Stop the Bullying!
Learn more about Quit It!—a bully busting program in the early grades.
What do you do with reports of teasing and bullying in your classroom? How do you resolve the conflict presented to you by the bullied and the bully? Do you often find yourself in a bind, clueless, or confused?
The Educational Equity Center (EEC) at the Academy for Educational Development (AED) in the US has an answer to these questions and more. Quit It!, a program developed by the EEC to promote respect and civility among students in the early grades, provides teachers with strategies and guidelines on dealing with teasing and bullying in the classroom and in school. It is divided into three modules focusing on real life classroom situations namely, Creating Rules, Talking About Teasing and Bullying, and Exploring Courage. It comes with a teacher’s guide as well.
The program is anchored on the belief that teasing and bullying are social conflicts that occur as early as preschool to grade three. The teacher, next to the family, is the best person to modify behavior and instill values of respect and cooperation. Through Quit It!’s communicative techniques like reading and discussion, experience charts, creative writing, story time, art projects, role-playing, map making, and graphing, teachers can address teasing and bullying in a proactive and constructive manner. What’s special about this program is the involvement of the whole school community in addressing the issue on teasing and bullying in spite of its emphasis on the crucial role that teachers play as arbiter and models of fairness and justice.
For example, one module contains interactive stories that show boys and girls solving conflicts related to teasing and bullying. There are accompanying materials that assist school administrators in creating school policies that minimize aggression in the school community, assessment tools and professional development agenda for teachers, and family involvement workshops that cultivate friendship and foster a sense of community. Indeed, it takes a village to raise a child; thus, the program supplies principals and school administrators, teachers, parents, guardians, and caregivers with these enriching activities and proactive ideas.
What Research Shows
This comprehensive and collaborative approach of Quit It! to minimize, if not eliminate teasing and bullying in preschool and primary grades sprung from a research conducted by EEC at AED with the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women in New York and Massachusetts schools, and the Bank Street College of Education.
The research findings are as follows:
- Teachers and other adults did not intervene most of the time, and in many cases, they felt unprepared to say or do anything helpful.
- Teasing and bullying were pervasive in the early grades.
- Boys were the primary initiators of these behaviors, although both boys and girls were equal recipients.
- Gender plays a subtle but important role in teasing and bullying behavior.
- Staff recognized that adult mediation is an effective intervention strategy.
- Fewer staff saw teasing and bullying as a serious problem in their school.
- More staff perceived that students were aware of the issue and were equipped with effective strategies for dealing with it.
In addition to this, schools in New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts reported that cases of bullying decreased by 35% after implementing Quit It!.
Take it to your Classroom
From these research results and Quit It!, as an example of a bully-busting program, it is not far fetched for local teachers and school principals to adapt their own. School administrators can begin by looking at the profile and cases of bullying in their respective schools. Guidance counselors are key professionals in establishing data and information on this issue. In fact, they are the ideal professionals to network with teachers and parents for the planning and formulating of bully-busting programs. Furthermore, they are the conduits to articulate an anti-bullying program in the early grades and onwards between the teacher, the student, and the family.
Teachers, on the other hand, can start conflict resolution activities. Storytelling, creative writing, role-playing, and the like can contribute to a tolerant atmosphere in the classroom. Allow students to speak and express themselves in different ways, especially in the creative arts. Sing! Dance! Play! Paint! Draw! Stage a show! Assign a place in the classroom as time out space. Equip that corner with pillows, stuffed toys, balls, blocks, paper, pencils, clay, and crayons. Such things need not be new but clean and still useful. Always get both sides of the story—the bully and the bullied. Do away with bias. Record and document the bullying incidents. It may help both the bully and the bullied in counseling purposes in the future. Lastly, reach out to members of the community who can help you.
Teaching children is like raising them too. It is never done in isolation.
For more information, you can visit: http://www.comminit.com/en/node/301365/303