How to deal with bullying within your classroom
Unfortunately bullying is something that every teacher will have to deal with at some point in their careers. As a teacher you are the only person in a position to put a stop to it and protect the child which is being bullied. Whether you are a new teacher, or a veteran teacher here are some ideas you can use within your school to counteract bullying.
The many different forms of bullying.
In its essence bullying is the strong preying on the weak. This can be due to a physical advantage or a social advantage. There could be one bully, more than one bully or a bully with many by-standers. It can take the form of intimidation, cruelty, threats, physical abuse, and/ or forcing someone against their will to do what the bully wants them to do. With the new digital age, online bullying now makes up a huge percentage of all bullying incidents. It is also important to note that bullying isn’t confined to the classroom and can occur in the playground, hallway, canteen, online and on the way to and from school. Although it can be difficult to know how to handle a situation that may not be taking place in school it is important to have a plan of action, keep your cool and handle the situation appropriately. Here are some steps you can take to handle any bullying situation.
Make a commitment.
When it comes to tackling bullying, it isn’t something that will resolve itself within a few hours. It could take days, weeks and even months. And once resolved the bullying may restart after a quiet few months. It’s important to realise the commitment you are making towards your students to follow through and never give up until it has been resolved. Just think of the difference you will be making to that child’s life.
Your school’s policy may involve referring any bullying incidents so that the right staff are made aware and the appropriate action taken. This doesn’t mean that your job is over, it’s important to always keep up to date with what action has been taken, what action will be taken and check on how the child is doing. Just because the incident has been referred to the proper channels does not mean that the bullying has been solved. As with the previous step, making a commitment to the child means following through and checking whether any action has been taken.
Discuss the schools bullying policy with the class.
By teaching the schools bullying policy, it allows the pupils to understand what bullying is. Clearly define what bullying is and what happens if they bully a fellow pupil. This allows everyone to be aware from the start what the school classes as bullying so that in the future a pupil cannot say that they did not know it was bullying.
Talk to your pupils.
This is so simple but can be really effective. When you happen to be individually working with a pupil just ask, “How are things?” “Is there anyone bothering you at the moment?” “Have you seen another pupil picking on someone?” These types of questions only take a few seconds but can give you more information than any other method. If you have a good rapport with the pupil, they’ll tell you everything. Also, by showing an interest in the child’s well being, a child that is being bullied will be more likely to tell you they are.
5 ideas to use within your school to counteract bullying.
1. Explain bullying through metaphors
A great example of how to show what effect bullying has is using the two apples metaphor. One apple is repeatedly dropped, and the children say unkind words to It. The second apple is passed around with only kind words said to it. Both apples are held up while the class talk about the similarities and differences between the two apples. On the outside both apples look the same and it is only when cut open that we see the damage of the apple the children said unkind words to is revealed.
2. Class discussions
It is important to hold regular class discussions on how to behave in the classroom and playground. Also, to encourage students to not be a by-stander when witnessing bullying and make sure they know how and where they can report the bullying.
3. Bully Box
For most children they are either too scared or intimidated to speak up about bullying. By having a bully box those intimidated students can anonymously leave notes for the teacher. Whether it’s to say they are being bullied or to report someone else being bullied. This eliminates the fear of the bully finding out that they told a teacher about them.
4. Bullying Policies
If your school doesn’t already have one, create a clear policy on what happens when a student reports bullying. If your school already has one in place, incorporate it and perhaps modify it to make it personal to your class. This is also something that can be discussed in your class discussions so that the children are clear of what is and isn’t acceptable and if a child is being bullied, what they can do and how to report it.
5. Communicate with the parents
With your bullying policy in place it is best to send a copy to all school parents. By creating open communications with parents, it becomes easier to inform parents about reported behaviour and if their child is involved in a bullying situation. This allows teachers and parents to support each other to resolve the issue and get to the root cause of the behaviour.
Do you have any systems you’ve found particularly helpful in counteracting bullying, then comment below or Tweet us @Staffroomed