October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

Classroom Bullying Prevention Tactics

How to Use Classroom Meetings to Prevent Bullying

A classroom meeting is simply time set aside by the teacher for students to discuss classroom issues.

Classroom meetings can be used to discuss a variety of issues. Topics are usually phrased in the form of a question – e.g. “What should we do if students cheat on a test?” or “What should we do if we see a fellow student being bullied?” – and then students are given the opportunity to brainstorm solutions to the topic or challenge.

In two of the more prominent anti-bullying programs, the Olweus Bully Prevention Program and the Positive Behavioural Interventions and Supports Program, classroom meetings are used to discuss bullying behaviours with the goals of creating a safe classroom environment, reducing bullying and preventing future problems.

Is your school using Olweus? Click here to see how Olweus can work with BRIM.

Is your school using PBIS? Click here to see how PBIS can work with BRIM.

The Benefits of Classroom Meetings

  1. Improve student listening and speaking skills as well as foster social skills and reduce shyness
  2. Create and maintain an open, trusting atmosphere
  3. Classroom meetings give students an opportunity to connect and speak freely about issues affecting the classroom environment, goals for the class and more.
  4. Classroom meetings help students take responsibility for their action and following the rules by giving students an opportunity to take part in the development of those rules and the consequences for breaking them.
  5. Giving students an opportunity to contribute to class and giving them a voice in how it runs can help increase their motivation to perform well in class. (Students are more likely to buy into a solution they helped create.)

Classroom Meetings & Anonymous Bullying Reporting with BRIM

Teachers can take advantage of classroom meetings to both introduce students to online bullying reporting with BRIM and how it works, as well as remind students on an ongoing basis to report bullying (whether online via BRIM or in person) when they see it.

How Do Classroom Meetings Work?

  1. Allow 20 to 30 minutes for the meetings.
  2. Discuss with the class the point of each meeting and the ground rules.
  3. Record all ideas on paper so everyone can see them and they can be viewed later.
  4. Encourage students to voice their ideas. Stickers can be given to the students with the most suggestions or more creative suggestions
  5. Don’t allow students to pass judgement on or ridicule other students’ ideas – explicitly or through tone and body language.
  6. Keep discussion of recorded ideas to a minimum until after everyone’s voiced their ideas.
  7. It is recommended that you hold the meetings at a specific time each week (Flerx, et al., 2009)
  8. As teacher, your job is to foster discussion and participation from all students, lead the meeting, ensure the ground rules are followed and get the discussion back on track if things go off.
  9. At the end of the meeting, summarize the discussion, review the possible solutions discussed and decide how to proceed on the issue.

Example Classroom Meeting Topics for Bullying

Classroom meetings can be used to discuss any topic affecting the class. For bullying, here’s a few questions you may want to cover:

  1. Why is reporting bullying so important?
  2. What does a bullying incident look like?
  3. What should a student do when they see another student being picked on?
  4. Why are bullied students afraid to tell others?
  5. Why don’t bystanders report bullying more often? What keeps bystanders from reporting?

For item #3 above, if your school is using BRIM, be sure to review with students how they’d go about reporting an incident online with BRIM. For most schools using BRIM, this means going to the school’s website, clicking the ‘Report an Incident’ button and then completing the reporting form.

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