How to Counter Bullying in Schools

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Adults in a school community can achieve a great deal to counter bullying. However, the potential to make a real change lies with the students. Students respond more readily to the opinions of their peers. With this in mind, teachers or counselors should come up with a role-play which requires five players – the bully, the victim, the defender, the re-enforcer and the outsider. In the first role play, the players should support the bully. Then the role-play is reversed and they should support the victim. This role play is a powerful way to show the role of the bystanders in controlling what actually happens in the playground. The swing of power can just as easily be towards the victim, thus rejecting and controlling the bully’s aggressive behavior.

This exercise is conducted with 11 Grade Peer Support Leaders, so that they can teach it to their Grade 6 or Grade 7 groups. The leaders found it very effective, as the power struggle is felt even in role-play. It illustrates well how power is given to people by bystanders.

Victim empowerment helps the victim to gain confidence, become independent and resist bullying. Some programs teach the victims how to answer bullies to disarm and confuse them, thus reducing their power. This is an area where more research is urgently needed. The No Blame Approach needs to be adopted by all staff members when dealing with bullying. Most students, given the opportunity to reflect on their aggression without blame, are remorseful.

Anti-bullying now need to go several steps further – past the obvious, into the minds of students, who are, after all, the experts – and address those more subtle factors that act as barriers to bystander intervention. Critical to the creation of a non-violent, peaceful culture is the visible involvement of the whole school community. The perception of students in this study was that they had no support from the principal, teachers, non-teaching staff and entire student body.
This exercise is conducted with 11 Grade Peer Support Leaders, so that they can teach it to their Grade 6 or Grade 7 groups. The leaders found it very effective, as the power struggle is felt even in role-play. It illustrates well how power is given to people by bystanders.
Victim empowerment helps the victim to gain confidence, become independent and resist bullying. Some programs teach the victims how to answer bullies to disarm and confuse them, thus reducing their power. This is an area where more research is urgently needed. The No Blame Approach needs to be adopted by all staff members when dealing with bullying. Most students, given the opportunity to reflect on their aggression without blame, are remorseful.

Any Information on the basis of anti-bullying policies will be not effective if not students are motivated enough to get involved. It is indeed critical that programs now address the emotional deterrents of fear, awkwardness, group affiliation, enthusiasm and lack of concern. Future policies should examine the culture of the school, which lay down the behavioral code for incoming students.

By: Francis David

Francis helps parents, administrators and teachers learn about Character Education and how the Just Do The Right Thing Program can help kids of all levels find success both in and outside the Classroom.

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