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Anti-bullying Week 2022: Eight Tips for Teachers to Deal with Bullying in Your Classroom

This is Anti-bullying Week, the annual campaign that seeks to raise awareness and reduce bullying in schools and communities.

Educational professionals know the frequency and detrimental effects of bullying within schools and higher education institutions. However, teachers may find it challenging to manage bullying behaviour day-to-day.

What exactly is Anti-Bullying Week?
Anti-Bullying Week 2022 takes place between Monday 14 and Friday 18 of November. CBBC and CBeebies star Andy Day is leading celebrity support for the campaign, with his band Andy and the Odd Socks. Schools are encouraged to support the initiative with fun events such as Odd Sock Day – find out more here.

The Anti-Bullying Alliance is a collective of organisations and individuals which has been running the week since 2002. They explain:

“The events aim to raise awareness of bullying of children and young people, in schools and elsewhere, and to highlight ways of preventing and responding to it. It started in 2002 and has since grown to become a significant event in the calendars of children, families and schools.”

What is bullying?

This seems like a simple question to answer, but many people are still unaware of what exactly constitutes

bullying and the drastic effects it has on victims.

The Anti-Bullying Alliance’s definition of bullying is:

“The repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship

involves an imbalance of power. It can happen face to face or online.”

Bullying can be emotional, physical or cyber abuse.

Eight tips for teachers:

Teachers and educators must be able to spot different types of bullying and know how to act if they observe a child being victimised in any way.

We’ve come up with some advice on dealing with bullying in your classroom:

Trust is key: Children need to feel supported, heard and believed when they speak out about bullies. Make sure your students know how to report bullying in a way that feels safe and leads to action to resolve the problem. They must know they are being taken seriously. Ask them what they need and what they would like to happen.

Not just part of school life: Bullying is not normal or acceptable or just to be expected. Bullying causes long-term damage to both the victim and the bully, and teachers must act to ensure that it is dealt with quickly and effectively, for the well-being of all involved

Gender stereotypes are unhelpful: A common attitude when it comes to gender and bullying is that girls are cliquey or “bitchy,’” whereas boys are more physically violent. The sad reality is that anyone can be a bully, and anyone can become a victim of bullying, with serious long-term consequences for all involved.

Never the fault of the victim: Children are individuals and should never be told to “just ignore” the bully, or change their own behaviour, appearance or identity to fit in and reduce the risk of bullying. The problem lies with the child who is doing the bullying behaviour and this child who should be educated and supported to change, with appropriate sanctions where necessary.

Show children that you are doing something about it: Communicate and check in with the victim frequently and record all your actions. Make children aware of additional sources of support such as the Childline helpline, for when they are out of school or just need someone to talk to in confidence.

Talk about it: Schools need a talking culture where bullying behaviour is quickly and openly discussed and dealt with. Investigate the situation fully, making sure that all involved are spoken to and dealt with appropriately. Consult with children about how it feels to be in your class and the school. Are there any spaces where children feel particularly vulnerable to bullying? Are there any particular forms of bullying that are a big problem and that aren’t being addressed?

Be familiar with your school’s anti-bullying policy: All schools must have an anti-bullying policy which is freely available and accessible, regularly reviewed and updated, and promoted internally and to parents so that everyone is aware. Make sure your pupils know about it, and the consequences of bullying behaviour.

Zero tolerance for bigoted language: Don’t turn a blind eye to problematic language and attitudes in your school, from pupils, parents or colleagues. Challenge all offensive or discriminatory language to show that it is completely unacceptable.

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