5 top tips to prevent bullying in your classroom


Every teacher strives to create a classroom environment in which all pupils feel comfortable and safe, but unfortunately it isn’t always possible. Bullying often goes unseen by many and can be a tough thing to spot for teachers, which is partly why the theme of Anti-Bullying Week – taking place from 14-18 November in 2022 – focuses on reaching out.

The initiative across England and Wales from the Anti-Bullying Alliance was marked in four out of every five schools last year. It provides an opportunity for teachers and pupils alike to speak out and support each other when it comes to tackling bullying in and out of the classroom. The week also provides teachers with an opportunity for reflection, as they can ensure they are setting a good example to their pupils.

Here we delve into ways that teaching staff can foster a positive classroom environment that is built on respect, and where youngsters feel empowered to act when they are impacted by bullying.

Set your stall out early

In order to create a respectful environment in which all pupils can thrive, it’s important to have a clear set of rules from the outset. Discuss your expectations with any new class and make sure they are clearly communicated on posters around the room. Look to use informative, positive language and make sure that all pupils recognise the need to respect each other.

Make sure to enforce the rules

Pupils must know that a teacher is prepared to enforce the rules, and that means acting whenever someone raises a concern. Look to address pupils individually when they have done wrong too – this removes them from the limelight and limits the attention they may crave as a result of their actions. All youngsters need to know that they will be dealt with accordingly if they misbehave.

Encourage positive actions and kindness

Teachers can have a positive impact by recognising positive behaviour too, both in and out of the classroom. Take time to talk about good deeds and actions which have helped others, as it can help to create an environment where pupils will look out for each other. Encourage random actions of kindness and you may even want to generate some healthy competition by splitting the class into teams and recording their acts on a wallchart, with the winners getting some sort of reward.

Talk about bullying regularly

By talking about bullying and its impacts, teachers can help youngsters to develop empathy and understanding. Use your school guidelines as a starting point for the conversation, and then look to build on it with other rules as necessary. Teachers can also use Anti-Bullying Week as an opportunity to start discussions. More information on the theme for this year’s anti-bullying week can be found on the ABA website, while there are also a range of school resources for teachers to download.

Make sure pupils know your door is always open

Pupils should always feel that they can approach a teacher if they are being bullied or are having a tough time, so it’s important to remind them that you are there to listen to any concerns. Encourage your class to speak to you before or after school, or during lunch – make it clear that major issues can be dealt with at any time of day.

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