Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Encouraging student pledges to prevent school bullying

Maurice Elias, director of the Social-Emotional Learning Lab at Rutgers University, in this blog post encourages teachers to consider their position on creating a pledge for students to sign to help prevent bullying in school. Elias suggests that a powerful and effective pledge created in part by, and for students, would affirm values that the students seek to uphold, and would be signed publicly by each student.

Here's her list:

#1. Have the creation of the pledge be a shared activity with students. Involve them in the idea and the wording. It’s fine to have several versions even in the same school to make them developmentally appropriate and meaningful.

#2. Make sure the pledge addresses HIB prevention and also affirms positive values that students pledge to uphold. This is what turns students from bystanders into upstanders. Values such as respect for all classmates, being responsible to self, others, and the environment, and acting with integrity all create antidotes to HIB. Be sure to discuss whatever positive values are affirmed and integrate them into class and school rules, academic subject work, school report cards, and conversations with parents.

#3. Every student should read aloud (individually or in small groups) the pledge in a public forum and sign their own individual copy, which they keep. Consider wallet-card versions of the pledge as well as how to share the pledge with parents and community groups.

#4. No less often than the end of each marking period, ask students to rate how they have been doing in terms of keeping to the pledge and generate ideas for what individuals, classes, and the school as a whole can do better.

#5. Ensure that the principles in the pledge are incorporated into disciplinary conversations, guidance sessions, special education IEP’s and processes, after-school, extracurricular and athletic and other programs and events, including bus behaviors and Internet behavior.

Do you have anything else to add in her list? Please visit her blog and leave her a comment.

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