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ISTITUTO COMPRENSIVO DI

GATTEO

accepto
How to defend
against verbal
bullying and
Words are very
reinforce selfimportant:
esteem

WHAT IS VERBAL BULLYING?


It is a means of using
language in a negative way,
such as insults, teasing,
name calling, inappropriate
or racist remarks,etc.,
to gain power over
someone elses life.

Even though this kind of abuse creates no physical damage,


verbal bullying can have lasting psychological impacts on
victims.
It can affect oneself image and tear down anyones
confidence and esteem.
Children affected by verbal bullying may become anxious,
angry or fearful; sometimes they can show signs of
physical illness such as nausea, headaches or chills.
Other children may not have outward symptoms but they
can suffer from feelings of rejection, inferiority or fear.

Verbal bullying is more difficult to identify


since the attacks tend to occur only where
adults are not present. It is also difficult to
deal with verbal bullies, but there are some
things that can help children affected by
this kind of abuse.
It is important to help children sort out
their feelings and to encourage them
to overcome any negative effects
bullying may cause. The final goal is to
reinforce their confidence and selfesteem.

ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT


IN OUR SCHOOL

QUESTIONNAIRE AND
TABULATION OF RESULTS

In order to assess the extent of the phenomenon of


verbal bullying in our school and implement effective
interventions, we made up a questionnaire with seven
questions that some students of the third classes have
handed out to 85 pupils of the first classes.
1. Have you ever been verbally offended in a direct or
indirect manner?
2. Have you been faced with offensive words?
Which ones?
3. How did you feel (sad, humiliated, unable to react,
angry, indifferent)?
4. Is there a word that has mostly hurt you? Which one?
5. Have you reacted to the insult?
6. What is the best way to reply to a verbal insult?
7. Do you think that the bully is a person to be afraid
of?

After collecting the answers the oldest kids examined


them and, on the basis of the results, they created
some graphs that show the percentages, in two
versions: without distinction between males and
females and with distinction of gender.

VERBAL BULLYING
R E S U LT S O F T H E Q U E S T I O N N A I R E G I V E N T O
S T U D E NT S OF F I R ST C L A SS E S

Returned questionnaires

12%

88%

Returned
questionnaire
Not returned
questionnaire

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN VERBALLY OFFENDED IN


A DIRECT OR INDIRECT MANNER?

15% 1%

84%

Yes
No
Doesn't answer

HAVE YOU BEEN FACED WITH OFFENSIVE WORDS?


WHICH ONES?

25%

1%

74%

Yes
No
Doesn't answer

Among the most frequently mentioned offenses:


stupid, incapable, ugly, vid, bad words linked to
sexual relations and family.

HOW DID YOU FEEL (SAD, HUMILIATED, UNABLE TO REACT, ANGRY,


INDIFFERENT)?

16%

9%

75%

Negative
feelings
Indifferent
Not offended

As you can see the feelings of sadness and humiliation are the most
pointed out together with those of anger to which we can also add a
sense of powerlessness, shown by a lower percentage. This highlights
that verbal offence creates a condition of uneasiness that is rather
generalised. The percentage of whom is indifferent is really lower.

IS THERE A WORD THAT HAS MOSTLY HURT YOU?


WHICH ONE?

11% 5%
84%

Yes
No
Doesn't answer

Among the offenses that hurt more are those relating to the
family and sexual relations.
In this group are also present insults linked to the physical
appearance (obese, vid, ugly);
it is also mentioned the derision of the surname as a source of
particular discomfort

HAVE YOU REACTED TO THE INSULT?

9% 6%
49%

36%

has reacted
hasn't reacted
has asked an adult
for help
doesn't answer

The graph is interesting, especially in relation to the next slide.


Here there is a missing option that is suggested as possible in
further replies, that is "talk to the bully/reconcile".
Seven percentage points divide the two replies preferred by
students.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO REPLY TO A


VERBAL INSULT?

5%

15%

28%
33%
19%

Talk to an adult
Act as if nothing has
happened
Talk to the bully
React
Doesn't answer

Five percentage points divide the two answers with more


preferences; answers that - it is interesting to see - are at the
antipodes.
The fewest number of preferences goes to the option " talk to
an adult" instead.

DO YOU THINK THAT THE VERBAL BULLY


IS A PERSON TO BE AFRAID OF?

7%

61%

32%
Yes
No
Doesn't answer

The percentage (rather relevant) of students who replied that the


bully is not to be feared might be due to:
the students consider verbal bullying less dreadful than the physical
.
one;
the students show off an attitude of self confidence that they not
always have in their daily life, because of their pride. So we might
infer that maybe they havent been so sincere in answering this
question (see slide 13).

