5 Tips to Support Teachers

5 Tips to Support Teachers with Modern Bullying
a child being bullied at school by 3 of his peers

Our Student Profile Has Changed: Here Are 5 Tips to Support Teachers with Modern Bullying

November 2018 | Issue #03

What did you watch on TV last night? Whether it was your favorite reality show, a situational comedy, or even a cartoon, there’s a good chance your students were tuned in to the same program with their families. Today, what families watch together is quite different than what you may have watched when you were in school. This could be attributed to cable companies targeting individual members of the family, as opposed to the whole family. For example, consider the targeted audience for networks such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Lifetime, and ESPN. “Many shows that are really popular with young kids are not made for young kids,” says researcher Nicole Martins, PhD. Martins adds, that even though the bad behavior exhibited in these shows usually has consequences, kids younger than age 8 often miss the moral message. The truth is, there is a lot of bullying going on in the “real world” outside of our schools. This can be particularly challenging for educators who are trying to teach students that such behaviors are hurtful to theirs peers. Just look at your Twitter feed, check Facebook, or tune in to the news. We’re hearing a lot of name-calling, insults, and belittling. Students hear and see it too (National Education Association, 2018).

Approximately 32 percent of students report being bullied at school. Bullied students are more likely to take a weapon to school, get involved in physical fights, and suffer from anxiety and depression, health problems, and mental health problems. They suffer academically as well. Research suggests that schools where students report a more severe bullying climate score lower on standardized assessments than schools with a better climate; add cyberbullying into the mix and it turns into a 24/7 dilemma. The decline of in-person social interaction and incline of being alone using a mobile device or computer, increases loneliness. Studies have also showed that social media use leads to more negative emotions than positive (Twenge, 2017). With the immediate and anonymous qualities of the internet, students can perpetrate acts of bullying that they would never consider doing in person (California Department of Education, 2003).

Our student profile has changed; we can no longer assume students know the appropriate ways to behave. We need to teach expectations and appropriate behaviors as effectively as we teach academic skills. Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS; Sugai & Horner, 2006) is a three-tiered prevention strategy that focuses on the prevention of student behavior problems, and promotes a positive, collaborative school environment. Schools implementing PBIS have documented significant decreases in discipline problems (e.g., bullying, aggressive behaviors, suspensions, office discipline referrals) enhanced school climate, reduced need for counseling and special education services, and improved academic outcomes and prosocial behavior (Bradshaw et al., 2010; 2012, Horner et al., 2009).

Here are Five Tips to support Teachers with Bully prevention:

  • Know Your School and District Policies on Bullying: Do your part to implement them effectively.
  • Treat Students and Others with Warmth and Respect: Let students know that you are available to listen and help them.
  • Conduct Classroom Activities around Bullying: Help your class identify bullying in books, TV shows and movies, and discuss the impact of that bullying and how it was/could be resolved. Hold class meetings in which students can talk about bullying and peer relations.
  • Discuss Bullying with Colleagues: As a group, you will be better able to monitor the school environment. Discuss both bullying in general and concerns regarding specific students.
  • Take Immediate Action: Failure to act provides tacit approval of the behavior and can cause it to spread.

For more resources on bully prevention feel free to check out the links below

Bullying Prevention: 5 Tips for Teachers, Principals, and Parents

Stepping Up and Stepping In to Prevent Bullying

Social Media’s Impact on Students’ Mental Health Comes Into Focus

Warning Signs a Child Is Being Cyberbullied or Is Cyberbullying