to do when faced with bullying.
2: A poor response to bullying, which may make things worse.
3: Neither good nor bad as a response to bullying.
4: A good thing to do when faced with bullying, likely to have some positive effect.
5: One of the best things to do when faced with bullying.
As well as ranking the responses from 1 to 5, students should also add a brief comment to explain the ranking they have given each response. This task should be carried out individually, with students then discussing their findings as a whole class (or in small groups first before sharing as a whole class). Draw attention to any of the responses which divided the students, and allow some time to discuss why there is a difference of opinion as to how effective a response they are. When you take feedback with the whole group, this could be a good opportunity to emphasise your school’s policy on bullying.
Ask the students what they think the Bible has to say about bullying, or what help and comfort it might offer to somebody who is being bullied. Explain that although the word ‘bully’ does not appear anywhere in the Bible, the Christian faith has always been one which has sought to embrace the marginalised of society. During his public ministry, Jesus was frequently criticised for spending time with people who were considered to be outcasts by the respectable leaders of the community. In the New Testament James writes warning Christians of the harm that can be done with words, and commenting that the things that come out of people’s mouths reveal the contents of their hearts, even if they don’t intend them to. See James 3:1-12 for more details.
Give out the Bullying Bible Verses worksheet and ask the students, working individually or in pairs or small groups, to assess how useful they think each passage would be to a Christian who was being bullied. Students should also write a brief explanation of the reasons for their rating of each verse.
The Bible passages on the worksheets are: Psalm 9:7-10; Psalm 10:12-15; 2 Kings 2:23-25; Matthew 5:11-12; Matthew 5:38-39; Ephesians 4:31-32; Mark 15:16-21.
SUMMARY AND ASSESSMENT OF LEARNING:
Ask students to write a summary of what the Bible suggests is an appropriate response to bullying, with reference to the passages on the Bullying Bible Verses worksheet and any other passages that they think relevant. Ask them to offer their own critique of the strengths and weaknesses of the approach.
YOU WILL NEED:
- A copy of the film Cuban Fury and the means to play it.
- Responses to Bullying worksheet.
- Bullying Bible Verses worksheet.