With all eyes and ears on bullying and anti bullying initiatives, we are also facing the same challenges in keeping our ears to the ground so to speak. We cannot be in every place for every situation but yet we need to address them. What we need to understand is that every time someone is being bullied there is always someone else that is present. We do not want to imply that they are culpable, but when they just stand around and observe or watch, they help perpetuate the bullying behavior. One of our greatest assets in diminishing and preventing bullying is the help of other students. But, what I have found is that other students do not understand they have the power to be or to make that difference. They believe they cannot make a difference and sometimes do not possess the strategies necessary to make that difference. We have to help them identify these strategies and understand that the safety of others is of essence and they are responsible for their own and others well being. One key factor is having students understand the difference between telling and reporting.
Telling: When a student is telling a person of authority about an action or situation, in order to get the other student(s) in trouble when there is no safety concern for self or for others.
Reporting: When a student tells a person of authority about an action or situation in order to prevent the emotional and/or physical safety of others.
Students need practice through demonstrations to be able to understand the difference. They need to be able to identify situations and how to address them. That is, if they speak to a person of authority about that situation, would it be telling or reporting?
Below you will find a link to a presentation (5 slides) that can be used as a short handout, or worked through as a group. Don’t get fooled though, a lot of discussion will be generated!
To begin students will be able to identify who the trusted adults in their surroundings are and who will be able to help. The presentation stresses personal safety and the safety of others as paramount. After identifying the adults who could help, students will brainstorm the difference between telling and reporting. Lastly, 3 different scenarios are provided for group discussion. At the end of the presentation, it is time to proceed to different teaching strategies.
Some strategies to help students further understand that they cannot just stand by and watch unsafe situations happen are as follows:
1) Have students role – play different scenarios (student developed) as a great way to recognize their actions and how to act appropriately.
2) Another way is to build understanding through visuals. Students can create posters for a variety of audiences.
3) Get technology involved! Students can create digital presentations (Powerpoint or Prezi are fantastic tools)
4) Students can get even more creative by developing songs, videos, news/podcasts, or commercial.
We hope that starting off with small steps will begin to make a difference in your schools.