CALCULATIONS WITH
DISTINCTION OF GENDER
MALES-FEMALES

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN VERBALLY OFFENDED IN


A DIRECT OR INDIRECT MANNER?
Males

Females

Yes
3%
14%

83%

No
Doesn't
answer

15%
85%

HAVE YOU BEEN FACED WITH OFFENSIVE WORDS?


WHICH ONES?

Males

21% 3%
76%

Females

Yes
No
Doesn't
answer

24%
76%

HOW DID YOU FEEL (SAD, HUMILIATED,


UNABLE TO REACT, ANGRY, INDIFFERENT)?

Males

13%
24%

63%

Females
Negative
feelings
Indifferent
Not
offended

9% 6%
85%

From the percentages it can be observed that girls, more than


boys, have negative feelings (56 girls out of 34 boys), while the
percentage of boys being indifferent towards this problem is
higher (13 boys out of 6 girls). Therefore we can deduce that
girls are more sensitive to offences and develop feelings of
discomfort and uneasiness.

IS THERE A WORD THAT HAS MOSTLY HURT YOU?


WHICH ONE?

Males

21% 3%
76%

Females
Yes
No
Doesn't
answer

9%
91%

From the percentages it can be observed that girls, more than


boys, identified among the various verbal abuse a word that
hurts them more deeply.

HAVE YOU REACTED TO THE INSULT?


Males

7%
10%
45%

38%

Females

3%
9%
58%

30%

has reacted
hasn't
reacted
has asked an
adult for
help
doesn't
answer

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO REPLY TO A


VERBAL INSULT?
Females

Males

Talk to an
adult
10%
40%

12%
7% 31%

9%
33%

4%

18%
36%

Act as if
nothing has
happened
Talk to the
bully
React
Doesn't
answer

DO YOU THINK THAT THE VERBAL BULLY


IS A PERSON TO BE AFRAID OF?
Males

12% 24%
64%

Females

3%
67%

30%

Yes
No
Doesn't
answer

The most important difference is the percentage related to


the victim's reaction: this solution is given by 40% of
males and only 9% of females.
On the other hand only 7% of the boys choose the
solution of dialogue and reconciliation with the
bully, an option that obtained 33% of the votes by
the girls.
This diversity could derive from the traditional point of
view, which identifies males as more inclined to a physical
reaction and females to dialogue.
The solution preferred by females, with a 36 %, is acting if
nothing has happened, with a difference of only five
percentage points; the same difference is for the choice
talk to an adult", preferred by 18% of females and 12% of
males. The latter remains, for both genders, the
penultimate answer in order of preference.

DISSEMINATION OF RESULTS
The students of the third classes returned to
the first classes to communicate the results
of the questionnaire and get the reflections
and the comments.
Then they showed the video and asked
students about the significance of what they
saw.

Conclusion
At the end of the debate, the oldest students summed up
the best strategies to deal with insults and verbal
provocations, as follows:
Dont play the bullies game, remain civil, deny the
bullies what they want, that is a reaction from you
(dealing with their insults in a civilized manner could
make them seem immature in comparison);

Avoid trouble, dont look upset (your


posture and facial expression should
show that you are unafraid, and more
importantly, unimpressed, if possible,
smile);

Use the big six tactics: ignoring,


dismissing, misunderstanding,
agreeing,
ribbing, reflecting.

Remember that you will always have


the moral high ground. When they
bully, they show a sign of weakness
and insecurity.

In order to make the understanding of the


phenomenon of verbal bullying more effective, the
oldest boys made a short play representing the
meeting between a boy and two "bullies" who make
fun of him with insults and other harassment. The
reaction of the victim serves to help the youngest
pupils to understand the best way to respond to
bullies' attacks.

The play is meant to explain the way


to cope with bullies.
An indifferent attitude is the best
way to discourage them.
The ghost who cant be hurt by the
arrows represents the person who
cannot be hit by the provocations of
the bullies.
Three scenes are performed:

The first one portrays bullies teasing


the ghost because he is short.
He stays still, pretending not to hear,
filing his nails and yawning.
They throw arrows against him but
they fail the goal.

The second scene plays on the


ambiguity of the term bookworm,
that means he is swot because he
spends too much time studying, and
they ask him to go fishing with them ,
in the role of worm.
But the ghost uses the hook to make an
earring, disorienting his attackers.

The third one regards his being skinny:


the bullies compare him to a broomstick and
to a toothpick, eventually blowing him away,
or its better to say, theyre willing to do so.
As a matter of fact, the ghost takes advantage
of the wind, dancing and waving his drapery.
Once again he isnt hurt at all by the offence.
The bullies anger raises up progressively,
until they give up the teasing, feeling
powerless.

Enjoy the video


Thank you for
watching us