Bullying Awareness - Social Emotional Learning
February 14 2012 by John Stewart, Headmaster
Bullying Awareness Week
With the return to school, we are focusing on our boys’ behaviour. In every school, there is a fundamental need to be explicit on manners and the social/emotional connectedness of peers. At Tudor we hold onto one clear expectation: you don’t have to be friends but you do have to be friendly.
Schools are collections of cultures and values – boys come from a wide variety of backgrounds but all combine in one community: Tudor House School. To this end, all enter our school with the understanding of our expectations such as taking responsibility for their thoughts, words and deeds, treating others with respect and working together to forge strong and positive relationships.
All schools need to work to lessen the negative impact of bullying. Bullying is a poor choice of behaviour that has destructive repercussions. It is not something that is character building and it is not something we should excuse. All our boys have the potential to be mean – and when repetitive and calculating is bullying. The age when bullying occurs predominantly is in Years 5 and 6.
Research highlights we need to give more automated response to be courteous and polite. Bullying is a learned behaviour – social learning at home is instrumental. To this end, all our boys have been instructed to let others know when they are feeling emotionally hurt or taunted. Our boys need to show with cues they are unhappy. We are instructing all our boys to state, “Stop, please, I don’t like that” and use their hand gesture. This seems quite a basic common sense thing – however, it is quite amazing to discover the number of boys who use poor strategies.
Many boys say they ‘ignore’ the behaviour and then go away to tell a teacher or parent. For the offending student, they may be unaware of the impact of their poor behaviour. Some boys when being teased or taunted actually laugh and so can promote the bullying. As research distinguishes, we need to get the bystanders engaged in promoting the correct social interactions, following the guidelines that promote positive relationships. To do this, there must be awareness that the behaviour is not appropriate and is causing a friend or peer distress.
The School does have a zero tolerance of bullying but in such complex situations we must ensure we investigate fully and rationally the background, and we must understand the variations dependent on the age of the students involved. We must use the opportunity to educate all the children in their social and emotional development.
The stats – Did you know?
• Between 1 in 5 and 1 in 7 students report being bullied once a week or more.
• Around 62% of students with Autism Spectrum disorder report being bullied once a week or more.
• Bullying most often occurs in the last years of primary and the first couple of years at secondary school.
• Males typically report being bullied more than females.
• Children with positive relationships with their parents are less likely to bully.
• Around 85% of bullying incidents happen within peer groups.
• Generally verbal bullying such as name-calling is the most common form of bullying.
• Physical bullying is the least common and declines with age.
• Students are more likely to experience bullying from individuals than groups.
• Bullying often occurs when there is little or no supervision around.
• Data from Kids Helpline shows that children 15-18 years old are more likely to experience continual harassment (13%) than younger children (7%).
• Bullying is the fourth most common reason young people seek help from children’s help services.
Taken from www.bullyingnoway.com.au/pdfs/facts-bullying-stats.pdf accessed 14 February 2012
Is bullying normative? Is it a rite of passage? It is not a good thing and it is not developmental. It is highly harmful. Research indicates it is a clear marker of further violent behaviour in later years.
For every child behaving badly they need to be with 6 children behaving well.
Social and Emotional Learning – five keys:
1. Self Awareness - identification and recognition of one's own emotions, recognition of strengths in self and others, sense of self-efficacy, and self-confidence.
2. Self Management - impulse control, stress management, persistence, goal setting, and motivation.
3. Social Awareness - Empathy, respect for others, and perspective taking.
4. Relationship Skills - cooperation, help seeking and providing, and communication.
5. Responsible Decision Making - evaluation and reflection, and personal and ethical responsibility.
These competencies are taught most effectively within caring, supportive, and well-managed learning environments.
Connectedness to parents and school is one of the most significant protective factors for children.
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- Why Learning should be Wonder-full!
- Why Worry?
- The Teenage Brain by Abby Baird
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About Mr John Stewart
For ten years, Mr Stewart taught in the United Kingdom at famous schools, such as Hill House International School in Knightsbridge, London; and St John's College School, Cambridge... Read more
Tudor House Old Boy
I wanted my time at Tudor House to go on forever. It was the kind of childhood I want my own sons to experience. We climbed trees, made forts, raced our billy carts. And somehow I learned enough to eventually become a partner in a Sydney law firm.
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