Teachers often find themselves feeling disconnected from their students. In this age of smart-phones and social media, understanding the student experience becomes especially difficult for educators and parents to grasp. As a result, bullying becomes a more complex and normalized practice within schools. In order to improve the student and teacher experience, educators should gain an understanding of anti-bullying spaces by defining, promoting, and requiring them in their own classrooms. By gaining a better understanding of the behavior, educators can take steps towards creating a space rid of such negativity.
Bullying is a notoriously popular issue in schools worldwide. As a result, plenty of online resources provide details and instructions about creating anti-bullying spaces.
- Anti-Bullying Classroom Activities: This page, provided by Australian organization “Bullying No Way,” offers users the ability to discuss, research, and plan methods of reducing bullying within the classroom. It includes dozens of links to various lesson plans and classroom activities, from sedentary poster making, to lively skits. The activities range from 10 to 60 minutes in length, most capable of being executed in a single class period. Some of the activities include defining a bystander, identifying bullying behavior, strategies for responding to bullying, responding to racism, and empowering student leaders. The site also provides resources for connecting with experts, including the Kids Helpline at School (KAS) and Office of the eSafety Commissioner. Overall, the activities are designed to work best in an elementary-level classroom, though could be molded to work for older audiences.
- Anti-Bullying Units and Lessons: Teacher organization “Learning to Give” provides lesson plans catered towards all grade school levels, from K-12.
These lessons force students to think deeply about bullying patterns and methods of setting up a positive school culture. The lesson plans list relevant school subject in which educators could integrate them.
- Cyber-Bullying Prevention: This resource, created by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), provides details specific to cyber-bullying. It provides provides three age-appropriate download links for elementary, lower, and high school-level lesson plans. The units list goals including “Building a Foundation for Safe and Kind Online Communication,” “Dealing with Social Pressures that Promote Online Cruelty,” and “CyberBullying and Online Cruelty: Challenging Social Norms.” Another pdf also outlines the correlation of each of the lesson plans to its respective common-core standards, allowing public school teachers to fit their lessons more fluidly into their classes.
- Bullying Misconceptions: This article from stopbullying.gov starts by defining bullying, then lists and explains 10 myths that educators most commonly believe about it. These explanations include differences between conflict and bullying, types of bullying, and places at which it could occur. The resource provides great, clear explanations that give educators and parents a better understanding where bullying can take place and how children will often react.
- Bullying Symptoms and Causes: This page from Boston Children’s Hospital explains why a child could become a victim or a bully. It delineates a rationale for the situation to occur, including symptoms that would put a victim at risk, and disorders that increase the risk of becoming the bully or the victim. Overall, the resource provides a means for identifying and understanding the behavior. In order to eliminate the behavior within the classroom, educators should read this article to understand its roots.
- Bullying Impact: This piece from US News, written by Alan Mozes, explores the lifelong impact of childhood bullying. A study found that more long term and frequent bullying showed graver consequences for the victim’s future. According to the article, developing characteristics such as “resilience, grit and self-esteem,” within the children can limit the consequences on their wellbeing.
- Building a Safe Environment: Here, stopbullying.gov provides details and internal links for building a safe and supportive environment within the classroom. It provides instructions on creating and reinforcing ground rules, as well as establishing a classroom forum for open discussion. Overall, the site’s goal to establish a culture of inclusion allows teachers to prevent harassment between classmates.
- LGBT Bullying Prevention Resources: This GLSEN page lists several links to resources and articles for creating safe spaces and preventing bullying of LGBTQ+ youth. The page links articles that describe realities for LGBT students, as well as additional resources about creating a safer and more inclusive school environment.
- National Bullying Prevention Center: This page from PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center provides information for educators and parents about preventing bullying and maximizing student wellbeing. It includes links to an anti-bullying resource kit, a “Kids Against Bullying” website, and various educational videos. It also includes resources for caring for students with disabilities, as well as for teaching both kids and teens. There is also a template letter for students and teachers that notifies a school about bullying. Overall, this resource aims to inspire parents and students to care more about the issue. Teachers can share this resource with their students in order to improve the school culture.
In order to prevent harassment and keep students happy and safe, teachers should build an inclusive environment within their classrooms. Educators must take into account student experiences and be mindful of how students are treating each other. Rather than spy on the students, teachers should build an environment in which students lack temptation to bully others. Hence, by creating an “anti-bullying space” within the classroom, teachers will ultimately create a more inclusive and educational space for their students.
- Anti Discrimination Laws: This study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office highlights the “Extent of Legal Protections for Vulnerable Groups.” The study addresses an inconsistency across states in legally protected groups within anti-bullying laws.Some groups are not protected from prejudice under federal or local law. The article criticizes the measures (or lack thereof) that local school districts across the nation are taking to combat school bullying. The report recommends that educators and parents research their state civil-rights laws and take further measures to protect their students.
- More Lessons and Assembly Plans: This resource from Ditch the Label provides class and assembly plans to combat various types of bullying and prejudice. Each lesson plan is designed to last about 60 minutes, and each assembly plan is about 5-10 minutes long. Either way, with this resource, teachers can integrate these lessons into their programming, depending on how much time they are able to dedicate. The article cites “Anti-Bullying Week” as a good time to introduce these topics. It also provides ideas for fundraising for anti-bullying organizations.
- Anti-Bullying Program: This article from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), by Stewart Wolpert praises a successful anti-bullying program. The program, called KiVa, was found by two psychology graduate students at UCLA to help repeatedly bullied children. It teaches kindness and encourages bystanders to be more alert and stop bullying when they see it.