Understanding Relational Aggression
Letter to Group Leader or Teacher
These two classroom activities: Understanding Relational Aggression and What Should One Be Willing to do for Accpetance and Friendships are best suited for a girls only class, such as health, in upper elementary or middle school. They would also be meaningful for after-school or counseling groups.
For the greatest success in developing open discussions that generate productive insights, make copies of these on newsprint for groups of 4-6 per sheet. Instruct the groups on what consensus is that the numbers they write on the newsprint sheet represents or includes the input of each person in the group, they can use decimals.
When all sheets are complete, post them, overlapping so that the numbers they have recorded are side-by-side for comparison.
The value of this exercise is the realization that the numbers recorded per statement will not be identical, affirming that different people have different understandings. Discuss how this might affect friendships or relationships. Ask why students might give differing numbers: primarily because each of us has had unique and different experiences in childhood.
Another value of these exercises is that when discussing the statements in small groups, students are more likely to voice opinions and participate. They are also more likely to accept criticism from peers than from adults.
Go over each statement on the newsprint sheets, asking what came up in discussions; issues, observations, or situations. Now the discussion leader or teacher can add some informational evidence or data and students will be more likely to allow themselves to hear and process that information.
© 2005 Barbara Oehlberg
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