Summary: Students act out a real-life bullying situation and, as a class, explore alternative ways to handle conflict (based on the Theatre of the Oppressed exercise).
Target grades: 6th and above
Minimum time needed: one class period
Materials needed: none
Connections to Bullying: strategies for effective conflict resolution, understanding different points of view (why people behave as they do), examining the role of bystanders
- In small groups, students share personal experiences of when they witnessed or experienced bullying (they don’t have to have been the victim). Each group will then choose one story to act out.
- The first group acts out their chosen story. These scenes need only be 30 seconds – 1 minute long.
- The leader then asks the audience if they have an idea for another way the conflict could have been handled. If someone has an idea, they get up and take the place of the appropriate actor. The actors re-start the scene, with the new participant making the changes. The actors should react in an appropriate way for their character to whatever changes are introduced so the new ending can be tried.
- The leader then asks the group for another idea of who the action could have progressed. The same is repeated. The original actors should step back into the scene, unless their role is once again being taken over by someone else.
- Continue until all possibilities are exhausted.
- Discuss how the different strategies affected everyone in the scene. How can what was observed in the scenarios be used in real life?
- Repeat with another scene.
Ask students to choose which strategy they thought was most effective and write the scene down. The written scene should be long enough to include what might possibly happen next (this could be a second scene).
“We separated the kids into boy and girl groups. This didn’t work out well because the girls took it seriously and worked hard while the boys goofed around. It would have worked better to have both.”