Bullying describes the aggressive attitude of an individual to another perceived potentially weaker and unable to defend themselves. Primarily such behavior results in emotional distress and even physical harm on the affected student. Ideally, bullying often precipitates other adverse effects on the victims, such as depressive episodes, low self-esteem, and lack of interest in schooling. Teachers have a moral authority to prevent bullying episodes from happening and have measures to define what to do in instances where it occurs. Therefore, teachers need to employ proactive measures like implementing robust prevention programs and promoting social and emotional learning alongside reactive measures like providing victims counseling support.
First, proactive measures to bullying like developing robust prevention and sensitization programs as per school policies are usually effective in curbing such episodes. Such programs can prohibit extreme behaviors like aggression and categorically outline school management expectations regarding students’ behavior (Hall, 2017). Additionally, students require sensitization about patterns of violence they need to avoid, the importance of a safe learning environment, and empathy with victims of such violence. Essentially, implementing support programs that tune young minds to shun violence and encouraging helping others in distress effectively reduce the incidences of bullying.
Secondly, promoting social and emotional learning (SEL) imparts social skills that form a proactive approach to bullying prevention in schools. These approaches should be planned within the school curriculum and taught as coursework (Marsh, 2018). Teachers can train students on making the best decisions in different situations, interpersonal skills to relate with other students, problem-solving skills, and self-awareness. As such, the students become emotionally stable, build healthy relationships amongst themselves, and potentially reduce disruptive patterns. It is important to note that this is one of the most effective proactive prevention techniques for bullying. Teachers who also offer guidance and counseling can fit in the roles of guiding the students through social and emotional learning.
Lastly, the most effective reactive way teachers can handle victims of bullying is through counseling support to victims. Teachers need to understand the correlation between mental health counseling seeking behavior and bullying among students (Marsh, 2018). Undoubtedly, victims of bullying undergo immense emotional distress, mental turmoil, shame, and feeling worthless and usually seek mental health counselling. Hence, adequate counseling can help them cope with the adverse effects of the bullying episodes. The best counseling environments encourage communication and make the victim open up to share their difficulties, and the impact bullying has on them. Moreover, teachers specializing in counseling bullying victims can create student support groups that encourage other victims to share how they overcame their fears with new group members.
In conclusion, as rampant as it is in schools, bullying has numerous negative impacts on young students, potentially affecting their studies and social lives. However, teachers can apply proactive and reactive techniques to prevent bullying within the school environment. Consequently, implementing effective policies that prevent bullying and deal with bullies by education stakeholders in schools to protect students of all ages from this menace is necessary.
Hall, W. (2017). The effectiveness of policy interventions for school bullying: A systematic review. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 8(1), 45-69. https://doi.org/doi: 10.1086/690565
Marsh, V.L. (2018). Bullying in school: Prevalence, contributing factors, and interventions. The Center for Urban Education Success, 1-27. https://www.rochester.edu/warner/cues/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/bullying_FINAL.pdf
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