Title

Let's get real : how anti-bias, anti-bullying curricula impact the way middle school youth talk about bullying and bias

Publication Date

1-1-2006

Degree Name

MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

John Ungerleider

Abstract

Let's Get Real is a documentary film that features middle school youth speaking openly and honestly about their experiences with name-calling and bullying. Produced by the Respect For All Project, a national organizing campaign working to create safe schools and communities, the film examines the issues of bias and prejudice that often lead to the taunting and harassment that occurs among young people. This paper explores how watching Let's Get Real and participating in the accompanying lessons and facilitated discussions impact the way middle school students talk about bullying and bias. Three middle school classrooms provided insight into this question. Drawing from the qualitative approach to research and utilizing strategies of inquiry from the case study genre, data was collected through open-ended interviews with students, classroom observation, and a review of students' written work. Findings from this study indicate that the Let's Get Real program has the potential to be a valuable tool to use with middle school students to start discussions and raise awareness about bullying and bias, but that a variety of factors influence how effective the curricula is with students. Educators, in particular, play an important role in determining the impact of the Let's Get Real program on middle school students. This research has practical applicability for the Respect For All Project and other programs involved in anti-bias, anti-bullying work, as well as organizations considering creating similar programs.

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