Bringing National Bullying Prevention Month to your Classroom

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month, an important time for educators, students, and communities to come together to identify and prevent bullying in its many forms. Data shows that most students in the U.S. have experienced bullying in some shape or form.

  • 28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 have experienced bullying
  • Approximately 30% of young people admit to bullying others
  • 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools

Additionally, the Counseling Service concerning Cyber Bullying Statistics 2014 found 50% of young people have experienced some form of cyberbullying; among them, 20% experience cyberbullying regularly. Bullying impacts all students, teachers, and school communities across the country, and can be negatively impactful to not only the victims, but also bystanders.

So, What Constitutes Bullying?

There is often some confusion over the difference between a conflict between students and a bullying incident. A general conflict between students involves a disagreement or difference in opinion, whereas the Center for Disease Control defines bullying as “any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths, who are not siblings or current dating partners”. So what differentiates the two?

Bullying is identified by the following three criteria:

  1. the possible infliction of harm or distress in physical, psychological, social, or educational form
  2. an observed or perceived power imbalance
  3. repeated aggressive behavior or high likelihood to be repeated over time

When identifying a bullying incident, it is important to know that it happens regardless of age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status of the participants.

How to Prevent Bullying

As an educator, you are at the forefront of combating bullying in the classroom and community. Through these and many other best practices, you can stem the tide of bullying in all its forms:

  • Employ social-emotional learning and character education in the classroom
  • Host a National Bullying Prevention month series of events that highlight how to identify and stop bullying behavior
  • Foster open pathways of communication between students, their peers, and school faculty

For more information about how to prevent bullying in your school, check out our course Bullying and Beyond: Tools for Understanding and Engaging 21st Century Students as Dual Citizens.

 

Learning Styles: Not Just for Students

Blue Modern Studio Leaderboard (IAB)Kids drawing picturesWe often think of learning styles as a way to understand our students, but it’s also a great way to learn more about your approach to teaching. Do you walk around the classroom or stay in one place during direct instruction? Do you always include diagrams in your explanations? Do you focus on the small details or the big picture when reviewing content? Just as learning styles impact how our students engage with and acquire knowledge, they can also impact the way we teach.

The beginning of the school year is a great time to take stock of how your learning style impacts your teaching, so you can identify any hidden instructional biases you may be bringing to the classroom. We suggest starting by taking this quiz to identify what your learning style is. Next take some time to reflect on if you tend to teach in your own style. Finally, brainstorm ways you can start to infuse your practice with other strategies across your non-preferred learning style.

Below you will find a few examples of quick strategies for each learning style:
Visual (spatial): bring in videos, photos, diagrams into your instruction

Aural (auditory-musical): teach new concepts with mnemonics, songs, and poems

Verbal (linguistic): always keep written notes handy for any direct teaching

Physical (kinesthetic): ask students to act out key events (history/ELA) or concepts/formulas (STEM)

Logical (mathematical): break down complex concepts into clear steps or procedures

Social (interpersonal) and solitary (intrapersonal): mix-up learning time with individual, small, and large group activities

For more information about learning styles, check out our course Differentiating Instruction in Your Classroom.

Making the Most of the End of Summer

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As the summer holidays are coming to a close it’s time to start preparing for the upcoming school year. Whether it’s on the beach or at home, here are some simple strategies for preparing mentally, physically, and professionally for the new school year.

Be Reflective

Reflective practice has been shown to be one of the keys to successful teaching and professional growth. While it can be difficult during the school year to take a step back and analyze your practice, the summer is a great time to take stock of your teaching. We suggest starting a journal, setting up a coaching session with a trusted colleague, or free-writing about your experiences. Reflection is also about analysis, so we suggest connecting your reflections to goal setting for the upcoming new year.

Make Time for Yourself

Contrary to what many people think, a teacher’s job doesn’t end in the summer. Whether it’s writing curriculum, completing professional development, or teaching summer school, a teacher’s job is often year-round. But with the nicer weather and a lightened work-load, we suggest making time for your own wellness. Whether it is starting a mindfulness practice, joining a book club, or improving your physical fitness, making time for yourself now will help you balance the rigors of the new school year.

Build Your Practice

The internet is a wonderful resource, especially for teachers. Take some time this summer to bolster your practice by doing research on the latest trends in education, newest technologies, and research-based best practices. With great resources like Teaching Channel, Teachers Pay Teachers, and Pinterest (no kidding!), you can start to pull together a whole suite of new ideas and resources to help you go into the next school year energized and prepared.

Regardless of what you decide to do with your last weeks of summer, we hope it’s restful, you deserve it. And if you are already back to school, we wish you the best of luck for the new school year!

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