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Why is Anti Bullying Week so important this year?

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This week’s post was written by Ollie, a sixth former from North London. He thought about the importance of raising awareness during anti-bullying week and shared some of his own perspectives and experiences. This year, anti-bullying week takes place between 15th – 19th November. Free classroom resources for teachers are included in the post below.

anti bullying week

 

“As a student, I feel inclined to share my view on how bullying takes place in schools at the moment. The culture of bullying in Secondary schools could be for a range of reasons, but I think a lack of maturity and understanding is central to why teasing takes place, as they may not have experienced what it feels like to be an outsider.” – Ollie, aged 16

 

What is anti-bullying week?

Anti-bullying Week is a time where we can acknowledge the growing number of children and teenagers that dread going to school. As a community, we must eliminate this hostility in a place designed to develop children. Recent statistics show the extent of the challenges bullying presents:

  • 1 out of 5 students say that they have been bullied in school
  • 70% of LGBTQ students were verbally bullied
  • More than 1 third of students reported experiencing bias-based bullying

During covid, the importance of us staying connected online has been clear and has aided us through this poignant time. Although, as we’ve spent more time glued to our screens, toxic behaviour has been infectious through cyber-bullying. Together we can spread awareness of how social media can spread hate and damage our mental health.

 

Why is anti-bullying week important?

Anti-bullying week gives us a chance to encourage young people to express themselves, even if they feel discouraged by the judgement of their peers. Anti-Bullying week also reminds victims of bullying that they are not alone, as everyone has their struggles in an overwhelming school setting. We should not live in a world where being ‘different’ is a drawback, our strangeness in what makes us human; it needs to be cherished.

More specifically, the issue of cyberbullying needs to be highlighted during anti bullying week. Online abuse is an expanding crisis, although we can combat this more easily than is recognized – by reporting abuse we can take steps towards getting rid of cyberbullying. No hate is acceptable online. So, no hate should be tolerated.

As a student, I feel inclined to share my view on how bullying takes place in schools at the moment. The culture of bullying in Secondary schools could be for a range of reasons, but I think a lack of maturity and understanding is central to why teasing takes place, as they may not have experienced what it feels like to be an outsider. Additionally, the argument of being a ‘bystander’ and contributing to the problem holds true, it is convenient not to feel responsible if you’re not the sole perpetrator, but merely sniggering or isolating a student makes you part of the problem.

 

Anti-bullying free classroom activities

One movement that encourages young people to express themselves is #OddSockDay, where the kids wear odd socks to celebrate individuality. You can inspire your students to be kind, as a compliment goes a long way. The #OneKindWord movement can get students involved by encouraging politeness. These movements can bring children together, and make sure no one gets isolated. 

 

In-class activities:

Split the class into groups. Give each group a set of cut-outs with different bullying behaviours on (e.g., insults, leaving someone out, and being pressured into something you don’t want to do). Ask the class to order the cut-outs in most serious to least serious, and follow it with a class discussion. 

Foster a discussion that makes students examine their own online behaviours and understand the consequences of some of their actions online. It allows the room to explore the subject of cyberbullying behaviour and reinforces their responsibilities regarding how they act towards others online.

Provide different situations for the class to think about, and ask how they can spread kindness and stop bullying. E.g., Sarah is experiencing hate on her TikTok videos from your friends, she is not in your friendship group, but you know she is sad about it. What could you do?

A student’s perspective on life in schools during and after the pandemic

During the pandemic, schools had to function in a rather confined way, with different year groups fixed to different bubbles. This left school life feeling somewhat repetitive and monotonous – similarly to lockdown, this was definitely a challenge for many students’ mental health. With the spontaneous nature of lockdowns during coronavirus, students were unable to get into the flow of school. The theme of stopping and starting was fundamental to the frustration of students.

On the bright side, schools are presented with an opportunity here to excel as institutions. I believe there is a current optimism towards the school that is very rare. The youth have gained a perspective on the importance of school and staying productive. We can use the struggles of the pandemic to make sure that more kids are enjoying school life. 

Let’s raise awareness on the need for positive relationships during anti-bullying week and beyond!

What are the go-to anti-bullying resources/websites for teachers?

#One Kind WordThe idea behind this is that sometimes, in a world that can seem to be filled with negativity, one kind word can make a difference.

#Odd Socks DayOdd Socks Day kicks of Anti-Bullying Week and is a time to celebrate the fact that each and every one of us is unique and different. Be kind and celebrate our differences with these fun classroom resources.

The Anti Bullying Alliance – video, resources, lesson and assembly PowerPoints

Kidscape host excellent online bullying awareness and cyber safety training for parents and staff.

Thinkuknow provide a wide range of information and support for children, parents and carers on internet safety.

The Anti Bullying Alliance – video, resources, lesson and assembly PowerPoints

Our free online teacher course on positive classroom management will give you an overview of great strategies for maintaining a calm and positive atmosphere during lessons.

 

We hope you’ve found this post on anti-bullying week informative.

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