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Lessons from Jeremy Harmer XII – bullying

Many children are bullied (or bully) at school. It is something that happens. But it shouldn’t. It is harmful for both the bullied and the bully. Many children who bully have been bullied in their turn, and many children who are bullied – face to face or through cyber-bullying (using mobile phones or the Internet) – become extremely unhappy. Both their schoolwork and their development can suffer.

Teachers and schools need to have a clear policy on bullying so that children understand that is unacceptable, and why. They need to know that if they are being bullied, they should talk about it to someone.

Children who are being bullied need to know who they can talk to. They must be sure that they can say what is going on without suffering any consequences. If they cannot talk to an adult, they should tell their friends what is going on.

Teachers should talk to children to bully others and help them understand why it is wrong – this is always better than just punishment (which can seem like just another form of bullying).

Teachers should involve the whole class in discussions about why bullying is wrong and how to stop it.

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