Owning Up: Empowering Adolescents to Confront Social Cruelty, Bullying, and Injustice 2ed


SKU: 9781506343679 Categories: , ,

Owning Up provides a structured program for teaching students to own up and take responsibility – as perpetrators, bystanders, and targets – for unethical behaviour. The curriculum is designed for adolescent groups (Grades 6-10) in schools and other settings and can be used in co-educational groups as well as with girls and boys separately. Owning Up presents a unique and comprehensive approach to preventing youth violence by targeting the root causes of bullying and other forms of social cruelty. It exposes the cultural expectations that teach young people to humiliate and dehumanise others as the way to achieve power and respect, then challenges them to transform this dynamic. The program also addresses the nuanced ways in which racism, classism, and homophobia are expressed in our culture and affect social cruelty and violence. Sessions combine group discussions, games, role-playing, and other activities to engage students in understanding the complexities of adolescent social culture. Students learn to recognize that they have a responsibility to treat themselves and others with dignity and to speak out against social cruelty and injustice.


  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Author
  • Introduction
  • Session 1: Getting Started
  • Session 2: Girl World and Boy World
  • Session 3: Just Kidding
  • Session 4: SEAL
  • Session 5: The Power of Gossip
  • Session 6: Reputations and Double Standards
  • Session 7: The Power of Groups
  • Session 8: Creating Your Style
  • Session 9: Managing Technology
  • Session 10: The Mirror
  • Session 11: Race and Bias
  • Session 12: Facing Race, Ethnicity, and Gender
  • Session 13: Finding Support
  • Session 14: Crushes and Rejection
  • Session 15: Recognizing and Respecting Boundaries
  • Session 16: Sexual Harassment
  • Session 17: Concluding the Program
  • Appendix A: Welcome Letter From a School to Parents
  • Appendix B: Letter to Parent or Guardian of a Child Who is Bullying
  • Appendix C: Letter from Parent or Guardian Whose Child is Being Bullied
  • Appendix D: Questions for the Beach Ball Exercise
  • Appendix E: Handout for Interviewing An Adult
  • Appendix F: Eating Disorder Handout
  • Appendix G: Pre/Post Surveys
  • Resources
  • References
  • Index

Author Bio

Rosalind Wiseman is an internationally recognized expert on children and adolescents, parenting, bullying, social justice, and ethical leadership. She founded the Empower Program, a national violence prevention program, in 1992. Since then, the Owning Up model has been used successfully with thousands of youth in schools and organizations throughout the U.S. and in various other countries. Rosalind is the author of numerous books. Each year Rosalind works with tens of thousands of students, educators, parents, counsellors, coaches, and administrators to create communities based on the belief that each person has a responsibility to treat him or herself and others with dignity. She was one of the principal speakers at the White House Summit on Bullying. Other audiences have included the American School Counseling Association, National Education Association, International Chiefs of Police, American Association of School Administrators, and countless schools throughout the US and abroad.


“Owning Up is the most logical and down-to-earth curriculum I have used with my students in over ten years. Wiseman’s ability to help the counsellor or teacher relate to kids is unparalleled. The curriculum provides a framework with a variety of activities and lessons within each session, which allows any educator using it to make it their own. It creates a natural rhythm for the educator and the students, and this creates a safe space for honest and open dialogue. Wiseman does a great job of reminding adults that we carry our own baggage from our own adolescent years. If we can put that aside, or be mindful it exists, we can help students have a healthier middle and high school experience. If you use one curriculum this is the one you should choose, because it will transform your classroom and allow your students to talk about tough topics and still feel safe.”