Have you ever heard someone say,
"Man, I hate that word, ‘Bully’. I have never really seen kids be bullies- kids are just being kids. That word is waaay too overused."
I also have a belief that it’s less about labeling and more about teaching our community that ANYONE can be a bully and engage in bully behaviors.
Last week, I conducted a little informal research and approached a few teachers and asked if they would like a poster and lesson plan I had created for kids about how to take action against bullying. Every single teacher said no thank you, they didn’t need it.
But that’s not what the statistics say.
Click on the images to enlarge.
Okay, okay, all those stats are all taken from fancy-shmancy, peer-reviewed research papers, and government websites- so what about my own personal learning network? I created a Facebook poll sent out to parents, teachers, and students and 93% of people answered yes to the very general question, Do you think bullying is an issue at your school? Admittedly my sampling error may be quite high and I am certainly not a statistician but 93%, anyway you play it, is high.
Despite all the stats, I return to my main point, it's really not about labeling bullies, or even bullying at all. It's about citizenship, social responsibility and building the attitudes found within character education. Sure the name bully exists, but a bully by any other name still stinks... right?
Teachers and parents need to view themselves as activators. We need to model the behaviors of social responsibility, explicitly teach the skills needed to negotiate relationships, provide a toolbox of strategies when those relationships break down and enable learners to develop a growth mindset. Jeff and I both endorse and teach through the philosophy of character education, and believe in the ‘Science of Character’, acknowledging that “character strengths can be learned, practiced and cultivated”.
We reflected on our own practice and realized we needed some resources to help us unpack these big ideas for kids. So we created them and then we had the bright idea, hey, we should share this with the world!
Here are some in-kind (free) resources that can be built into your everyday teaching life, your breakfast routine, or while reading that bedtime story to your kids. They can help create the kind of global citizens we want to see our children and students become.