Lesson Idea

The Bystander Effect

Theme: Active Citizenship
Relates to WACC: ACHCK050, ACHCK062, ACHCK076, ACHCK078, ACHCK094, VCCCC036, VCCCG020, VCCCG030, VCCCL022, VCCCL034
  • Discuss with students what they think this means in the context of active citizenship. Watch the YouTube extract The Bystander Effect: The Science of Empathy and complete the following SEE -THINK- WONDER exercise.
    • What do you see? • What do you think is going on? • What does it make you wonder? Discuss as a class why people acted this way.
  • Students visit the bystander effect information on the Changing Minds website (or download the page for students to use in class). Students complete the resource Bystander effect explosion chart worksheet.  An extended activity for Year 10 students would be to watch The death of Kitty Genovese video and explore how the bystander effect works.
  • Pose the question and discuss:  The role of Crime Stoppers is to encourage/empower citizens to be proactive and report suspicious behaviour or criminal activity. What adverse consequences for individuals and the broader community are likely to arise if citizens do not resist the bystander effect in these situations?

Conduct as a class a Circles of Action activity (page 17) with your students to explore how they could persuade people to be active citizens, overcoming the Bystander effect. What can I do in:

1. my inner circle of friends, family, people I know
2. my community such as my school and my neighbourhood
3. the world beyond my immediate environment.

Ask students to create a digital story to illustrate one of your suggested actions using an app such as Puppet Pals HD. Once completed, students then pair and share their stories.

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