Bullying happens in almost all classes and in all schools. It affects the victim’s physical and emotional safety and hinders their ability to learn and focus in class. Although teachers and school administrators cannot totally eliminate bullying in school, they can find ways to promote strategies that can help reduce the occurrence of bullying in their classes.
Every child has the right to receive appropriate education. However, bullying hinders proper education on the part of the victim. The physical education environment is a place for a positive social interaction. However, it can also result in isolation for children who are victims of bullying. It is essential that educators ensure bullying prevention strategies in their classroom instructions to create a positive physical as well as social experience for their students.
Bullying can be in any form. It can be hitting, kicking, pushing a student or damaging his or her property. This type of bullying causes long term damage both physically and emotionally. Sometimes bullying can be verbal such as name calling, insults, intimidation or remarks. Verbal abuse may seem harmless but it can escalate and can cause much damage to the victim for a long time. People who lie and spread rumors about others, act contemptuously on the victim, or playing nasty jokes — they are bullying the victim socially. It is not easy to deal with people who damage one’s social reputation that cause others to deny acceptance of them. A recent form of bullying is done through the internet where digital technologies are being used to send abusive texts, posts or rumors.
Sean Healy of the University of Virginia shares the following strategies that teachers can do to prevent bullying in the physical education class:
Teachers have to know their students. Information is essential in planning and implementing classroom activities. A child who has always been a victim of bullying might feel more comfortable in a group who accepts and appreciates his or her as a person. When teachers know more of the type of students they have, they will find ways to make activities more enjoyable and suited to them.
There is a need to be proactive in preventing bullying. Peer support such as peer tutoring in different forms can be implemented. It is crucial that the students feel a supportive environment in groups that can help provide good opportunities for them. Teachers can plan ahead activities that promote social interaction that reduces victimization and social exclusion.
There is a need to be flexible with the physical education activities to suit the needs of the students. Differentiated instruction for individual activities can help achieve a common outcome. In group activities, competition can help promote cooperation.
The teacher can assign an assistant coach who can help her in the class. The assistant keeps an eye on the students who do good and those who misbehave. The rest of the class tries to behave with the hope that they become the next assistant coach.