Children from Maunga Kids Club in Livingstone have had a lesson on bullying with a practical example that helped them to appreciate how victims of bullying can be made to feel.
Having learned that bullying can take different forms: verbal (threatening, making nasty comments and calling names), non-verbal (pulling faces and turning your back to someone) and physical (hitting, shoving and kicking), the students carried out a practical exercise to bring the message home.
The children were asked to stand up. Three were then instructed to stand to one side, while the rest of the class formed a group. Each child in the main group was given a sweet. The three children who were left out were then asked how they felt. Understandably, they said it was not a good feeling at all.
Learning that bullying can lead to depression, anxiety, loneliness, loss of appetite, disturbed sleep and truancy, the students embraced the message of anti-bullying and the importance of being kind to each other. They were surprised to discover that people who bully can suffer the effects of their behaviour themselves; getting into fights easily, getting into trouble as an adult and experiencing a loss of empathy towards others.
The students found bullying an interesting topic. The lesson was important from a social development point of view, as some of the children did not even realise that bullying was wrong and had never put themselves in the position of a child who was being bullied before.