From preschool through high school, bullying is a problem in every grade, but you have the power to help minimize its impact and stop it altogether. The ideas below have been tried and tested in the classroom by Really Good Teachers who saw a problem and stopped it. If you’re struggling with incorporating bullying awareness lessons in your classroom, try some of the ideas below.
Bullying Awareness and Prevention Lesson Ideas
12 Ways for Kids to Respond When Bullied
This idea comes from Mary Lou, a 2nd Grade Teacher, in Maple Valley, WA. Although she teaches younger students, her tips below are perfect for even those hard to talk with teenage students in high school:
Bullying hurts so it’s up to us to offer students ways to respond effectively to different types of negative bullying situations. Here’s a list of 12 suggestions you can copy and distribute to older students facing some of the more serious forms of bullying.
12 Ways for Kids to Respond When Bullied
- If possible, avoid known bullies.
- Stick with a buddy or a group whenever possible; bullies are less likely to bother someone who is with others. Pairing up with an older student can also help discourage bullies.
- If bullied, act brave, ignore negative comments, and walk away from the situation to prevent further trouble.
- When bullied, avoid anger and tears. Instead take a few deep breaths, count slowly, and move away from the bully.
- If it is not possible to make a quick getaway, speak in a loud, firm voice and tell the bully to “Stop” or tell the bully “No!”
- Do not harass the bully with verbal or physical assault. If a bully uses physical violence, try to run away and scream for help. Most bullying does not reach this point.
- Seek the help of an adult or another student until an adult can be found.
- Even if a bullying incident stops, make sure you report the bullying to an adult at school and/or to your parent. If you cannot talk about the problem, write a note and share the experience with an adult so you get help and the bully gets stopped. Students who are afraid to talk to an adult can tell a friend or sibling about the bullying, but ultimately an adult should know.
- Avoid bringing valuables to school that might tempt a bully.
- Walk with confidence, look happy, and hold your head high. Bullies are looking for students who appear lonely, sad, or somehow different from everyone else.
- Build your confidence through friendships in and outside of school. Join clubs, participate in sports, attend dances, etc. Again, confident, happy students are less likely to be bullied.
- Remember that reporting a bully is not tattling. Tattling is telling on someone purely for the sake of getting that person in trouble. Report a bully because bullying can hurt you and others.
- Last of all, remember that bullying is not your fault! The bully hurts others because of his or her own anger or sadness. Reporting a bully helps the bully to learn that bullying is not acceptable and that there are other appropriate behavior choices he or she can make. Silently send the bully peaceful and forgiving wishes so hopefully he or she can feel happier on the inside while behaving better on the outside.
Get Bullied Kids to Go Neutral
Meghan, a 2nd Grade Teacher, from Plymouth, MA teaches her students to go neutral when confronted by a bully. “I teach the students that when it comes to dealing with mean-spirited bully comments, it can be helpful to take a “neutral” stance in which they neither agree nor disagree with the comment at hand. For example, if one student says, “You’re ugly,” the student who is the target of the comment might respond by saying, “I guess that’s how you see it,” or “You think so?” In this way, the mean words lose power and the child being bullied feels better knowing how to diffuse the situation without becoming defensive or offensive. Tip: Try role-playing similar scenarios in class so that the next time they find themselves targets of a negative comment in the real world, students are prepared to “Go Neutral.”
Photo Opportunities and More Boost Self-Esteem
Getting students involved in catching the “good” is the basis of this idea by Lisa, a 1st Grade Teacher, in Virginia Beach, VA. “Students who bully others often benefit from seeing themselves in a new and positive light. To this end, I ask students in question to help assist me with a special project. In addition, I use my camera to “catch” each student exhibiting kind or supportive behaviors, and then post these photos around the room. In this way, each of my students—including those with social challenges—get to serve as role models for the others.”
What do you do to raise bullying awareness in your classroom? Share with us below!