This month’s blog post has been written in conjunction with Anti Bullying Week (11th-15th November), and the theme for this year is: “Change Starts With Us”. Working with a range of organisations including the government, the media, schools and parents; the Anti Bullying Alliance surveyed over 1,000 11-16 year olds creating the ‘Change Starts With Us’ report.
We felt the theme really resonated with the work we do. With 48% of children polled when asked where change should start saying they wished their school did more to tackle bullying, what can as educators do to help?
Taking On Collective Responsibilites
We all have a collective responsibility to manage behaviour around the school/college site; including inside and outside of classrooms, along corridors and in communal areas. Maintaining a presence and reinforcing clearly defined rules and expectations can minimise the opportunities for negative behaviour. Nearly a quarter (24%) of children surveyed say they have experienced bullying once a week or more during the past 6 months. The learning environment should be a safe space where if these incidents do happen, they are dealt with swiftly and fairly. Aside from verbal or physical fights, learners growing up in today’s society can be subjected to online abuse 24 hours a days, 7 days a week. Promote a school environment that focuses on positive mental health and well being, encourages discussion and seeks to remove barriers towards whole school learning.
Changing Adult Behaviour
Here at Pivotal the first behaviour we look to change is that of the adults. Change does start with us. As adults we are responsible for controlling and leveling out our own behaviour, building certainty and consistency. We can contribute towards a safe and stable learning environment, opening staff and learner communications and starting those positive conversations.
“The young people we spoke to were keen on schools providing a supportive framework to help them understand each other. They tended to want to move away from a ‘sanction-based’ approach to bullying of punishment and instead preferred a more ‘restorative’ approach where they look at the root cause of bullying”. (Page 20 of Change Starts With Us report.)
We model the behaviours we wish to see from learners. Notice those go over and above every day. Start having those restorative conversations and see what changes you can make to help eradicate bullying. Be “Ready, Respectful and Safe”.
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For further resources and information on the topics discussed in this blog post, take a look at these: