Bullying and Cyberbullying

Bullying is an aggressive and unwanted behavior that involves real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is often repeated or has the potential to be repeated, with serious and lasting problems for both parties who are bullied and bully others (“What is bullying,” n.d). Notably, for a behavior to considered bullying, it must be aggressive with an imbalance of power. More specifically, according to an article by stopbullying.gov website, children or students who bully others use their power, which can be in form of physical strength, embarrassing information, or popularity to harm others. A behavior must also happen more than once or portray the potential to occur again for it to be considered bullying. Bullying involves actions such as threats, spreading false information to cause malicious damage, physical or verbal attacks, or isolating someone from a group with a purpose. Along with that, there are several types of bullying including verbal bullying, physical bullying, social bullying, and cyberbullying. Verbal bullying involves saying or writing mean things about a person, while physical bullying involves physically hurting or asserting pain on an individual or someone’s properties. Social bullying is also referred to as relational bullying and involves hurting the other person’s reputation or relationship. On the other hand, cyberbullying involves using information or communication technologies to hurt someone. The act may involve sending harassing message, via text or over internet such as social media networks and emails, or posting disparaging content on social media, posting humiliating photos, or intimidating or threatening someone via electronic media. As compared to traditional bullying, cyberbullying is unique in that, perpetrators are able to reach an unlimited audience with permanent exposure preserved in words and images. Consequently, cyberbullies cannot see the faces of their victims, which subsequently reduce their understanding of the full consequences of their actions and the importance of personal accountability. 

Bullying Vs. Cyberbullying

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Within the modern society, technological progression is often associated with advancement. Pivotal innovations such as the internet has completely changed the way people interact with each other (Donegan, 2012). Unfortunately, while these developments has allowed the society to make great strides in several fields, it has also allowed some forms of transgressions. According to Notar, Padgett, and Roden (, 2013), this is especially evident considering the way traditional bullying has evolved and the double-edged nature of modern technology, manifests itself clearly in an emerging societal problem known as cyberbullying.  As compared to traditional bullying, cyberbullying is a relatively new form of bullying that emerged within the last decade. The primary difference between bullying and cyberbullying is that the latter happens online, while bullying happens in the physical world, which can be at school, parks, and other places where students meet. Bullying is only limited to a physical setup, but cyberbullying takes place in the personal online space and can affect an individual in the complete 24 hours cycle. Along with that, cyberbullying allows the perpetrators to mask their identify behind a technological tool such as a computer or a mobile phone. The anonymity provided by technology allows the offender to strike the victim, without revealing their victim or seeing the victim’s physical response. Consequently, the distance provided by the technological devices often contributes to the offenders saying and doing cruel things compared to a traditional bullying situation. 

Recent research studies indicate that a significant number of students are victims of cyberbullying. According to statistics, one in four kids in the United States are bullied regularly (“School Bullying Statistics,” n.d). Comparing bullying and cyberbullying, bullying presents a huge problem in the American school system. Adolescents in the United States have shifted from using the internet as an extra form of communication, to a primary and necessary method of communication. In fact, at least 95 percent of adolescents in the U.S. are connected to the internet (Nixon, 2014). The dramatic shift from face-to-face form of communication has created a unique and harmful dynamic social relationship, now tagged as cyberbullying or internet harassment. As social networking becomes more popular with social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram among others, the prevalence of cyberbullying has intensified. Statistics indicate that, at least 80 percent of all high school students have experienced online bullying. The high number of cyberbullying has being attributed to youth violence including homicide and suicide. The numbers are too high and parents and teachers are concerned. Bullying can threaten students’ physical and emotional safety and negatively affect their ability to learn. The best way to address bullying is to prevent it from occurring. Focusing on bullying in general and specifically on cyberbullying, we design a lesson, which seeks to address the following elements. Firstly, we outline and elaborate on the learning objectives of the lesson focusing on bullying and cyberbullying. Secondly, we give a detailed overview of the measurement method (s) that will be used to determine the student learning and lesson effectiveness. Thirdly, we give a comprehensive list of the materials needed for the lesson, and lastly analyze and present the costs and funding for the lesson. 

