Anti–Bullying: Guiding Girls Through Relational Aggression, Grades K-12

Course Outline Summary

Rolling Enrollments
Deepening Learning


Online Professional Development Course   View map

The stereotype of a bully is that he’s male, overweight, and a stranger. But a lot of what we are learning about girls is that they hurt their friends. Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls

This course provides an overview of relational aggression, female bullying, and the dynamics that lead to the causes and effects of this phenomenon. Each succeeding module enriches and leads to in-depth knowledge of the types of relational aggression, what feeds and diminishes the bullying, and how to help girls learn to make positive choices to solve their own friendship problems.

Relational aggression is the predominant method of bullying used by females. Starting as early as 2.5 years, this dynamic can interfere with relationships and academic progress in grade school girls, tweens, and teens. Without understanding the dynamics of relational aggression, many girls don’t realize their ways of relating might actually be bullying. Some girls know exactly what they’re doing. Without intervention, relational aggression can persist.

Beyond the years of formal education, girls and women may continue to be affected by relational aggression, whether the bully, bullied, or bystander. This type of bullying can negatively affect a female in her work world, personal relationships, and leadership potential throughout the rest of her life.

The following course has been divided into the following modules:

1. Understanding Relational Aggression and Its Relationship to Bullying
2. Defusing Relational Aggression
3. Providing Strategies for Teachers
4. Establishing a Safe and Encouraging Environment
5. Leveraging School Leadership to Reduce Relational Aggression


  • I learned so much about a topic I didn’t know anything about. I have never heard of relational aggression, but now I see how it is the missing puzzle piece to “bullying.” The typical bullying we deal with in school is only half of all of the problems we deal with in school. Now I have a name to go with conflict with my female students. Now I have strategies for helping all of my students problem-solve independently! Thank you for an enlightening course.

    Angela W., Michigan Reply
  • I would recommend it to anyone because it puts a name to bullying that is seen in many children today. It helped make it clear what bullying is and what kind of “friendship weapon” students are using. I have seen how disappointed students are to not be part of a group but this helped seeing the research as to why and what to do about it. If more colleagues took this course then our school could be on the same page on how to solve this type of bullying.

    Amanda V., Michigan Reply
  • I did enjoy the course and even used some of the techniques yesterday with two girls in my class. One got mad at the other because she said they could be math partners but then the girl went and started working with a boy instead. The other girl got jealous and called her a bxxxx, sxxx, etc.
    So…I was able to talk to her and say “how did that make you feel when she did that”. “Yes, I can tell this upsets you”. And I was able to get her to convey that it’s not because she likes the boy, but because she didn’t want to lose the girl as a friend, etc. She was being possessive over her. We talked it out, and I felt great to be able to help. Without the course, I don’t know if I would have even recognized it.

    Lexi S., New York City Reply
  • The assignments helped me create a plan for my own classroom that I intend to use. These are the type of assignments that are actually useful for the teacher. I thought the format and content of the course was excellent and very relevant to what is happening in our classrooms. I found the format clear and easy to navigate.

    Christina T., Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Reply
  • The assignments helped me reflect on the material and I was able to think of real situations that I could use the strategies presented.

    Fernando C,, Los Angeles Unified School District Reply

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