How to Prevent Bullying at School

| Classroom Culture


Feb 27 2017

Preventing bullying is a hot topic in schools right now, but the act of bullying is something that's been around for decades and exists at every grade level. So what can you do as a teacher to prevent bullying from occurring in your school? Read our tips for a good starting point.


Define Bullying Clearly

Bullying can and does happen at every grade level, so the entirety of your school district should use the same language when addressing the issue of bullying in school. Be sure to clearly define what constitutes bullying and ensure that teachers and staff can easily distinguish teasing from bullying. While teasing is done to irritate and annoy, bullying is characterized by aggressive physical or verbal behavior and is done as a display of dominance and power over another student. It's easy to blur the line between teasing and bullying, so be sure that each is clearly defined and provide examples to students and staff so that everyone in your school can easily identify when true bullying is taking place.


Don't Be Quick to Judge

Often times when bullying does take place, teachers and other students can be quick to label the student by calling him or her a bully. To do this is to plant the idea in the student's head that this is what they are, which can lead to future problems. Instead, try first to gather all of the information to determine exactly what happened and why. Remember that every student involved comes from a different circumstance and teachers may not be fully aware of what that student is dealing with at home. Ensure that the individual doing the bullying knows that what he or she has done is wrong and why it's wrong. Make sure the consequences of his or her actions are made clear and lay out exactly what will be done should the action occur again in the future. This will allow you to effectively communicate with the student without jumping to conclusions or placing unnecessary judgement on them.


Set Rules and Expectations that are Reasonable and Clear

Set age appropriate rules for different grade levels, and define them clearly. Be sure to state rules in positive terms, and keep the number of rules to just a few overarching themes that students will be able to remember and that can apply to most situations. These guidelines will set the tone for your classroom and help teachers determine when a rule is being broken.


Leave the Lines of Communication Open

Communication between students and teachers is the key to preventing bullying. Make sure your students feel comfortable coming to you with any questions or concerns they may have, and remind them often that you are always available to talk should a student need help. In addition, leave the lines of communication open for parents, and keep parents informed when there's an issue.


Encourage Positive Behavior

Be sure you're rewarding good behavior and not just punishing bad behavior. Any time you catch a student doing something good, point it out and reward them for it. Positive reinforcement is always more effective than negative.


Have more tips for preventing bullying in schools? Share your thoughts in opinions in the comments!


 
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