If you look up “the steps of problem solving” on Google, nearly every expert will tell you that the first step is to ‘define the problem’. While this may seem almost insultingly obvious, it's a step that is easily and often skipped.
As an example, let’s say your coworker arrives late every single day. What is the problem? The most basic answer? She’s late, of course! Lateness is the problem. Or is it?
What if, instead, lateness is actually a symptom of the true problem?
When rephrased this way, the issue--and the resulting solution--becomes far more complex. If the true problem is traffic, solutions could include going to bed earlier to make it easier to wake up earlier and beat traffic, or finding an alternate route to work. If, however, the true problem is that your coworker is dealing with a negative family situation that keeps her up late, disrupts the sleep, and delays her each morning, finding a backroads route to work will do little to solve her problem.
Defining the problem--the true problem--is the first step to good problem solving. This is just one of several reasons that schools, parents, students, and educators struggle with defeating bullying. Like the situation with your coworker, the question 'what is bullying?' is deceptively complex. Conflicts and teasing get mislabeled as bullying and true bullying is too often mislabeled as teasing or a conflict. Until the problem of bullying is well defined, students will continue to struggle to enact solutions.
To help you and your students tackle step 1 of solving the problem of bullying, we’ve put together this fun cut-and-sort printable activity. Keep scrolling to grab your free, downloadable copy.
Below is the definition of what bullying is, along with the definitions of 3 situations that are often mislabeled as bullying.
After discussing these 4 situations with your students, work together to decide if the scenarios described on the 'Is it Bullying?' worksheet are bullying, mean, teasing, or conflict, or use the worksheet as independent practice to assess student understanding. This worksheet can also easily be pasted into a notebook for easy reference.
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If you’re looking for picture books to help introduce the concept of bullying, check out the titles below:
About Laughing Leopard Press
Hello! We are Laughing Leopard Press, an independent book publisher from Akron, Ohio. At Laughing Leopard Press, we’re interested in publishing works that contribute to our understanding of this wonderful world. Through this blog, we hope to add to that understanding with commentary on life, literature, and a few things in between. We hope you enjoy the blog and take some time to talk with us in the comments or on our social media sites. Happy reading!
This is A. Blob by L. A Kefalos. $14.95
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