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Know how to respond to a student

Professor Campbell explains five steps to follow when a child tells you they are being bullied.

FAQ: What’s the best thing to do when a child tells me they’ve been bullied?

You need to be prepared when a student comes to you so you can give them your attention and focus on what they are telling you. Don’t start by asking lots of questions or telling the student what to do. Take your time and follow these five steps. Each step is important.

  1. Listen
  2. Reflect
  3. Empathise
  4. Never interrogate
  5. Ask ‘how would you like me to help?’

This process encourages the student to explain their story. Make sure you listen respectfully and reflect their feelings. Reassure the student and never cast doubt on what they are telling you or blame them. Be discreet. Always remember, the student is embarrassed and doesn’t really want to talk to you about their experience. Most importantly ask the student what they want you to do and follow-up to check they are okay. Accept that they may not want you to do anything. Responding in this way will take practice because it is not the usual way we speak with students.

What could you say?

Jinhai is ten years old. He tells you Vijay is beating him up on his way home from school. What might you say to Jinhai?
  1. Prepare four sentences you could use in your conversation with him.
  2. Share one of your sentences with us in the comments.
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Bullying in Schools: How Should Teachers Respond?

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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