This month, our 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders reviewed the definition of bullying and learned five strategies that bystanders can use in a bullying situation. Since bullying occurs many times outside of the watchful eye of the teacher or other adults, students often are the only witnesses. Our own student survey taken earlier in the school year, revealed that some bullying is occuring on the bus, at recess, and at ASP. Students aren't likely to tell because they don't want to be seen as a "snitch" or they are afraid that they'll be disliked or picked on by the bully. We discussed 5 strategies that can be used by by-standers, discussed many examples and role-played these strategies in the 5th grade lessons. The five strategies are as follows:
1. Distract the bully or get their attention away from the target. A great way is to start a conversation with them or ask them a question. Most of the students agreed that this was an easy strategy that they could do.
2. Support the person being bullied privately. The bystander can give some encouragement or ask the target to sit with them at lunch or play with them at recess. Being included in a group is important in preventing bullying.
3. Refuse to join in the bullying. For a bystander, this means not to laugh or encourage the bully in any way. This sends the message that their peers disapprove.
4. Support the person being teased openly. This may involve saying a simple statement such as "stop it" or "that's not cool".
5. Report the bullying to an adult. Reporting is not tattling. When people are being hurt, emotionally or physically, an adult needs to be told.
Our students made great connections to the 7 Habits and shared that "be proactive" is one of the best habits that can deter bullying. When we are responsible, we step in and do the right thing when needed. They also shared that if everyone "thinks win-win" or "seeks first to uderstand, then to be understood", bullying will not happen.
The students also learned the meaning of the word, "assertive", and its importance in a by-stander situation. Parents can help their children lean to be assertive by helping them role- play non-threatening situations and practicing what to say. Also, discussing real situations and reviewing what could have been said is another way for children to gain confidence and have the opportunity to rehearse what to say. Encourage your child to stand up for themselves and others and to report bullying when they see it taking place. Children also need to have opportunities to problem solve and handle conflict so whenever possible, let them try to solve problems with friends on their own before stepping in.
This lesson covered the following Personal/Social Development standards and competencies:
Standard A: Students will acquire the knowledge, attitudes and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others.
PS:A2 Acquire Interpersonal Skills
PS:A2.6 Use effective communications skills
Standard B: Students will make decisions, set goals and take necessary action to achieve goals.
PS:B1 Self-knowledge Application
PS:B1.6 Know how to apply conflict resolution skills
Standard C: Students will understand safety and survival skills.
PS:C1 Acquire Personal Safety Skills
PS:C1.5 Differentiate between situations requiring peer support and situations requiring adult professional help