Speaking for the Minority Voice

9, 10, 11, 12

Youth utilize the persuasive power of oral, written and visual media as instruments of change. They make a plan as empowered and responsible members of the civil society to take action to prevent bullying behavior while being sensitive to the people involved, from the victim to the bystander to the bully.

PrintOne 45-Minute Class Period, plus time to carry out a service-learning project

The learners will:

  • utilize the persuasive power of written or oral communication as an instrument of change in the community, nation or the world.
  • select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
  • articulate and demonstrate the safety procedures that are part of the volunteer experience.
  • describe the procedures and the importance of sensitivity to the people with whom students are working.
  • advocacy: the act or process of speaking in favor of a cause

  • bullying: repeated negative behavior with a desire to harm someone with less power (size, strength, or other perceived imbalance of power); The aggressor appears to enjoy the interaction, and the victim feels oppressed.

  • bully: a person who habitually acts with the intention of threatening, intimidating, or harming others, particularly people who appear weaker

  • civic virtue: morality or a standard of righteous behavior in relationship to a citizen's involvement in society. An individual may exhibit civic virtue by voting, volunteering, organizing a book group, or attending a PTA meeting.

  • civil rights: the rights of freedom guaranteed to all U.S. citizens as described in the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution

  • minority: a group of people who are either perceived to have less power or have had their power taken away by an oppressive group 

  • philanthropist: someone who gives time, talent, or treasure and takes action for the common good

  • social capital: personal investment of time through social interactions that builds trust and enables participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives

  • empathy: identification with and understanding the feelings of another person
Reflection is a key component of service learning that adds meaning to the experience. Ask students whether their perspectives changed after this experience. How? Ask how they felt about their service.
Read: In the novel The Giver by Lois Lowry, the characters live in a world where there is no conflict. Everyone is completely equal, and all expectations are spelled out for each year of everyone’s life. Sharing feelings and apologies are a regular part of each day. It sounds like a perfect world, doesn’t it? But there are problems. When everyone is the same and there are no surprises, life can be pretty dull. In order to remove all unpleasantness, the community over time has removed all the joy and creativity of life.
Discuss: We would like to live in a perfect world, but that isn’t a world in which everyone is the same. Our differences may cause conflict, but they also give us strength and creativity. Why is it important for the world to be made up of people who have different perspectives and strengths? What challenges result from differences? What benefits from differences do you see for our community? How does bullying prevent our community from receiving the benefits of diversity?

Golding, William. The Lord of the Flies. Faber and Faber, 1954.

Lowry, Lois. The Giver. Ember, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0385732550


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Show one of the video clips linked here:https://groundspark.org/our-films-and-campaigns/lets-get-real/lgr_clips. Some clips show youth who stood up for a classmate. The final clip lists several students' proposed solutions to the problem of bullying behavior. Ask your students what they think the solution is. Encourage them to think beyond responding to one situation and propose ideas for creating a bully-free school culture that gets to the root of the issue. They may be thinking of their own school or of a local middle school or elementary.

  2. Ask students why they might choose to take action to stop bullying behavior. Remind them that they are part of the civil society sector that takes action to address real needs of minority voices when those needs aren't met by the administration (government and business), just like a civil rights leader (recall some of the actions of the historical civil rights leaders discussed in the previous lesson). Tell them that they have or can obtain the skills and knowledge to address the issue of bullying at school.

  3. Here are some rough ideas for taking action:

    • Use video cameras to make PSAs against bullying behavior and to teach people how to respond. (High School students may teach anti-bullying techniques to younger children.)
    • Use persuasive writing as an instrument of change.
    • Brainstorm ideas for educating and supporting victims of bullying, including support groups, conflict resolution posters, or wallet cards listing things to do if you’re bullied.
    • Think about ways to help bullies address bullying behavior. What might help people deal with negative feelings in a better way and act more compassionately? Maybe a community service program to build empathy in which people volunteer to help disabled children, or tutor younger children who are having trouble in school? What else?
  4. Have small groups brainstorm ideas for taking action. After some small group time, have groups share their favorite ideas with the class. Discuss the ideas, modify as a group, and vote on a favorite.

  5. Students create a plan of action, including making an issue/statement of need, forming an objective, planning the action, and predicting the anticipated impact.

  6. Choose three class representatives to present the idea to the principal and school counselor. If they approve, put it into action!

  7. Before, during and after the action, engage students in reflection. Before the action, the reflection should focus on discussions of being sensitive to the feelings of the people involved. During the action, reflect on what they expect, how things are going, and what else they need to learn or do to make the project successful. After the action, reflection may focus on evaluating their project's success, measurable outcomes, and how they feel about their efforts.

  8. Finally, help students organize a demonstration of what they did, including the process, action and results. They may describe the project, share anecdotal photos and reports, and report on the measurable outcomes. This demonstration may be a creative presentation or a social media report.

Cross Curriculum 

Students take action to help youth respond to bullying behavior or to help schools address it. Some ideas follow: Use video cameras to make PSAs against bullying behavior and to teach people how to respond. (High School students may teach anti-bullying techniques to younger children.) Use persuasive writing as an instrument of change. Educate and support victims of bullying behavior, including support groups, conflict resolution posters, or wallet cards listing things to do if you’re bullied.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Identify specific learning objectives from the academic core curriculum that are being applied in the service-learning project.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.
    4. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.