Anti-Bullying Education Ideas and How to Tackle It as A Teacher
It is an unfortunate fact that bullying will probably be something that we are always going to have to address and manage in our schools. It is something that can have a detrimental effect on the cognitive and behavioural development of both perpetrators and victims. These habits and anxieties can carry right on in to adulthood, so it is important that we do what we can to reduce the regularity and severity of bullying incidents. It may be a problem that never fully goes away, but that doesn't mean we should stop trying! There is so much we can do to foster an environment of tolerance, acceptance and open communication in our classrooms and on our playgrounds. Here, we hope to give you a few ideas on how to get your students to recognise and talk about the culture of bullying, and to understand the importance of rejecting bullying behaviours.
The origins of a bullying situation can often be put down to poor communication. Timidness, intolerance, stereotyping, emotional suppression and anger are all common habits, and these can easily lead to personality clashes and catalyse incidents of bullying in to long term problems. Our children are still trying to work out who they are, and what appropriate behaviour looks like. So, in this formative stage, there is no better time to foster open communication and to instil healthy discussion and debate skills.
Find videos, pictures, posters and campaigns to do with bullying; anything on which you can build a discussion or debate with your class. You do not just have to do this on the subject of bullying. If there are any other PSHE subjects on which your children might have differing opinions, don’t be afraid to let them have that debate. This is all about teaching them that differing opinions are normal; to be listened too and accepted.
See the resource section for a few debate subjects and discussion starters.
Integrated Subjects: PSHE
Resources: McGruff – Anti-Bullying Film, Bullying You Are Not Alone, Bullying Discussion Starters
Philosophy might seem like a slightly outdated or overly holistic tool with which to deal with bullying. However, philosophy, in its modern form, is being used more and more as a part of many primary syllabuses.
Our academic system fosters a fact based and analytical way of thinking. This way of thinking is crucial to academic success but does not help to develop more abstract thought processes. Recent feedback shows that children who engage with the concepts taught by philosophy are much more reflective and accepting of different views and opinions. We have found a brilliant article that outlines the techniques and benefits of introducing your children to this concept.
Integrated Subjects: PSHE, Philosophy
Resources: A Guide to Philosophical Enquiry in The Primary Classroom (Guardian)
As bullying is an experience, nothing teaches your children about it better than recreating that experience for them. This is where role play comes in. It can be used as a tool to explore the reasons why people might bully others, and to give the children an idea of how it might feel to be bullied.
Divide your class into groups and give each one a scenario. The groups will act out their scenario for the class and then have them comment, discuss and give feedback on the scene they have just witnessed.
Integrated Subjects: PSHE
Resources: Bullying Role Play Cards
This works best as a part of a larger lesson on bullying; a really effective way to test your students’ knowledge and engagement on the subject.
Organise your class into pairs or groups of three and get each to write a list of 5-10 tips on how to overcome bullying. Your students will then share their tips with the class. There will undoubtedly be repetition, so, take note of the most common tips in order to culminate an ultimate ‘Top 10 Tips’ list for your class.
Make a Day of It
If your school is having an anti-bullying day, or even an anti-bullying week you might find that you have whole chunks of off-timetable, anti-bullying allocated class time to fill! You may well have loads of great ideas of your own, but if you are stuck for inspiration then let us recommend the ‘Class Activities’ page put together by the ‘Bullying. No Way!’ campaign. It is full of crafts, performance activities, discussions and literary challenges for your class to get stuck in to. Have a gander!
Integrated Subjects: PSHE, Literacy, Drama, Art
Resources: Bullying. No Way! – Class Activities
Strategies for Teachers
Instilling anti-bullying attitudes in our children and putting prevention strategies in place are the first defences against bullying problems in our schools. However, it does still happen, and can be tricky to deal with in extreme cases. One of the biggest problem is that the nature of bullying is constantly evolving; for example, with so much now happening online, problems are often very difficult to detect and regulate.
If you are worried about how to deal with bullying incidents and behaviours, you may find something of use in one the provided resources below; some of the most informative anti-bullying sources to be found online!
Resources: Bullying Prevention Tips for Teachers, Practical Ways for Teachers to Deal with Bullying at School, Bullying Guidelines for Teachers, Bullying in the Classroom