Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Parents & Teachers Can Combat Bullying Together: Along with Academic Achievement, a Goal of the Educational Experience Is to Learn How to Have Successful Social Relationships Both Inside and outside of the Classroom That Continue through Adulthood

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Parents & Teachers Can Combat Bullying Together: Along with Academic Achievement, a Goal of the Educational Experience Is to Learn How to Have Successful Social Relationships Both Inside and outside of the Classroom That Continue through Adulthood

Article excerpt

However, physically seating a student into a classroom -mainstream or self-contained -does not automatically ensure social acceptance. Problems with learning and communication can cause a child with special needs to be misunderstood, left out, teased, and/or bullied, leading to behavioral meltdowns and depression.

Parents and teachers working together can promote friendship, values, and camaraderie among all students. The following suggestions for socialization promote positive emotions and self-concepts for all children and can be used with fellow students, friends, or family members.

FRIENDS 'TIL THE END

Developing strong social responsibility and friendships are some of the best ways for all children to build self-confidence along the journey of life. Being part of a tight-knit, respectful community leaves little room for negative behavior. The more time spent successfully learning from each other through teamwork, collaboration, and communication, the safer and happier everyone can feel.

TIPS FOR THE CLASSROOM

Decreasing Prejudice While Enforcing Equal Status

* Teachers can display a classroom "flower garden" where students each display their individuality by drawing a flower. On petals and leaves, children can tell about themselves, who they are, where they come from, and their unique interests.

Identifying Values and Fostering Positive Feelings

* After the instructor pulls a student's name from a hat, the other students write, "The thing I like most about you is your ...", chosen from a list of qualities like honesty, friendliness, helpfulness, etcetera. Their statements, along with examples, are reviewed by the teacher and then read aloud to the honored student. This fosters a sense of belonging. Proudly, the revered student can take these letters home in a class-decorated folder in order to help with anxiety, depression, bullying, and overall negativity.

* With the idea that positivity "sticks," students can write empowering remarks and compliments onto sticky notes to boost self-esteem. After teacher review, each note can be placed on the respective students' desks to remind them of this recognition and caring between one other.

* Given teacher guidance, students can create "Want Ads" for friends. Students can "advertise" that his or her desired friendship requires emotional traits such as "being accepted" and "having patience" and interests like "enjoying reading" or "playing baseball." The student placing the "ad" would describe his or her strengths and talents such as organization, trustworthiness, love of art, and so on.

Cooperative Learning and Cooperative Discipline

* Cooperation is based on relationships, social responsibility, pride, and a strong sense of belonging. Activities like tutoring, mentoring, group studying, board games, group projects, and plays are some examples of cooperative learning. Such activities require each student to depend on the help of one another to accomplish a common goal, so teamwork rather than competition is fostered. As students create more positive interactions between one another, they can learn to better appreciate each friend's similarities and differences.

* To benefit the entire class, students can work together to develop their own 'Classroom Code of Conduct' and partake in peer-to-peer conflict mediation with teacher guidance. This way, students experience a deeper sense of community, discipline, and social consciousness.

Fostering Team-Building and Connections

* A great way for students to connect with other students, both individually and as a whole class, is by creating a 'human web'. Standing in a circle, each student takes turns throwing a single ball of yarn to any classmate while giving him or her compliments (e.g., "You are a generous person because you like to share your pencils with me."), expressing gratitude (e. …

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