HomepageISTEEdSurge
Skip to content
ascd logo

Log in to Witsby: ASCD’s Next-Generation Professional Learning and Credentialing Platform
Join ASCD
February 10, 2023
ASCD Blog

Video: How Role-Playing Can Help Students Respond to Bullying

author avatar
Students in Chula Vista, California, practice role-playing to strengthen their social awareness, relationship skills, and self-management.
Social-emotional learning
Video: The Solution to Bullying
Credit: Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, EL Show & Tell Video, February 2023
SEL practices have come into sharper focus in schools in recent years as students struggle to readjust to in-person social interactions. These social interactions—in the hallways, playgrounds, classrooms, and bus stops—may include negative behaviors from student to student, such as physical, verbal, and relational bullying and cyberbullying. In their Educational Leadership column, “The Antidote to Bullying,” literacy experts and school administrators Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey ask, What can be done to equip all students with the skills to counteract verbal, relational, or physical bullying?  

Practicing Role-Play

Classrooms that provide a sense of safety help students feel more comfortable making choices and collaborating with one another. This sense of safety can be nurtured by turning to universal SEL interventions, those that are integrated into the school day as opposed to being covered in one-off lessons. A 2020 study exploring the impact of SEL on preventing bullying victimization found that three core SEL competencies—social awareness, relationship skills, and self-management—along with students' positive perceptions of their school's climate, were tied to lower levels of bullying victimization.    
An excellent way to help students practice decision making—before bullying occurs—is to lead role-playing activities. In the video accompanying Fisher and Frey's column (reposted below), Lucy Jiménez, a 3rd grade teacher from Chula Vista, California, leads her students through an opinion-station discussion protocol in which students “witness” verbal bullying events (such as a student being shamed for reading “baby” books) and choose how to respond by walking to a marked section of the classroom. They can choose to 1) take a stand, 2) seek help from an adult, 3) talk to the victim in private, or 4) walk away and ignore. 
In the “baby” book example, for instance, one student chose to talk to the person in private: “It doesn’t matter what kind of book you read,” he says. “At least you have a book to make you smart and be happy.”  
premium resources logoSchool Culture

Show & Tell February 2023 / The Antidote to Bullying

1 year ago
In Jiménez’s classroom, role-playing has allowed students to draw on other dimensions of social-emotional learning, including, as the authors write, “using their knowledge of kindness, communication skills, social awareness of others' perspectives and beliefs, and decision making about their actions.” 
While the pandemic's impact on students' social skills lingers, there's cause for hope. Educators recognize that universal SEL in schools is more important than ever, especially when it comes to violence and bullying prevention, say Fisher and Frey. "Let's capitalize on these efforts to ensure safe learning environments."

Esteban Bachelet is an associate online editor of Educational Leadership magazine.

Learn More

ASCD is dedicated to professional growth and well-being.

Let's put your vision into action.
Related Blogs
View all
undefined
Social-emotional learning
Self-Care Shouldn’t Be an Emergency Measure
Maureen Connolly
2 months ago

undefined
Is it Emotional Regulation or Repression?
Elizabeth Dampf
3 months ago

undefined
Moving Toward District-Wide Wellness
Kate Stoltzfus
4 months ago

undefined
Curiosity: A Gift for Yourself and Your Students
Mary Kingston Roche
5 months ago

undefined
How Self-Regulation Can Reduce Student Anxiety
Zak Cohen
7 months ago
Related Blogs
Self-Care Shouldn’t Be an Emergency Measure
Maureen Connolly
2 months ago

Is it Emotional Regulation or Repression?
Elizabeth Dampf
3 months ago

Moving Toward District-Wide Wellness
Kate Stoltzfus
4 months ago

Curiosity: A Gift for Yourself and Your Students
Mary Kingston Roche
5 months ago

How Self-Regulation Can Reduce Student Anxiety
Zak Cohen
7 months ago