How to prevent bullying in the classroom
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, at least one out of every five students reports being bullied. StopBullying.gov, a website run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reports a frequency as high as one out of every three students. Studies also show that 30% of students admitted to bullying others, and 70% of students said they had witnessed bullying.
These statistics may not come as a surprise to parents or teachers. But even if we can all agree that bullying is a prevalent problem, the question remains: how can we stop it?
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. This campaign hopes to be a catalyst for change in classrooms around the world.
While searching for a solution to bullying is not simple, there are some tactics educators can use to combat it. Here are eight tips for preventing bullying in the classroom.
1. Discuss bullying with students.
Students might only associate the word bullying with physical violence. But verbal and emotional bullying can take an enormous toll.
Help students understand that there are multiple types of bullying and explain how to watch for signs that it is happening.
2. Make yourself visible throughout the day.
Students tend to wait until they are unsupervised and the “coast is clear” to bully. Make sure there is enough supervision in hallways, near restrooms, and outside at recess. The presence of a teacher can deter bullying.
3. Maintain open communication with students.
Check in with students and listen to their concerns. If you have observed bullying, bring it up with the targeted student individually. Let students know they are safe at school and that the school has counseling resources if they need them.
4. Discuss bullying with parents.
While teachers have the most insight into their students’ school days, parents have the most insight into any potential bullying happening outside the school grounds.
Make sure parents are aware of warning signs for bullying. If teachers and parents act as partners, bullying can be eradicated from a classroom more easily.
5. Assign your own groups for projects.
Instead of allowing students to group up with the same friends for every project, encourage them to make new connections outside of their comfort zones. This helps to combat cliques forming within a classroom.
6. Respond quickly to bullying incidents or allegations.
If you personally observe bullying, make sure students are punished appropriately. And if you hear allegations of bullying, investigate the situation right away.
7. Speak to victims and bullies privately.
Talking to a victim of bullying in front of their peers can further solidify their status as a target. Make sure students know that they can come and speak to you privately about any bullying concerns.
If a bullying incident arises, open a line of communication with the students who are doing the bullying. They may have been victims of bullying themselves in the past. Talk with them and help them to better understand how important it is to stop the cycle.
8. Encourage students to engage with activities they love.
If students are struggling to form friendships in their class, it can help to participate in extracurricular activities or hobbies with other like-minded students. When students embrace what makes them unique, it can be easier to find their tribe.
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