August 27, 2018
Help! There’s A Bully in My Class
Bullying Experts Offer Tips to Keep Your Classroom Safer
Now that school is starting again, teachers nationwide are getting to know their new students’ personalities. Some are shy, some are outgoing and some are… bullies.
It’s important for teachers to understand the four types of bullying – physical, verbal, cyber and social aggression – and how to recognize the signs that a child is a bully. Some identifiers that there’s a bully in a classroom include:
• Other students complain about a certain classmate.
• There are power dynamics and/or drama around a certain student.
• Other students avoid a certain classmate or overly ingratiate themselves to that child.
• Parents complain about a particular student.
Some identifiers that a child is a target of a bully include:
• Diminishing grades.
• Increased absenteeism (avoiding the bully).
• Few friends and social networks.
• Changes in attitude towards school, schoolmates and adults.
Although boys have the reputation of being more physical and girls more verbal, all children have the potential to bully physically, verbally, socially, and through the use of technology (cyber-bullying). Although bullying peaks between fifth grade and ninth grade, it is reported at all ages.
“Teachers need to understand the motivation behind bullying behaviors. Perhaps the student wants to be known as a leader, but doesn’t know how to get power except through bullying. Or the child wants to be known as funny, but only knows how to get laughs by being insulting,” said Steve Breakstone, co-founder of Balance Educational Services, LLC, and co-author of the book, How to Stop Bullying & Social Aggression: Elementary Grade Lessons and Activities That Teach Empathy, Friendship, and Respect.
“Once you understand what’s driving the behavior, you can teach these children pro-social behaviors, showing them how to be a leader, or how to be funny, in a more productive, less harmful way.”
“For instance, it’s important to make sure everyone – administrators, other staff members and parents – are all on the same page regarding bullying behaviors, and are working together to modify the behavior to be more pro-social,” Dreiblatt added.
Steve and Mike recommend that teachers implement the following action items when there’s a bully in their classroom:
• Increase overall supervision around the bully and victim in particular.
• Research and enforce the school’s policies regarding bullying and discipline.
• Talk to the school administrator about bullies and discuss ways they can support your efforts to reduce bullying behaviors.
• Make sure staff who work with your students– including administration – are on the same page regarding what constitutes bullying behavior and how it will be handled.
• Have specific discussions with your students about what constitutes bullying behavior, explain that it’s unacceptable and outline the consequences of bullying.
• Determine how fellow staff should react if there’s a bullying incident, ensuring consistency around discipline, documentation, etc.
• Engage parents and make sure they’re on the same page regarding bullying behaviors, modifications and consequences.
How to Stop Bullying & Social Aggression offers interactive activities, ideas for role-playing, suggestions to enhance lesson plans and sample scripts to start honest dialogues. The book targets elementary educators of all experience levels, and fulfills educational standards.
Most states are developing or updating bullying prevention laws, and incorporating training components for their educators. Research shows that schools with a unified violence prevention program cut their incidents of violence up to 70 percent and increased their academic standing. This book serves as a useful, timely resource to help identify and modify bullying behaviors and create more productive, peaceful, healthy environments.
Steve Breakstone and Michael Dreiblatt, co-founders of Balance Educational Services, LLC (www.BalanceEducationalServices.com
), specialize in student discipline, bullying and violence prevention, behavior management and effective communication styles. Mike’s sense of humor, combined with Steve’s theatrical experience, result in dynamic, interactive seminars and workshops that engage and empower attendees to replace bullying with more appropriate behavior. Using a tag-team approach, which includes role-playing and audience participation, Mike and Steve teach educators, parents and students how to recognize, prevent and stop bullying in their communities.
For more information about the authors, Balance Educational Services or How to Stop Bullying & Social Aggression: Elementary Grade Lessons and Activities That Teach Empathy, Friendship, and Respect, please visit www.BalanceEducationalServices.com or any major bookstore. To request an interview with the authors or a copy of the book for a review or a feature, please contact Steve Breakstone at Steve@BreakstoneBullyPrevention.com
or Mike Dreiblatt at Mike@StanduptoBullying.net