Children who have special education needs are more likely to be suffering from bullying when compared to other young individuals. This was stated by a research conducted by the Institute of Education. The Anti Bullying Alliance is an organization which coordinates the national Anti-Bullying Week lasting up until November 21st. its focus is to stop all kinds of bullying including the kind which is conducted against children with special needs.
The Anti Bullying Alliance has come up with some material to help teachers combat bullying. For key stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, activities consist of exploring the concept of bullying, including those who are different and accepting that they are different. Students get to work in groups and are asked to write definitions of what they believe bullying is, where it may occur and what the consequences of such actions may be. According to research conducted by the same organization, 18-26% of young individuals have undergone some kind of bullying in the previous term. Students can be made to compare this figure with the amount of bullying which occurs in their classes or in their own year by conducting surveys.
Other statistics by the organization suggest that 25% of children worry about bullying while 44% have actually witnessed their peers being bullied in the past year and 8 out of 10 people who have learning disabilities have actually experienced bullying. Students can be made to explore this matter too by examining to what extent the problem exists in their own school or if there is evidence of one group being bullied more than others.
Pupils can be made to explore their attitude towards bullying as well. Photographs can be used as stimuli and pupils can discuss what they believe is happening in the picture, how they think the people in the picture may be feeling and what could be done or said to help. Bullying can also be made to be described in their own words.
Teachers can talk about and examine the various types of bullying with their students and to ask them how they may feel with regard to it. With the whole class, discussions should take place on what should be done if a student experiences bullying or is witness to it taking place. Once such discussions and ideas come up, anti-bullying posters can also be created. Teachers can also point out to children that bullying often occurs in groups.
For the Anti Bullying Week, an assembly script was also created which makes use of short films to examine the concept of bullying and what younger people can do regarding it. Teachers can share with their students the anti-bullying policy in place by the school and ask the opinions and views of the students, whether or not they feel it be an effective policy or if they would add or change something. Students could also be made to derive slogans which could further promote the anti-bullying policy of their school.
Anti-bullying on film is a resource which is meant for primary aged students and is designed to get students to talk about bullying and themes associated with the concept. Groups of students can be made and each can be assigned different types of bullying including cyberbullying, faith-based bullying or homophobic bullying after which research can be conducted on it.
Bullying is a very sensitive topic and we must all acknowledge that it does take place and a number of students are at risk to it. It is something which occurs during the various stages of an individual’s school life and while some may be exempt from it, others are not. Teachers can make use of their classrooms to talk about the topic and to engage students in activities which allow them to talk about the issue and to get their feedback and response on. Allowing students to speak up and share their opinions is going to help them understand that the issue is one which occurs with everyone and that if they work together, bullying can actually be eliminated and so can the consequences associated with it. The classroom should be a teaching zone where children should feel comfortable talking about the issue.