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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Department of Ed provides guidance to teachers to combat bullying
From a news release
2012-09-28

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The U.S. Department of Education has released a free, two-part training toolkit designed to reduce incidents of bullying, for use by classroom teachers and educators. The toolkit was developed by the Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center, supported by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students, in collaboration with the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers.

Teachers care about bullying in the classroom, but many don't know how to effectively intervene and prevent it, according to data collected by the National Education Association (NEA). The toolkit is designed to provide classroom teachers with the knowledge and skills to intervene in bullying behavior and to de-escalate threatening behaviors at school. It includes two modules: "Understanding and Intervening in Bullying Behavior" and "Creating a Supportive Classroom Climate."

"Teachers play a critical role in identifying, addressing, reporting and intervening in bullying behavior in their classrooms," David Esquith, director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students, said. "These modules will certainly help those teachers who don't know what to do when these situations arise, and will strengthen the skills of those who do."

Module 1 consists of step-by-step instructions, including a preparation guide and trainer's outline, for conducting workshops with teachers, educators and school personnel who work with students in a school environment. Materials for the workshop focus on:

Understanding what bullying behavior is and is not

Understanding what bullying behavior may look like in the classroom

Exploring ideas for responding to bullying behavior and

Becoming equipped with specific strategies for addressing and reporting bullying behavior.

Module 2 provides state-of-the-art information on how to build a supportive classroom climate. Research shows that classrooms that have strong relationships and are respectful of diversity have less bullying. Participants in the module will:

Consider what a supportive classroom climate looks like and how it can prevent bullying

Examine the role of teacher-to-student and student-to-student relationships in building a supportive classroom climate

Explore strategies for preventing bullying in the classroom, including establishing a culture of respect for differences among students

Consider how a web of positive support among students and other adults across the school community can help prevent bullying.

"Teachers often get frustrated because they truly do care about their students and want to help stop bullying in their classrooms, but they don't know what to do," Deborah Temkin, the Department's bullying prevention coordinator, said. "These modules are based on the best available research and practices to give teachers effective tools to not only respond to bullying, but also to stop it before it starts."

The training modules build upon the success of training materials previously released for school bus drivers in June 2011. Since that time, the school bus training materials have been used to train more than 100,000 of the nation's bus drivers. The classroom teacher modules were developed as a result of feedback from attendees at annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention summits the last three years. The summits were hosted by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students in conjunction with the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Defense, Agriculture, the Interior, the Federal Trade Commission, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the National Council on Disability. Teachers, educators and others from around the country attended the summits that focused on stopping bullying in schools and communities.

More than 33 percent of students who are bullied report it happening in classrooms, according to research from the National Center for Education Statistics. And the NEA reports that only 55 percent of teachers have received training on bullying policies at their schools. The training toolkit will help enhance teachers' existing skills in building supportive classroom climates while sharpening the skills of others who work with students in school settings.

To access the free materials, click www.safesupportiveschools.ed.gov/index.php .


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