Education Department releases anti-bullying tools for teachers

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The U.S. Department of Education has released a two-part training toolkit designed to reduce bullying and for use by classroom teachers.

The Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center developed the toolkit for the Education Department in collaboration with the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

The toolkit is designed to provide classroom teachers with the knowledge and skills to intervene in bullying behavior and to de-escalate threatening behaviors at school.

It includes two modules: “Understanding and Intervening in Bullying Behavior” and “Creating a Supportive Classroom Climate.”

“Teachers play a critical role in identifying, addressing, reporting and intervening in bullying behavior in their classrooms,” said David Esquith, director of the Education Department’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students. “These modules will certainly help those teachers who don’t know what to do when these situations arise, and will strengthen the skills of those who do.”

Module 1 consists of step-by-step instructions, including a preparation guide and trainer’s outline, for conducting workshops with teachers, educators and school personnel who work with students in a school environment. Materials for the workshop focus on:

• Understanding what bullying behavior is and is not.

• Understanding what bullying behavior may look like in the classroom.

• Exploring ideas for responding to bullying behavior.

• Becoming equipped with specific strategies for addressing and reporting bullying behavior.

Module 2 provides information on how to build a supportive classroom climate. Research shows that classrooms that have strong relationships and are respectful of diversity have less bullying. Participants in the module will:

• Consider what a supportive classroom climate looks like and how it can prevent bullying.

• Examine the role of teacher-to-student and student-to-student relationships in building a supportive classroom climate.

• Explore strategies for preventing bullying in the classroom, including establishing a culture of respect for differences among students.

• Consider how a web of positive support among students and other adults across the school community can help prevent bullying.

“Teachers often get frustrated because they truly do care about their students and want to help stop bullying in their classrooms, but they don’t know what to do,” said Deborah Temkin, the Education Department’s bullying prevention coordinator. “These modules are based on the best available research and practices to give teachers effective tools to not only respond to bullying, but also to stop it before it starts.”

More than 33 percent of students who are bullied report it happening in classrooms, according to research from the National Center for Education Statistics.

The NEA reports that only 55 percent of teachers have received training on bullying policies at their schools.

On the Web…

The toolkit can be found here.