Six Tips to Help Teachers Tackle Bullying.
Awareness of the extent of and the various forms of school bullying is probably higher than it has ever been. However, the strategies used to tackle the problem are not always effective and there is a lot of variation between schools.
Whether you’re looking to introduce some new ideas or have been specifically tasked with improving your school’s response, here are six helpful tips.
1. Focus on Boosting Self Esteem
Bullying is designed to damage the target’s self-esteem, so the more teachers can do to instil genuine positive self-worth in their pupils the more resistant they will be when the bullies strike. Remind your students that being bullied is not a reflection on them and is rooted in the bully’s own problems. To illustrate, you could case study some famous people who have been victimised in school (e.g. Taylor Swift, Christian Bale, etc.) Bullies often try to attack a person for being different, so perhaps you could set an exercise where people write down as many unique things about themselves to help foster an acceptance and pride about differences.
2. Encourage Children to Stick Together
Bullies are less likely to target children who are part of a large social network so spend time encouraging students to try out different clubs and activities until they find something they really enjoy. Not only does this create a support network of like-minded peers, it also reduces the incidence of disconnected children wandering the playground alone – often a beacon to the bully and his or her sidekicks. Of course, any programme that helps to develop social and communication skills will help to foster connections between children.
3. Discuss Strategies to Deal with Bullying
If your school has an anti-bullying workshop policy, make sure you familiarise yourself with any protocols that are already in place to avoid confusing children about what they are expected to do if they are bullied or see bullying going on. If there is no policy in place, or the existing one is inadequate, this would be a prime opportunity to introduce or upgrade one. Ideally there should be a process of escalating behaviours with children taught to try ignoring bullying behaviour at first and, if this doesn’t work, calmly asserting themselves and/or walking away – you don’t want to encourage students to come running to a teacher after every minor conflict.
4. Opening Communication Channels
If the abusive behaviour continues – i.e. bullying is happening – the victimised child needs to know exactly who to speak to about it whether that is a specific co-ordinator, an anti-bullying team or a class teacher. If children feel unable to speak to a teacher they should be made aware of external organisations that can help them. Above all, they need to be reassured that there are people who can and will help them and they should never keep any form of abuse to themselves.
5. Team Building Exercises
Bullying within a school or a particular class can result from a general atmosphere of disharmony and tension. For example, pupils may be competing with one another in the run up to a stressful exam and sometimes this can morph into bullying. To nip the problem in the bud it can be productive to set up a team building day either within or, even better, outside of the school environment. There will usually be plenty of options in your area but make sure you choose something that focuses on teamwork rather than individual achievement.
6. Stay Informed
To be a truly effective agent in the fight against the bullies, you need to be aware of any and all developments in terms of government strategies, support groups, educational policy and the findings of psychologists and sociologists. You should also monitor the situation in your school as much as possible to assess what strategies seem to be working and to identify risks. Attending PTA meetings will help you to get parents’ ideas and experiences too.
Learn how to help stop bullying with 2020 Dreams
For many years, 2020 Dreams have been travelling all over the UK to deliver Bullying and Conflict Resolution workshops for schools and other young people’s institutions. Using powerful techniques, such as drama-based role plays and open forum debates, we ensure all pupils are fully engaged throughout. Contact us for more information.
Call us today on 0207 859 4791 or contact us.