Tips for Effective Bullying Intervention

Curriculum Review, January 2006 | Go to article overview

Tips for Effective Bullying Intervention


Nip bullying in the bud with these strategies from the curriculum crafted for No Name Calling Week. And for more information about the event, which takes place from Jan. 23-27 this year, go to http://www.nonamecallingweek.org.

How to Intervene to Stop Bullying

As adults, we may feel uncertain about how to handle bullying when we see or hear it happening. Or we may respond in ways that don't make the best use of the opportunity to teach a young person the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. We could end Lip inadvertently promoting, rather than reducing bullying. Here are some tips to help respond more effectively on-the-spot and make the best use of the "teachable moment" with all students at school.

When You See or Hear Bullying Happen

* Immediately stop the bullying. Stand between the child(ren) who bullied and those who were bullied, preferably blocking eye contact between them. Don't send any students away, especially bystander(s). Don't ask about or discuss the reason for the bullying or try to sort out the facts now.

* Refer to the bullying behavior and to the relevant school rules against bullying.

Use a matter-of-fact tone of voice to state what behaviors you saw/heard. Let students know that bullying is unacceptable and against school rules (e.g., "Calling someone names is bullying and is against our school rules" or "That was bullying. I won't allow students to push or hurt each other that way.")

* Support the bullied child in a way that allows him/her to regain self-control, to "save face," and to feel supported and sale from retaliation. Make a point to see the child litter in private if she/he is upset, but don't ask what happened now. It can be very uncomfortable to be questioned in front of other students. Let his/her teacher(s) know what happened so they can provide additional support and protection. Increase supervision to assure the bullying is not repeated and does not escalate.

* Include the bystanders in the conversation and give them guidance about how they might appropriately intervene or get help next time. Don't put bystanders on the spot to explain publicly what they observed. Use a calm, matter-of-fact, supportive tone of voice to let them know that you noticed their inaction or that you are pleased with the way they tried to help, even if they weren't successful. If they did not act, or responded in aggressive ways, encourage them to take a more active or pro-social role next time (e.g., "Maybe you weren't sure what to do. Next time, please tell the person to stop or get an adult to help if you feel you can't work together to handle the situation.")

* If appropriate, impose immediate consequences for students who bully others. Do not require students to apologize or make amends during the heat-of-the-moment (everyone should have time to cool off). …

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