Potter Prevents: Harry Potter as Bullying Prevention
Bullying is a key part of the Harry Potter universe. First Harry is brutally bullied by a foster family who treat him as an outsider. He proceeds into a more typical bullying situation with Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle dolling out threats of physical bullying, actual harm and the HP equivalent of racial bullying – persistent references to “mudbloods.” He loses faith in his father and father figures when he sees their torment of Snape, forgiving them only when he realizes they have not developed the empathy he possesses. Most importantly, he continually faces the ultimate bully – Voldemort – who uses his power to control those weaker than himself and cannot recognize until the very end that Harry, with the strength he has developed from experience and allies, is far more powerful than he.
In this high-energy, interactive workshop, participants will learn how to use the books as a framework for exploring bullying prevention based on the thesis that Harry's most noble actions throughout his adventures are directed related to his empathy and sense of justice developed as a target.
We begin by defining bullying (purposefully causing pain to others for your own pleasure or power) and identifying the three types of bullying: physical, verbal and relational (the systematic diminishment of a target's sense of self through gossip and exclusion*). Participants will share examples of each in the series and how they affect the target, the community, and Harry's development as an empathetic leader.
We'll explore the roles played in a bullying drama (Bully, Assistant, Reinforcer, Ignorer, Target and Defender) by role-playing scenes from the books, notably James and Sirius' bullying of Snape. Through in-depth analysis, we'll discover how the prior generation's dynamic affects Harry's opinion of them and the arc of the entire series.
Analyzing Harry's reaction to the abuse of Dudley and his gang vs. that of Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle gives us a conduit to explore the power of friends, mentors and other allies to inoculate a target against the worst effects of bullying. This will provide us with a framework to discuss the importance of allies and other forms of prevention.
Finally, we'll practice defending others (and teaching others to defend) in our own words. Participants will face a bully reading insults drawn from the novels against a target, and practice defending others themselves. This exercise short hands the process of defending and gives participants valuable skills to use the next time they see a wrong being done, or an opportunity to teach others to defend. This workshop provides participants with significant “take-home” opportunities to use the ethics of Harry Potter to make the world a better place. By exploring the evolution of the concept of power across all seven books, participants will experience how bullying impacted Harry, the Hogwarts community, and the overall outcome of the series. Most importantly, the interactive format will give people the opportunity to share their insights on how bullying is explored in the Harry Potter universe and real-world applications in bullying prevention.
Lisa Scott has been a public speaker and trainer for ten years. After graduating from CSU-Pueblo with a degree in English and attending graduate school at the University of Tennessee, she began working for Girl Scouts in Colorado where she created Power Up, a nationally recognized bullying prevention program. Power Up focuses on relational bullying and encouraging bystanders to defend their peers. Power Up has three primary outcomes with the following results: 90% of participants committed to avoiding participation in bullying behaviors, 98% learned ways to help someone who is being bullied, and 93% committed to defending others. Lisa parlayed her passion for Harry Potter into day-long events for 1st-8th graders, teaching literacy, science, and life skills through the Harry Potter ethic. Lisa volunteers on the leadership team of PeaceJam, planning conferences where teens spend time with Nobel Peace Prize winners to be inspired to change the world.