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What's my role and what can I do?

Social and Emotional Learning

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Overview

Identifying the roles that we and other people assume in hate speech scenarios is important in understanding feelings, motivations and possible actions or outcomes. This unit builds on the work of the units in Themes 1-3 by further exploring self-awareness of feelings around hate speech and meta-cognition strategies to self-regulate our behaviour. Using these skills, the following activities explore the key factors that a young person may be able to exert control over in a hate speech scenario and the possible strategies that can be used to shift a negative situation towards something more positive. The importance of an exit strategy to safely allow a young person (and others) to escape a conflict situation are also explored.

Prompt Questions

These questions are provided as examples to initiate and guide discussions around the topic in this focus area.

  • How can you move a bad situation towards a positive outcome?
  • Are you an agent of change?
  • How can you positively impact a hate speech situation?
  • What are the challenges to overcome when trying to alter a hate speech situation?

Warm Up Activity

The SELMA project short definition of hate speech is:

“Any online content targeting someone based on protected characteristics with the intent or likely effect of inciting, spreading or promoting hatred or other forms of discrimination.”

Agents of Change

This activity is designed to help learners understand what key characteristics an agent needs in order to be successful. This links to online hate speech as it will help your learners explore the characteristics an agent may have to exploit in order to change the outcome of a situation (in this case, hate speech).

Display the picture of the secret agent provided in the slides.

Ask - What makes a good field agent?

Record suggestions from the learners and guide them towards this list:

  • Stealth
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Understanding the target.

Ask - What skills might an agent need in order to be successful?

Again, record suggestions from the learners and guide them towards this list:

  • Understanding where and when to engage
  • Timing
  • Focus
  • Language
  • Communication skills
  • Understanding the situation
  • Escape routes
  • Self-defence
  • Resilience
  • Courage.

Explain that many of these skills and attributes can be usefully applied to online hate speech situations too.

Main Activity

The SELMA project short definition of hate speech is:

“Any online content targeting someone based on protected characteristics with the intent or likely effect of inciting, spreading or promoting hatred or other forms of discrimination.”

Assume a role

Explain that this next activity will help learners to understand the range of roles that may be present in any group situation - online or offline.

Share the following roles from the slides and agree a definition for each with the group:

  • Person who hates
  • Victim of hate speech
  • Bystander
  • Upstander (someone who stands up to the hater)
  • Cheerleader
  • Stirrer
  • Admirer
  • Follower
  • Joker.

Ask - Can each role make negative and positive contributions to a hate speech situation?

Share ideas as a group.

Ask - Does everyone always behave in the same way and in the same role?

Discuss - thinking about (leader to select a current, relevant hate speech case) can you allocate roles to some of the people involved in this case?

Ask - How do you know if a hate speech situation is occurring, or developing?

(Note: if you ran the scenarios from Theme 3 - How does hate speech make me feel?, learners will already have explored how people react in different scenarios. You may wish to revisit those scenarios as part of this exercise.)

Share the following statements/questions from the slides with the learners:

  • Trust your emotions.
  • Assess the situation.
  • What strategy would you use to change the outcomes of the situation?
  • What can you say or do?
  • How do you say it or do it?
  • When should you do it?

Divide learners up into small groups (around three per group).

Share the hate speech scenarios from the slides with the learners. Ask the learners to read these and select one that they find interesting.

Ask - Can you identify what roles are present in your scenario and what you might be able to do to change the behaviour of the people in those roles?

Discuss the outcomes of their discussions for each scenario.

Ask - How would you implement your strategy?

Then allow time for discussion. Support the learners by providing the following:

Identify your target (the person you are trying to influence). Take action. Step back (meta-moment).

Ask - What would you do if your meta-moment showed that the intervention was not successful?

Guide learners to understand that planning an exit strategy is also important.

Ask - What might your exit strategy be if things go wrong?

Collect responses from the learners. Guide the learners so that the following examples are given:

Block and report, use of humour, ask for help from a moderator or adult, ask for support from friends, interrupt and divert onto a different topic, stop responding to comments/messages, turn off notifications and exit social media.

Review the learning.

What are the key skills required to alter the direction of a conversation?

What strategies can you personally implement to escape a scenario? What are some of the challenges?

Tasks

Ask learners to select a recent hate speech case (or you, as the facilitator, could give them a scenario) and design a briefing pack for someone to use to intervene in the situation. Learners should include: a plan, maps, any scripts needed and escape routes to exit the scenario if things get difficult.

Outcome Criteria

  • Identify the roles individuals assume in a hate speech situation.
  • Suggest appropriate engagement approaches.
  • Understand what an appropriate exit strategy is and apply it.

Resources

Identify the roles individuals assume in a hate speech situation. Suggest appropriate engagement approaches. Understand what an appropriate exit strategy is and apply it.

Resource

Agents of change

Exploring the characteristics and strategies of a person who can effect change.

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Assume a role

Identifying the roles individuals assume in a hate speech situation.

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