Lesson Plan

Subject: Bullying and Cyberbullying

Grade: K-12

Time: Approximately 1 hour 30 minutes 

Learning Objectives

  • During the interactive group conference, students are introduced to key concepts and terms used to describe bullying. 
  • The instructor will present basic information about bullying and cyberbullying. 
  • The difference between bullying and cyberbullying will be discussed.
  • Students will gain awareness of the way social cruelty can affect their learning environment and social lives
  • Digital communication and behaviors will be discussed in details. Topics such as exposure and lack of privacy online and the way digital communications can increase miscommunications and escalate social problems will be discussed. 
  • The teacher will discuss cyberbullying and the safe use of technology in greater detail. The focus is to inform the students about the potential consequences of their online behavior when they bully others. A particularly important point in this discussion is to show students how their online actions or choices can affect their present life, their future, their family, and even the community.
  • Students are offered advice on different ways to handle bullying and cyberbullying in case they find themselves in it, their friends, or their classmates.

Measurement method (s) to determine student learning and lesson effectiveness

Assessment methods are classical ways to measure the student progress and are integral to assess the effectiveness of the lesson and the education system. To be truly effective, the assessment will be in two parts – formative and summative assessment. The formative assessment will be used to identify and respond to student’s learning needs. The instructor will be able to make frequent and interactive assessments to evaluate student understanding. This will enable the instructor to adjust the instructions to meet the individual learner needs and to help students achieve their highest potential. The instructor will also be able to involve the learners in the process and enhance their understanding of bullying and cyberbullying. The formative assessment will also help the instructor to address student misconceptions or lack of understanding about bullying and cyberbullying.

The formative assessment provides the instructor essential information about what the students are learning and the extent to which the teacher is able to meet the learning objectives. The true power of the formative assessment lies in the ability to help the teacher improve the quality of learning, and determine the extent to which the students are mastering the content of the lesson. The information gathered during the formative assessments will serve as a basis for summative evaluations.

Formative Assessment

Classroom discussions

The instructor will initiate discussions by presenting the learners with open-ended questions about bullying and cyberbullying. The goal is to build knowledge, develop critical and creative thinking skills, and allow students increase their depth in their understanding of bullying and cyberbullying. The teacher will assess the student understanding by listening to their responses and taking anecdotal notes. 

Summative Assessment

Journal Reflections

The students will reflect on and process the lesson by writing a journal reflection based on bullying and cyberbullying. The students will write their reflections on the lesson focusing on what they learned, difficulties they experienced, the different strategies they found helpful during the lesson and other topics.

Description of lesson type

Engaging students in active learning is often linked to positive learning outcomes (Arthurs, Kreager, & Arthurs, 2017). A lecture is a method used to transmit information to students and has been used since the universities in Western Europe were first conceived. Transmitted facts and other information usually provide the basis for learning. However, nowadays learning entails more than the time-honored tradition method of lecture or the ability to recall information. The main objective of modern education focuses on the independence of the student activities, the organization of self-learning environment, and the practical training where students actively participate in the learning process. Interactive methods of learning are learning approach designed to help students remain more engaged during the learning session and retain more material. The method helps learners to strengthen their problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Lesson Type

Interactive Learning

The lesson type will be interactive learning and lectures will be in form of discussions. The students and the instructor will become partners in the journey of knowledge acquisition. 

Delivery of the Lesson

  • Watch the story of Amanda Todd – the bullied teen who committed suicide and left behind a chilling YouTube video giving detailed of her cyberbullying experience. The students should also watch the film “Gone too Far” about Jason, who is a top gamer and the new boy at school who gets bullied by Charlie after he loses a challenge to Jason. (20 minutes)
  • The teacher invites the students to share what they learnt about bullying and in particular cyberbullying from the two films. Ask the students what they know more about bullying and cyberbullying. (10 minutes)
  • The teacher introduces bullying and cyberbullying and presents the concepts and terms used to define the two forms of bullying. The teacher will also define the differences between bullying and cyberbullying (5 minutes)
  • Invite three volunteer students to share their experiences with bullying and cyberbullying. The instructor will pick one volunteer student who has experienced bullying in form of physical, verbal, or social bullying and invite him or her to share their experience briefly. The student should be able to tell how they handled the bullying incident. Did they engage an adult, a teacher, their parent, a friend to help them with the situation?

