Bullying is an issue that occurs in schools across the country. It's been a problem within schools for as long as many can remember, and with 40% of young people facing bullying in the last 12 months, it's an issue that's still prevalent throughout education in the UK.
Teachers must stamp out bullying where they can and there are several processes schools can implement to combat bullies.
Here, we'll explore how to spot the different types of bullying and how to promote anti-bullying in schools.
Types of Bullying
Understanding the different types of bullying is the first important step for teachers when looking to promote an anti-bullying stance in schools.
Identifying behaviours that can lead to more serious bullying can help teachers avoid potential issues. These can include:
- Ignoring peers
- Deliberate exclusion
- Laughing at someone
- Whispering about someone nearby
Direct and Indirect
Direct bullying is what springs to mind for most people when they think about what bullying is. It can include verbal harassment, such as name-calling, and can even result in physical violence.
Indirect bullying is often harder to spot and can include spreading rumours about a peer or purposefully ignoring or excluding them.
Verbal and Physical
Verbal bullying, such as name-calling, can sometimes lead to physical bullying. This can happen if verbal bullying is allowed without punishment or the bully no longer feels a sense of power from verbal bullying.
Physical bullying is almost always a form of violence and can include things such as pushing, shoving, hitting or kicking.
Cyberbullying is a relatively new form of bullying that is continually rising due to the emergence of platforms such as social media. This type of bullying can lead to serious issues as there is often little escape for the victim, who can experience bullying at home behind a screen.
Users' anonymity often gives them more confidence to bully others via harassment through messaging apps, posting photos online to embarrass someone or writing hurtful comments on someone's social media profile.
Combatting Modern Bullying
The latest Ofcom research shows that four in 10 children aged 8-17 (39%) have experienced bullying online or offline. The research also found that bullying is more likely to happen via a device (84%) than face-to-face (61%).
So how do teachers promote anti-bullying in schools in an attempt to combat bullying both online and offline?
In the digital age, where children can be exposed to bullying through various forms of media, it's more important than ever for teachers to take the necessary steps to ensure everyone feels safe, comfortable and supported.
With the prevalence of social media and easy access to technology, children are more at risk of being cyberbullied than ever. One in five children aged between 10 and 15 in England and Wales has experienced at least one form of cyberbullying.
But, as cyberbullying numbers continue to rise, it's vital for teachers not to take their eyes away from offline bullying. Here are a few tips for educators on combating bullying.
One of the most effective ways of teaching children about bullying is by creating a specific anti-bullying lesson plan. These lessons discuss age-appropriate topics such as bullying, how it affects people and why it shouldn't happen.
The lessons can explore more than just an explanation of what bullying is, however. Teach your class how to stand up against bullying and where to seek help if they or someone else is being bullied.
Empower Mental Health Champions
Inspiring young people to become mental health champions within their schools can help to reduce the number of students experiencing mental health issues and give children someone to turn to other than a teacher.
Encourage students passionate about making a difference in their community to pursue mental health advocacy initiatives, such as creating support groups for those who have experienced bullying.
With 50% of all mental health problems starting by the age of 14, a proactive approach to mental health within schools can go beyond helping those affected by bullying.
Use Your Assemblies
School assemblies can be an efficient way to promote a school-wide approach to stamping down on bullying behaviour.
You can discuss the issue openly with your school, encouraging all students to stand up to bullying and reach out for help if needed.
Weekly support groups can provide an excellent opportunity for students to meet and discuss friendship, kindness and how to resolve conflict. Meeting weekly can help those who need extra support outside of anti-bullying lessons or assemblies.
These support groups can provide a safe space for students to meet and discuss issues with their peers. All the topics and discussions throughout the session should focus on anti-bullying.
Consider putting together informative materials aimed at students and parents highlighting the importance of understanding why bullying happens, its effect on people's well-being and information on where they can find help.
Bringing parents into the equation means they can help to spot bullying behaviour and understand the necessary steps to combat the issue.
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