After a very welcoming and warm greeting, I was taken to my classroom. Then the atmosphere went from one end of the scale to the other (in a good way of course) from silence to noise, calmness to energy, passivity to anticipation – I had met my first students of the day. I was admittedly nervous as they came through the door. I wondered if they would behave, whether they would be engaged and whether they would warm to me. I was, as I hoped, greeted by a bunch of welcoming young faces sitting before me who looked intrigued to what the next fifty minutes had in store. I chose to do a workshop on bullying using TrueTube’s interactive resource ‘Being Victor: Being Bullied’. It focuses particularly on the notion of the ‘The Bystander Effect’ and how this can directly encourage bullying in its many forms. The bystander effect in general, refers to the psychological disposition that the more people there are, the less likely it is anyone will step in to help a person in distress or assist in a stressful situation. For example, if somebody collapsed in the middle of a busy street - the busier the crowd around them, the less likely it will be that someone will personally help. There are many reasons behind this. People may not feel confident enough, they may feel like it is somebody else’s job to do something, and in cases of bullying, they may feel scared of the consequences if they try and help the victim.
Why do people not feel brave enough to overcome these problems? Why does standing there and doing nothing about it make the bullying worse? These were the sort of questions that were fired at me from the students as we explored the topic together. It was only my very first class of the day and they were already completely engaged and passionate about what we were talking about. The resource we used, takes the students through a set of short films dramatising a young teenager being bullied at a house party. It shows that the bystanders around him make the situation much worse by giving the bully an audience. Each film is followed by an interactive game focusing on different aspects of the situation and raising questions about what should be done. Each activity required a number of volunteers to play on the interactive whiteboard and the whole class worked together in order to complete each round. The sense of team work and enthusiasm was filling up the room and continued to do so with each class that came in throughout the day. By 3 o’clock I felt like we had achieved a lot. The concoction of 180 young minds and just one TrueTube resource had opened the door to critical thinking on a psychological level for the students and made them question how they would personally act in such situations.
We talked about how we would all respond when we see somebody getting bullied and I found every class to be as compassionate and open minded as the next. Sometimes, a little bit of courage is all it takes to make a big difference: A very important lesson taught at Ladybridge High School that day... and a very important day at work for a researcher at TrueTube.