The other two volunteer students will be expected to share their experience with cyberbullying. The students should give a brief description of the incident and the digital platform it occurred, whether people known to the victims or unknown to them orchestrated the bullying. Who did they tell or they chose to handle the bully on their own. How long did the offender keep on bullying them? (15 minutes)

  • After this, the teacher will introduce digital communication, online privacy and the way digital communication escalates social problems. The teacher will then assemble the students in groups of five and have them discuss how they feel digital communication has exposed their privacy and if they have time had at any one an experience of miscommunications or escalated social problems. The groups will be allowed 10 minutes to discuss and then each allocated 2 minutes to present their findings through a group leader. (30 minutes)
  • The teacher will discuss the safe use of digital technology in greater detail presenting information on the various ways students can prevent cyberbullying from happening and ways they can handle it when it happens. The teacher will also discuss ways the students can help their friends in case they became victims of cyberbullying. (10 minutes)

At the end of the lesson, the teacher requires the students to write a self-reflective essay on what they have learnt about bullying and cyberbullying. The students will be allowed two days to complete the essay and submit for assessment.

Materials needed for the Lesson

Materials needed for learning refers to the resources the instructor will use to deliver instruction. The materials will be used to support student learning and ensure effective learning. The materials are tailored to the content which they will be used, to the students and the teacher. In this case, the teaching materials for this lesson include

  • Worksheets that will be used by the students during the 5 minutes group discussion.
  • Pens will be used for writing
  • The Projector will be used to display the films “Gone too Far” and the “Story of Amanda Todd” for the students to view.
  • Desktop computer/ laptop will be used to source the film and connect it with the projector for better viewing by the students
  • WI-FI will be used to connect online to access the film
  • Space to walk around will allow the instructor to walk around the instructional setting interacting with the students and offering assistance where necessary. 
  • Course textbook that will be used in the definition of bullying and cyberbullying
  • Youtube films: “Gone too far.” Retrieved from: https://www.childnet.com/resources/pshetoolkit/cyberbullying/gone-too-far The story of Amanda Todd. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOHXGNx-E7E&feature=plcp
  • Teachers notes

Costs and Budget 

There are various cost analyzes of education, with few systematically taking into considerations the benefits. The conclusion of the costs for a lesson can vary from district to district and state to state. Funds to support public education come from tax collected at the local, state, and national level. The collection and distribution of these funds are authorized by officials within the state and district levels. Education is a function of the state and education costs are often shared among the three levels of government with state funding providing a significant portion of public funding. The cost to cover the lesson will be covered by the state funding money. The cost of the lesson will not affect the budget, which means the budget will not be adjusted.

Conclusion

Bullying and especially cyberbullying is a problem that has become prevalent in schools across the United States. Although cyberbullying is a relatively new form of bullying, its presence poses a grave danger to students. Perpetrators of this act often find it easy to target their victims because most of the times they can hide their identity behind technological devices and will not see the physical reaction of the victim. This particular element of cyberbullying contributes to the offender doing cruel things, without feeling remorseful for their actions.  Unfortunately, cyberbullying can affect the student’s physical and emotional safety and even affect their ability to learn and perform in school. Thus, it is important for teachers and parents to work together to prevent cyberbullying and help students who face cyberbullying to cope with it. The lesson plan outlines the learning objectives, gives a detailed overview of the assessment methods with a focus on both formative and summative assessment. The lesson plan also gives details regarding the lesson type and ways the interactive learning will be delivered, outlines the materials needed for the lesson, and evaluates the costs and budgets needed to fund the lesson.

References

“School Bullying Statistics.” (n.d). Bullying Statistics.  Retrieved from: http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/school-bullying-statistics.html

“What Is Bullying.” (n.d). Stopbullying.gov. Retrieved from: https://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/index.html

Arthurs, L. A., Kreager, B. Z., & Arthurs, L. A. (2017). An integrative review of in-class activities that enable active learning in college science classroom settings. International Journal of Science Education, 39, 15, 2073-2091.

Donegan, R. (2012). Bullying and Cyberbullying: History, Statistics, Law, Prevention, and Analysis. The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, 3(1), 33-42.

Nixon, C. L. (2014). Current perspectives: The impact of cyberbullying on adolescent health. Adolescent Health, Medicine, and Therapeutics, 5, 143-158.Notar, C. E., Padgett, S., & Roden, J. (2013). Cyberbullying: A Review of the Literature. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 1(1), 1-9.

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