The Ways Teachers Can Reduce and Prevent Bullying
The class textbook lists several ways that teachers can utilize to address bullying in school. They include:
- Talking with the Victim of Bullying
The teacher should ask the bullied child to suggest ways he or she thinks the situation may be changed to make him or her feel safe. In addition, the teacher should offer advice about the areas to avoid and ask the child to select a friend who will make them feel safer and less lonely. Moreover, it is important to help the child learn how to control their emotions if emotional reactions (such as outbursts) are the reasons which provoke the bullying.
- Talking with the Child who Bullies
The teacher should listen to what the perpetrator of bullying has to say, without judging them. It is advisable to not directly admonish the child, as this might provoke retaliatory bullying against the victim. Instead, the teacher should explain why bullying is wrong and the need to stop it.
- Reminding the Child who Bullies about School Rules
The teacher should meet the child who bullies in private and remind them about anti-bullying rules. If there are no rules, it is advisable to create some to make it clear why it is important to respect others and not to hurt them.
- Understanding the Circumstances of Bullying
One way the teacher can help reduce bullying is by trying to understand the reasons behind the problem. For instance, was it revenge for something the victim did? Addressing such issues, for example, advising the victim what to avoid, will help to prevent future incidents of bullying.
- Redirecting the Bullying Child’s Energy into Productive Activities.
This is a useful strategy as it allows children who bully bothers to shift their energies to productive and less harmful activities. For example, the child can be appointed the class monitor in charge of enforcing order when the teacher is not around. This will help to give the child the opportunity to meet their need to exercise power but in a positive way.
- Treating the Bullying Child with Respect and Dignity.
Teachers should treat the bullying child with dignity as a means of making them feel respected. This is because bullies expect to be treated with contempt; treating them with respect will make one more likely to become less aggressive and vengeful.
- Understanding the Bullying Child’s Point of View.
Psychologist Arthur Horne advises that the teacher should invite the child to suggest his or her views on how the problem can be addressed. He proposes statements like, “we need to find a different way for you to manage your anger and for you to tolerate other students, even if you don’t like them” (Orpinas and Horne 194). This approach encourages the child to be more willing in addressing the problem.
- Avoiding Punishment
Counseling experts believe that “penalties do not deter children with serious bullying problems and that punishment leads to harsher attacks” (Kaiser and Rasminsky 269). Instead, they recommend that teachers should work with parents to identify and monitor children with bullying tendencies. For instance, parents should disclose if they suspect their child to be a bully.
Definition of Bullying and the Key Takeaways
- The Definition of Bullying
In the article “Bullying: It Starts in Preschool,” Steven Bonnay defines bullying as: “A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself” (Bonnay 1). Further, he notes that bullying typically happens within children’s social groups, and takes both physical and non-physical forms.
- The Takeaway
The author identified two major takeaways on how to address bullying. He states that “the biggest takeaway here is to create a safe space for your child to express themselves honestly” (Bonnay 2). With regards to group conflicts, he states that “the key takeaway from this review is the importance of providing positive means of conflict resolution in instances of bullying through discussions at group time” (Bonnay 2). This strategy will help children to better understand the impact of their actions on others.
Road Signs to Identify Potential Bullies
- Road Sign One: A Difficult Temperament (0-3 years old).
This attitude develops gradually, leading to the inability to control one’s emotions. Behavior development in children takes place in stages, whereby one stage forms the foundation of the next one. For example, the way a child negotiates relationships with early childhood caregivers determines how he or she will negotiate with peers.
- Road Sign Two: Difficulty Playing with Friends (3-5 years old).
The speaker observes that during the preschool years, playing in the brain’s food: playing with peers, playing with pets, playing with siblings, and playing with parents. Children who had to exhibit difficult temperaments at 3 years of age will experience difficulties playing with peers and are likely to become bullies.
- Road Sign Three: Difficulty with Friendships (5-8 years old).
When a child joins the elementary school, he or she moves further into the world of friendships. The red flag for a potential bully at this stage is the inability to create, maintain or sustain friendships with classmates. Teachers are advised to review road signs one and two to help the child develop social skills, which will enable him or her to relate well with peers.
- Road Sign Four: “I Don’t Care” Attitude (8-12 years old).
Potential bullies at this age exhibit indifference to authority and discipline. They are unafraid of punishment, and they seem not to care about the effects consequences of their actions. The speaker observes that punishment is toxic to such children, as it hardens their negative behavior; they may learn to come with punishment, such that it will not deter them from bullying in the future.
Bonnay, Steven. “Bullying: It Starts in Preschool.” Early Childhood Education Blog, 2017, Web.
Kaiser, Barbara, and Rasminsky, Judy S. “Bullying.” In Challenging Behavior in Young Children: Understanding, Preventing and Responding Effectively. Pearson Education, 2015.
Orpinas, Pamela, and Arthur M. Horne. Bullying Prevention: Creating a Positive School Climate and Developing Social Competence. American Psychological Association, 2006.