The 15th– 19th November 2019 is anti-bullying week. This week aims to highlight the issue of bullying, mainly in schools, and put a stop to it.
Bullying comes in many forms, verbal abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, cyber bullying, and it isn’t always visible. That’s why it is important for students to feel like they have someone to talk to. As the majority of bullying happens in schools, teachers should be someone that students trust, to talk to about any issues that are bothering them.
According to the Department of Education:
- ‘one in six young people reported being bullied in the previous 12 months.’
- Verbal bullying is the most common type, with 89% of children admitting to being verbally bullied.
- 72% of students said their school dealt with bullying very well. This statistic has fallen from 78% the previous year however.
- Victims of bullying said they were considerably more likely to report bullying to their school.
- In March 2018, 17% of children between the ages of 10-15 in England reported that they were bullied in the previous 12 months, in a way that made them frightened or upset.
- 60% of people who had been bullied said they had experienced physical bullying.
- 89% said they had experienced verbal bullying.
- 18% said they had experienced theft/damage of their belongings.
Why does bullying happen?
People can bully for a number of reasons, including: being a victim of bullying themselves, feeling powerful over others, being worried or upset about something, peer pressure or needing the approval of others and a lack of understanding/social skills.
Signs that someone is being bullied
There are sometimes indications to look out for that someone is being bullied. These are: not wanting to go to school, appearing upset/distressed/anxious, showing a lack of confidence or appearing withdrawn, not eating and/or sleeping properly, changes in behaviour and/or performance – especially at school.
How can teachers help prevent bullying?
Helping children to understand the perspectives of others will allow them to gain an understanding of other people’s situations. Teach kindness is vital, but how? Teachers can carry out activities that promote social-emotional learning, and enhance team building skills. Having children talk about what makes them unique one way of educating them about their differences.
Educator Susan Patterson says:
“Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and teachers need to embed this skill into their curriculum. We need to do identity work with children early on so that kids know who they are and who everybody else is and what their place is in the world.”
Establishing a sense of community is another way of creating a safe space and encouraging children to speak out about anything that’s bothering them. Bullying can be reduced by making students feel connected to one another, as well as to their teacher. This will encourage a welcoming atmosphere in the classroom. After all, children spend a lot of time in school, so it should feel like a safe space.
With this year’s anti-bullying theme of ‘change starts with us,’ teachers can certainly be proactive in reducing bullying in schools. Identifying bullying and addressing the problem as it arises is vital in putting an end to the issue. Children are sometimes unaware of the effect bullying can have on the individual, so educating them on this is a step on the right direction to reduce the issue.
Click here for more information and help on bullying. Always remember that it’s okay to talk to others and share your problem with someone, as well as being there to listen to someone in need. A problem shared is a problem halved!