5 effective ways to tackle bullying

Teacher comforting bullying victim in playground

Despite a plethora of well-meaning interventions, bullying is still a common problem in UK schools. In a recent report on bullying in The Guardian, Elizabeth Nassem, Researcher at Birmingham City University’s Centre for the Study of Practice and Culture in Education, argues that many schools have not had adequate guidance or training on how to tackle bullying effectively.
Nassem, who has been researching bullying for more than 10 years, has found the most effective approach to bullying to be one that involves the pupils themselves. She argues, the best way to stamp out bullying behaviour is to build empathy between those affected.

It is common for schools to focus on the obvious forms of bullying, such as physical aggression, when in fact bullying can range from mild to severe from a whole spectrum of negative experiences. These experiences can be anything from name calling to full-blown hitting.

Involving children and advocating an anti-bullying culture is the way forward. Here are 5 ways teachers can achieve just that.

1 – Improve your understanding of bullying

Look beyond the labels of ‘bully’ and ‘victim.’ Ask the children in your class to share their experiences of bullying. Encourage open discussion about why children might bully others, and how they think it should be addressed. Encourage children to include ostracised pupils in activities. Create an environment where peers want to help each other.

2 – Offer mentoring

Offering mentoring to bullies is essential if you are serious about breaking patterns of negative behaviour. Helping the child understand why they engage in this type of behaviour will help them to respond in a more positive and respectful way in the future. Use role play to help the pupil understand the consequences of his or her actions and see through different responses.

3 – Encourage pupils to find solutions

Consult with children who engage in bullying and with those who experience bullying. Encourage children to talk about how they feel and how they can respond more productively to bullying behaviour or the things that trigger bullying behaviour.

Bullying research expert, Nassem, found in a recent study that pupils writing in diaries regularly were able to engage with bullies and resolve bullying behaviour much more frequently on their own as opposed to reporting the incident to teachers.

4 – Bring students together

When children are in conflict with one another, the underlying problem is more likely to be resolved when the two sides are brought together in a meeting. If the bully is able to explain why he or she is acting in that way, the victim is more likely to be able to play a constructive role in finding a solution.

5 – Create respectful relationships between staff and pupils

In order to create an environment of mutual respect between pupils, there needs to be a culture of respectful relationships between staff and children. Teachers should consistently speak to students with respect and listen to children. Pupils are then more likely to do the same with their peers.

Speak Your Mind