International music superstar Ed Sheeran has sent a message to all Australian schoolchildren and adults asking them to stop bullying.
Using a billboard at his Sydney concert last night, Sheeran, who has sold millions of records around the world, said: “It isn’t big to make others feel small — Ed Sheeran”.
His message coincides with the National Day against Bullying and Violence today.
Almost two million students will stage a national fightback against the bullying and violence that affects thousands of young Australians.
A record 4355 schools across the country have signed on to the national day of action after receiving a letter from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asking them to take a stand against cowardly behaviour.
Student involvement in the anti-bullying campaign has more than doubled since last year.
Students have been asked to imagine a world free from bullying and share their big ideas on action walls, in discussions and other activities in the schoolyard.
Sheeran has been vocal during his career about being bullied as a child for being “a weird kid” and having red hair.
“People don’t like what is different. I think there were three redheads in our school, and that was different… Kids are always gonna find things to pick on other kids for,” Sheeran said about his time at school.
“I was a very, very weird child. Very weird child. And I had a port-wine stain birthmark* on my face that I got lasered off when I was very young, and one day they forgot to put the anaesthetic* on, and then ever since then I had a stutter*,” he told the American Institute for Stuttering’s Freeing Voices Changing Lives Benefit Gala in 2015.
“And I also had very, very big blue glasses. And I lacked an ear drum on one side of my face—one side of my ear — so stuttering was actually the least of my problems when I went to school.”
In that speech, Sheeran also revealed that after his parents bought him an Eminem album, he learned how to rap and went on to learn every word of each track, which led to writing his own music, and eventually curing his stutter.
That “weird kid” is now ruling the music world with millions and millions of fans of all ages across the globe.
birthmark: an unusual, typically permanent, mark on someone’s body which is there from birth
anaesthetic: a substance that removes pain during surgery
stutter: talk with continued involuntary repetition of sounds
LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY
1. What was the anti-bullying message Ed Sheeran displayed?
2. What day did it appear on the eve of?
3. How many students are expected to take part in the national fightback?
4. Why was Ed Sheeran bullied as a child?
5. Name two instruments Ed Sheeran plays.
1. Bully Busting Action Plan
What do you think you can do to help stop bullying in your school and community? List at least five actions and the reason why you think this will help.
Use this to create a Bully Busting Action Plan. Your plan should include at least five rules for your school and community that will help to people to stay safe.
Time: Allow 45 minutes
2. Extension: Pretend you have been asked to speak at your school assembly about the need to stop bullying. Write your speech and list the things that you and your class could do to help tackle bullying in your school.
Time: Allow 60 minutes.
Curriculum Links: Personal and Social Capability.
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many connectives as you can find in pink. Discuss if these are being used as conjunctions, or to join ideas and create flow.
COMMENT ON TODAY’S STORY
In one sentence, tell us what you enjoyed or found interesting about today’s story. Do not use one-word answers. Use lots of adjectives.