With the rise of social media in recent decades, educators have seen an increase in both cyberbullying and traditional bullying among school-aged youth. In recognition of this, many schools have made bullying awareness and prevention a priority. The first step in making a difference is education. Faculty, staff, parents, and students all need to be educated in identifying, responding to, and preventing bullying. This guide provides some suggestions for using storyboards to educate your school community about bullying.
Before addressing bullying with the full school community, educators must take two essential steps to prepare.
To establish a common understanding of bullying and appropriate intervention, schools should consider formal teacher training. Some schools may choose to hire a professional bullying prevention presenter. Very often, teachers may have an incomplete idea of the forms bullying takes. Less tech-savvy adults may be especially unfamiliar with the realities of cyberbullying. A trained presenter can update your faculty with the latest trends and technologies to be aware of. In addition, presenters generally break down bullying prevention into concrete, accessible steps.
If your school chooses not to hire a presenter, it is a good idea to select a representative from among the faculty and staff (such as a counselor or a qualified teacher) to present to the school. Storyboards can be helpful in presenting illustrative scenarios in these presentations. Faculty and staff can benefit from the step-by-step visuals the storyboards provide. Instructing teachers to simply “intervene” during a bullying incident, for example, may result in inconsistent responses. Your school may achieve a more uniform implementation if instruction is accompanied by a breakdown of appropriate actions as demonstrated in the storyboard below.
Storyboards can also be useful for breaking down school handbook policies to new hires or the staff as a whole. Consider reinforcing your procedure for handling a bullying incident with a step-by-step storyboard like the one featured below. Keep your audience engaged by using avatars to represent your own faculty and staff members!
Once faculty and staff are trained in your procedures for handling and discussing bullying, the next step is to raise awareness among students and parents. The more students understand the characteristics, causes, and consequences of bullying, the more likely they will be to identify bullying and take action. When students are comfortable discussing a topic, they are also more likely to approach others for help.
The internet offers many ways to teach students about bullying prevention. Your school may also find a presenter to address the students or a particular program to use in health class or general assemblies. It is important to choose an approach that works best for your student population.
Many schools rely on simple acronyms to teach important concepts in a memorable way. Consider using storyboards to present these acronyms. You can make your own example and print it out on a poster, or you can have students illustrate their own acronym storyboards to demonstrate their understanding of bullying prevention. The storyboards below provide just a few examples of acronyms used in some schools.
|Stand up to the bully. Use your words to tell him to STOP hurting you.|
|Take appropriate action to get away from the bully. Walk or run if need be, or get an adult.|
|Open up to a trusted adult in your life, like a parent, teacher, coach, or church leader.|
|Protect yourself from bullies by staying in groups or near teachers.|
|Stand tall and walk in a way that shows you are a person deserving respect. Your body language can help prevent you from being a target.|
|Tell an appropriate adult. Telling to prevent a dangerous situation is not tattling.|
|Avoid being in harm's way. Getting away from a dangerous situation is not being a coward. It's being smart.|
|Say NO to the bully's demands from the start. If you appease a bully about small things, he'll just demand more. |
(Exception: If you are in physical danger, you may need to go along until you can report it to the police. It's not worth being injured over lunch money.)
|Develop friendships - people who will stand up for each other - a caring community. Support others and ask for support. If someone is being bullied, speak up. If someone is excluded, include them in your play.|
Cited in Chicago Tribune
|Promise to stop what I'm doing|
|Reflect on what I am saying|
|Identify what others are feeling|
|Do my best to help those who are being bullied|
|Encourage my friends to speak out against bullying too|
Teachers may also consider addressing bullying through literature. A number of popular children’s and young adult books address the theme of bullying in meaningful contexts. The list below provides some suggestions for novels to use in your classroom.
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