Anti-Bullying Week - What can teachers do?
The 2nd week of November marks a special event in the school year - Anti-Bullying Week. This annual event aims to raise the level of awareness of bullying and highlight ways of preventing and responding to it. Bullying should never be seen as an unfortunate but unavoidable part of school life, it should be viewed as completely unacceptable and teachers, pupils and parents can all play a part in stopping it from happening.
The first Anti-Bullying Week took place in 2004 and since then the event has grown, is now an annual staple in the school calendar and has a different theme each year.
Giving this issue the prominence it deserves in schools is a key way for Primary and Secondary school teachers to support the drive to eradicate bullying in all its forms. There are many approaches and strategies that can be used to address this issue and we have listed some lesson ideas that we hope will help teachers plan classroom activities around this theme.
- Organise a whole school assembly where pupils are shown that school is about acceptance, making new friends by reaching out, and not about judging one another by outward appearance, speech, or economic status.
- In the classroom, ask the children to sit in a circle. Initiate a debate about bullying. Ask them what they think bullying is, where it might happen and what the result of bullying might be. What should they do if they see someone being bullied?
- Ask the pupils to write a classroom charter about bullying. By involving the children in this they are more likely to feel engaged and to follow the rules that are agreed upon. It also fosters empathy and consideration among the children. Next, hold a secret ballot about bullying. Give everyone a ballot paper that asks if they have ever been bullied. Collect in the papers and announce the results. Finally, keep the charter displayed on the classroom wall as a reminder.
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