The power of classroom circles for fostering emotional intelligence, improving well-being and creating a culture of kindness is well documented. Circles are important tools for nurturing relationships and feelings of community and can be used in any classroom.
Schools with a focus on social and emotional learning (SEL) often use circles to help build a positive culture to reduce bullying. Circles work because they help all children to feel loved and encouraged while creating bonds between peers. They are especially important for nurturing feelings of belonging, acceptance and stability in troubled children.
Throughout my life, I have always been the one being bullied, only up until very recently.
The beginning of my story starts out in a cafe around where I live. I was with a couple of friends and the next thing I know they’re all giggling and whispering things under their breath and then looking around and almost cackling with laughter. I was eating a croissant, and when I’m eating barely anything distracts me. Until I realised just who they were making jokes about. It wasn’t playful, harmless joking either. It was loud enough so the person they were mocking could clearly hear. read more →
“To This Day” is a poem written by Shane Koyczan to highlight the lasting impact bullying can have. He says that schools and families are in desperate need of tools to help combat bullying and shares his message as a way of inspiring others to stand up and take action. Shane explains that the violence he experienced at school still echos but he found that facing the problem has helped him beyond measure.
Several talented contributors came together to support his efforts in raising awareness by helping create the video that went viral upon its release. It tells the stories of bullied children and explores the torment of people who feel different or alone. Shane encourages people to forget what is said and to take a good look at the beauty they see in the mirror. To believe in themselves and know that they are worthy and know that there is hope of a better tomorrow. read more →
A teacher in New York used the crumpled paper exercise to show her students the last impact that bullying can have. read more →
My message to kids who bully other kids is:
You know it’s wrong! What’s really going on? Try not to make somebody else’s life miserable because you are.
– Joe Nichols
Let me begin by saying that I detest the ‘Bully,’ label. Bully is a loaded word. It provokes an emotional reaction of some kind to any person that you mention it to. From outrage to fear, everyone has an opinion. Bully Vs Victim, simple right? I disagree.
For me, this is not simple. Varying levels of light and shade must be considered if we are going to be successful in helping to reduce incidents of nastiness in schools. For a child to carry the label of bully is akin to a prison sentence that will haunt them for his or her school career with little chance of parole. To have the bully label surgically thrust upon you implies that it is a fundamental part of the person that you are, it’s who people are therefore expecting you to be. What a burden for a child to carry. To say that a child is displaying bullying behaviour is so much more positive because behaviours can easily be changed and disposed of so it gives everyone involved hope for change.
I am one of these really irritating people who holds the belief that there is good in 99% of the population and often in places that we are not expecting. My mission in life has always been to try and identify with people and find common-ground. I love words and believe that good quality communication, partnered with love and an attempt at understanding, can help to ease any situation. As a parent to four beautiful babies, I have found this to be extremely challenging at times, as I will explain. read more →
“People bully to distract themselves from their own issues.”
When I was younger I was a little naive. I thought that once you get out of school, everyone suddenly grows up. I thought that everyone would learn how to put aside petty differences and just get along.
Wow, was I wrong! Nothing could be further from the truth. Getting older – that just happens, but growing up is a choice. And some people don’t actively make that choice.
After finishing school, I got my first full time job. Everything was going great. I had made some new friends and was enjoying my time. Then my co-workers found out that I was from the “wrong side” of town.
They started to leave me out of conversations and other things that they were doing. Soon my co-workers started to make unkind remarks and verbally attack me. At the time I would have preferred it if they just kept leaving me out.
I was only 18 so I wasn’t really sure about how to deal with it. I was also in shock that it was even happening. After all, bullying stopped when school finished, didn’t it? read more →
42% of kids report having been the victim of some form of cyberbullying reports Family Internet Safety Advocate, Sue Scheff. In the past decade, parents and educators have become increasingly aware of this staggering statistic, and bullying prevention programs have been written in response. But there’s a fault in these programs.
Saying STOP Is Difficult To Do
This is the crux of the problem. We tell our kids that being a bystander is just as bad as being the bully and that they should stand up to cyberbullying, but we don’t teach them how to do this. And the truth is that this is very, very hard to do—as an adult and as a kid.
My Own Brush With Cyberbullying
I’m a freelance writer so last year, after my twelfth wedding anniversary, I wrote a neat and tidy article, “12 Things Happily Married Women Know.” The comments that came in on it weren’t about marriage, they were about my weight and how fat I looked in my wedding dress. I was devastated. It took me months to move past this sadness and get to a place where I could call out my cyberbullies and stand up for myself. When I did, it was in a second article, “I Wrote An Article About Marriage And All Anyone Noticed Is That I’m Fat.” In it, I said two simple things: don’t talk about other people’s bodies and let’s be kinder to each other online. That article went viral and from it, I landed a book deal for a book on how to teach our kids to be kind online. Some days I call this “just desserts.” Other days I call it, “taking lemons and making lemonade.” read more →
Phrases like “random acts of kindness” and “pay it forward” have become popular terms in modern society. Perhaps this could be best explained by those who have identified a deficiency in their lives that can only be fulfilled by altruism.
It seems that we just can’t get enough of those addictive, feel-good emotions — and with good reason. Scientific studies prove that kindness has many physical, emotional, and mental health benefits. And children need a healthy dose of the warm-and-fuzzies to thrive as healthy, happy, well-rounded individuals.
Patty O’Grady, PhD, an expert in neuroscience, emotional learning, and positive psychology, specializes in education. She reports:
Kindness changes the brain by the experience of kindness. Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it. Kindness is best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it.
A great number of benefits have been reported to support teaching kindness in schools, best summed up by the following.
Happy, Caring Children
The good feelings that we experience when being kind are produced by endorphins. They activate areas of the brain that are associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust. These feelings of joyfulness are proven to be contagious and encourage more kind behavior (or altruism) by the giver and recipient.
Increased Peer Acceptance
Research on the subject has determined that kindness increases our ability to form meaningful connections with others. Kind, happy children enjoy greater peer acceptance because they are well liked. Better-than-average mental health is reported in classrooms that practice more inclusive behavior due to an even distribution of popularity. read more →
willUstand believes bystanders can make a difference and that when someone stands for another, they gift hope. Our mission is to spread this message of unity through music.
Stand the Anthem was inspired and is sung by Vermont thirteen-year-old, Charleigh Gere. After experiencing bullying in sixth grade, she and her family wanted to find a way to encourage youth to be the “one voice unafraid” to stand for others. The ideas for Stand were brought to life by her talented aunt, singer/songwriter Lahni Schultz of Bonita Springs, Florida. The song’s message to youth is simple… STAND because all people are worth standing for.
Charleigh wanted vicims to see lots of people taking a stand against bullying, not just one, so she invited the world to participate in her music video. She kicked off the project with a promotional video and then released a daily video clip throughout October (National Bullying Prevention Month) to inspire creativity and participation. Her older brother, Justin Gere, joins her in a duet rendition of Stand in the music video.