Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month? It’s a perfect time to focus on creating positive classroom culture. According to a 2011 NCES study, 28% of U.S. students reported having been bullied at school. We collaborated on a webinar with Facing History and Ourselves, for which we collected audio stories from public radio on Listenwise and teaching resources from Facing History focused on using storytelling to develop positive classroom culture.
The Listenwise collection includes a variety of stories to help you structure classroom conversations about bullying. Each audio story includes questions to guide discussion among students. Stories such as Psychology of a Bully, Portrait of a Bully, and Looking Back on Bullying can help to shed light on the experience of being a bully. These stories can help students understand why bullying happens, build empathy, and consider how to address underlying causes of bullying behavior. Stories such as A Positive Response to Bullying, Lunchtime Anti-Bullying App, and 13 Reasons Why Not can help to inform constructive responses to bullying. These stories highlight various approaches to addressing bullying in schools and feature students who have chosen to be upstanders and made inspiring contributions toward reducing the negative impact of bullying.
To help you create a comfortable space to talk about these Listenwise stories about bullying (or other sensitive topics) in your classroom, we recommend these Facing History resources, which offer useful guidance for establishing a safe classroom environment where students can tell their own stories:
- Creating a Reflective Classroom
- Safe and Engaging Schools
- Using StoryCorps’ “Listening is an Act of Love” as a Community Builder
- Fostering Civil Discourse: A Guide for Classroom Conversations
Here are some uplifting Facing History resources that showcase student upstanders:
You may also want to explore Facing History’s full collection of resources on Bullying & Ostracism.
Students have a unique power to prevent bullying. More than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied (Hawkins, Pepler, & Craig, 2001). This Listenwise blog post focuses on how proactively teaching kindness can help to build a positive, inclusive school climate and reduce bullying. Efforts to teach social and emotional skills such as empathy are increasing in many schools, aiming to address important aspects of learning that are strongly correlated with success.
How do you handle bullying in your classroom? Please comment and share reflections on using any of these resources or others you have found helpful in addressing bullying in your school.