Dos and Don’ts of managing bullying in schools

This week is anti-bullying week, so we have listed some tips for our supply teachers and support staff to be aware when managing bullying behaviour.

The experience of being bullied is not just something that children go through; it can cause long-term damage for the victim as well as the bully. In an addition to our dos and don’ts list set out below, we look at how fostering kindness can help shape better behaviour in the classroom.

Don’ts

As a supply teacher don’t forget to read your school’s anti-bullying policy
Don’t deny bullying is an issue
Don’t make them feel like it is their fault
Don’t be dismissive
Don’t disbelieve them
Don’t ever tell children to just ignore it
Don’t forget to do what you said you would do about it
Don’t make an unrealistic promise
Don’t tell them they need to change who they are
Don’t use or refer to stereotypes when it comes to tackling bullying

Dos

Do develop a talking culture in your school about bullying
Do ask if there is anything you could do differently to stop bullying
Do support children to speak out if they or someone they know is being bullied
Do make it clear how pupils can report bullying
Do take what they say seriously and ask them what they want to happen
Do take time to find out who else is involved as usually its more than one individual
Do reassure them that you can make it stop
Do make it routine practice for children to have telephone numbers of helplines like Childline
Do record all your actions
Do make sure your Anti-Bullying Policy is up to date
Do challenge all forms of offensive or discriminatory language in your school

Fostering kindness alongside addressing negative behaviour encourages natural socially appropriate behaviour that will be a foundation for development into adulthood.

The act of kindness helps us experience positive mental changes as well as physical ones by reducing our stress levels and increasing the body’s production of feel-good hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. It’s important when looking at anti-bullying management, to not only address negative behaviour but to teach positive behaviour in particular compassion and kindness. Learning about acts of kindness and compassion, can impact children’s values which will motivate positive behaviour as they feel naturally rewarded through their own feel-good hormones, from teachers, and within their friendship group.