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What is bullying?

Bullying is no longer accepted as part of growing up. Professor Campbell explains why and teaches teachers how to identify bullying behaviour.
Bullying is actually a subset of aggression, but it does have three important pillars, or concepts that are associated with it. So the first one is an imbalance of power. A lot of people made up these things - well, it had to be older, or stronger, or there are a lot of them. But actually, when you have a fight, both people actually want to continue to win. But when one person doesn’t want to continue and the other person does, then that becomes bullying because the person can’t get it to stop. That’s the imbalance of power. It’s also usually repeated.
So often low level, like saying you’re a loser, but if it’s constantly said, then that can be a part of one of the reasons of bullying, and the third one is that there is always an intention to hurt, so that it can’t be accidental, it’s not a joke; one person wants actually to hurt the other.

FAQ: Isn’t bullying just kids being kids?

Bullying is not a normal part of growing up. It’s true bullying has always existed and has been accepted by society as normal childhood behaviour in the past. However, we now understand how harmful it is. It leads to children feeling lonely, anxious and unsafe. They may be often absent from school and can develop learning difficulties. Bullying can result in long-term emotional harm. Every child has the right to feel safe and be safe. As a teacher you have a duty of care to ensure their safety and to respond appropriately when bullying occurs. Being able to recognise bullying is the first skill you need if you are to do this effectively.

Types of bullying behaviour

Bullying can be physical, verbal or social. It takes place in person and online. Current campaigns aimed at raising awareness of cyberbullying might lead you to believe it is the most prevalent form of bullying children are exposed to. This isn’t so. Traditional or playground or face-to-face bullying is still more prevalent than cyberbullying. Almost all students who are cyberbullied are also bullied face-to-face. Teasing, spreading rumours and deliberately causing someone to feel left out are the most common among young people but the least recognised by adults.

Your definition of bullying

Sometimes the child who is being bullied may not recognise this is what’s happening. Write a definition of bullying you can use to explain to children to help them understand what bullying is. You might like to share your definition with everyone in the comments and invite feedback.
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Bullying in Schools: How Should Teachers Respond?

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