Bullying is still rife in schools. Here’s how teachers can tackle it. | The Guardian

The most effective interventions for bullying involve the pupils themselves – and build empathy between those affected.


Bullying and whispering school kids in uniform
Photograph: Wander Women Collective/Getty Images
Any school trying to tackle a bullying problem needs to look beyond the ‘bully’ and ‘victim’ labels. 


Many people will know what it feels like to be bullied. Despite a wealth of research and well-meaning interventions at a local level, bullying is still a common problem in UK schools (pdf) – and associated with depression, anxiety and even suicide.


Schools are legally obliged to tackle bullying, but they may not have had the adequate guidance or training to do so, meaning that attempts to address it often focus on the more obvious forms of bullying, such as physical aggression, and overlook the children’s views.

I have researched bullying for more than 10 years and implemented interventions in schools since 2014. My most recent intervention included 13 schools over a period of five months, and found that the most effective approaches enable children to play a leading role in resolving bullying.

We can get more students involved in advocating for an anti-bullying culture – here are some ways to get started.


Improve your understanding of bullying.


Any school trying to tackle bullying needs to look beyond the “bully” and “victim” labels. Instead, it’s helpful to consider bullying as a spectrum of negative interactions that range from mild to severe, such as name-calling and hitting. Ask the children in your school about their experiences of bullying, why children might bully others, and how they think bullying should be addressed.

Bullying often happens because of a desire to be popular and to relieve boredom (pdf). To address this, help students find alternative ways to improve their status – by, for example, including ostracised pupils in activities and encouraging their peers to help.


Offer mentoring to ‘bullies.’


Offer mentoring to those students who are persistently in trouble for bullying, to help them understand why they engage in this behaviour and resolve the underlying issues. Talking with students about what happened, the likely consequences of their actions, how they could respond more respectfully next time and role-playing alternative scenarios can all help break the pattern of negative behaviour.

Schools could provide regular sessions to resolve bullying proactively, rather than reacting to specific incidents after the fact. One pupil we worked with said afterwards: “I’ve quit all the fights and naughty things I’ve done.” Meanwhile, one headteacher we worked with told us there were no more reports of bullying at their school after they provided this type of mentoring.

Read on . . .


Source: Bullying is still rife in schools. Here’s how teachers can tackle it | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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