Sunday 27 April 2014


Description: This lesson proposal is organized around the theme of bullying through the use of a detail from the painting “Children’s Games” by the Flemish 16th century painter Pieter Bruegel the elder, a powerful painting, Bullying, by the American painter/illustrator/film maker Matt Mahurin, and a short film, “Mark”, produced within the framework of the UNICEF C4D strategic process. The Visible Thinking routines used are: Step inside: Perceive, Believe, Care aboutWhat Makes You Say That and Headlines.        

Level: Intermediate-Upper intermediate
Learners: Tweens, early teens
Theme: Bullying
Language: Bullying related vocabulary, expressing opinions
Skills: Observing and describing paintings, building explanations, speaking, watching a short film
Materials: Slides, a short film, worksheet

Step 1
Show your students the detail from Bruegel’s painting. Tell them to imagine they are the boy in the centre of the painting and ask them:

What can the boy perceive?
What might the boy believe?
What might he care about?

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
If students have difficulty with perceive provide alternatives (realize, understand). Ask individual students for feedback and keep a class chart/list with students’ different perspectives and viewpoints (Have a look at some pictures of practice here).

Step 2
Reveal the title and the name of the painter. Explain that it is a detail from a painting which depicted children’s games in the 16th century. Ask: 

What kind of game do you think it is? 
Do you think all the children are having fun? 

Encourage them to justify their answers. Explain that what they see is the penalty of “bumbouncing” (bouncing someone's buttocks on planks) which was quite painful and unpleasant. Ask them: 

Why do you think they punish the boy? 
Do you believe it’s fair? 
Would you treat your friends/classmates like that? 
(Have a look at some pictures of practice here

Step 3
Show your students Matt Mahurin’s painting. Ask them:
What’s going on?
What do you see that makes you say that?
Matt Mahurin, Bullying

Encourage individual answers. If needed scaffold students by continually asking the follow-up question after a student gives an interpretation. Elicit explanatory statements by drawing attention if needed to details like body language (tight fists), surroundings (gloomy colours, clouds, edge of a cliff), the shadows at the bottom right part of the painting. Make a chart or keep an ongoing list of explanations posted in the classroom.
Ask students to guess what the title of the painting is. 

(Have a look at some pictures of practice here)

Step 4
Reveal the title of the painting and the name of the painter. Ask your students how these two paintings make them feel.
Step 5
Write on the board the different forms of bullying: Physical, Verbal, Social, Cyber Bullying. Show the slide and ask your students to identify them. Hold a plenary discussion.

Step 6
Pair your students again and ask them to complete the first activity in the worksheet. Go around the classroom and help them with vocabulary if needed or advise them to look up the unknown words in the dictionary. 

Step 7
Tell your students that they are going to watch a short film about bullying. Organize them in small groups and ask groups to have a look at the questions in the second activity of the worksheet before watching the film. Show the video and allow 10 minutes for the groups to discuss and answer the questions. Show the video again and get feedback. 

Mark from UNICEF C4D on Vimeo.

Step 8
Ask your students: If you were to write a headline about bullying now that would capture the most important aspect of the issue, what would that be? Let your students expand on it creatively. You can have a look at some pictures of practice here.

I hope you find this proposal worth experimenting.


Kylah Semelina said...

the compilation of works of art, the material and the ideas are great. Thanks for sharing, I'm going to try this out.
Best regards from Claudia, Austria

Chrysa said...

Thank you for your comment Kylah Semelina. I am happy the lesson proposal has been of interest to you. I am even happier that you are thinking of trying it out. Let me know how it went.