Has someone let you down and made you feel humiliated in front of others? Is there someone who makes you feel like you have to win or pay to protect yourself from them?
Before starting this article, I want to share one incident with you all. This incident is from my school days. I use to keep quiet. Can you guess why? I was a wallflower because I used to stammer! My classmates made fun of me whenever I spoke. Even the teachers did not allow me to read because I stammered a lot. I think you must have understood what I am talking about?
Yes, the topic is: Bullying in School.
But wait a minute! Can’t bullying happen in college, in the workplace, and in adulthood? Yes, I think it can. I know it can.
Recently, a parent asked me, “Is it possible for a teacher to harass a student?” In essence, he was saying, “My son is being bullied by a teacher, but I don’t know what to do about it.” We have had a few negative experiences with teachers over the years and it definitely feels like bullying.
The behavior is very similar: one person tries to take power over another person in a negative, hurtful, or abusive way. So is it “bullying” for a teacher to treat a student this way?
Let’s talk about exactly what Bullying is:
The dictionary defines bullying as, “Someone who keeps doing or saying things to have power over another person.”
Let’s see the types of bullying that happens in school:
Verbal bullying includes name-calling, making fun of, cracking jokes at another person, etc.
Physical bullying includes pushing, shoving, pinching, hitting, etc.
Social bullying includes spreading rumors, excluding people from events, etc.
Cyberbullying includes disseminating private information through texts, emails, etc.
Sometimes we’re bullied by our own friends, and we don’t even realize it. You have a group of friends who are all mad at you for some reason, and they isolate you from your group. If they deliberately ignore you, you will see how they approach and do their best to show that they are ignoring you. A week later, you all become friends again and are mad at the next person.
Let’s come back to my life story of handling bullying. I had two options: either to give up and remain that shy, lonely, introverted person or to overcome the fear of bullying.
I chose the second option, and now I really feel delighted about choosing that step at that time. Although, I have been bullied for approximately 6-7 years.
Never resort to direct attack or bullying if someone intimidates you because that is what the person bullying wants. He wants you to act up and defend yourself, and if you do so, you are only going to suffer.
“Don’t bully a bully, because, in the end, you will become a bully yourself.”
Tell the bully to stop and walk away calmly
Believe it or not, it can be very effective. Practice what you have to say with a friend, an adult, or yourself in front of the mirror. Practice speaking firmly and directly with confidence in your voice. Tell others that you think you can earn respect, and encourage others to stand up for themself.
Talking to adults
We are often afraid to tell someone because we don’t want to appear weak or ashamed. Don’t keep it in your heart! Just share it with someone you trust very much like your parents, friends, cousins, etc.
It sounds intimidating at first, but adults can help you stop bullying and fix it. You are not guilty of anything; the person bullying you is. So don’t let your self-doubt and sense of guilt stop you from confiding in loved ones.
Understand that it’s not your fault
Nobody deserves to be bullied! Don’t blame yourself. Whatever happens in life, you are not to blame for being bullied. We live in a society in which we are confronted with stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. None of us are left from facing these social grievances. Bullies intimidate because they can. Make it so that they can’t
Whatever the situation is in life, always stand courageously. Face the fear. Be in control so the harasser doesn’t have it. If you are confident and behave you don’t care, no one will be able to bring you down with harsh words and actions. You are not alone; we’re all stuck in this together.
This is how I coped up with bullying. I believe that you and many others like you and me can too.
In a Nutshell
If another student is bullying your child, or if you see a teacher abusing power, report each incident to the school so that it can be recorded. Meet directly with the school administration. Also, interact with a positive attitude and make it clear that you want a positive outcome for your child. After all, all children deserve a safe environment where they will NOT be bullied or abused.
Bullying can be defined as “abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger or more powerful”. Bullying is a huge problem that can be based on children in school. And it can often lead them to shape their thoughts about the world and people around them. Often in a negative light, children who are bullied tend to view others with suspicion or even resentment moving forward. It is an issue that needs to be addressed even at the smallest of levels. Bullying usually takes place in schools but can also happen in adulthood in a workplace environment.
Why do people Bully
Bullying cannot be pinned down to a single factor or reason. There are several reasons that one becomes a bully or engages in bullying. Sometimes even the person who is responsible for bullying has also in life been bullied. Often frustration and anger can lead them to lash out or project their problems on others. This could be due to an issue they’re faced with at home or even in school. Bullying can also be the result of a poor upbringing where they haven’t been able to respect other’s feelings. Which can result in them growing up to become insensitive and often time numb to the plight of others.
The bully is often as vulnerable as his or her victim and probably needs just as much support and help.
Cyberbullying is the act of bullying someone through electronic means such as; phones, tablets, and computers usually the medium used is the internet. There have been several attempts by both Governmental & Non Governmental organizations to tackle this issue over the years. However, the measures taken often leave us wanting for more. And the problems are often addressed after the emotional damage has already been. These days, anyone can create fake accounts and use them to either; post lewd, indecent, or even downright abusive comments against either a specific individual, race, or even group of people. Several organizations aid in the redressal of such complaints or acts. Some even provide support in terms of therapy sessions to help the victim overcome any mental trauma.
Who are the victims of Bullying
As mentioned anyone can be a victim of bullying. However, children or adults who are seen as ‘different’ in some way or form are more likely to be bullied. This includes:
Being overweight or underweight.
Having different sexual preferences.
Being from a different race, gender, or religion.
Having a disability, either a physical or even a learning disability.
Being different in appearance.
Having an unusual name.
Effects of Bullying on the Victim
There can be several effects that a victim may face as a result of bullying. From physical health symptoms like tummy aches or even headaches as a result of stress. To even the deterioration of Mental Health. The lack of sleep or the onset of nightmares can also be attributed to bullying. Anxiety, depression, or even self-harming tendencies can be attributed to bullying. If not identified early on, these signs can have long-term consequences that can change the overall personality of the victim. Insecurity issues and even low self-esteem or confidence can kick in leading them to question themselves and their actions.
What to do if your child is being bullied
The first and foremost thing that can be done is to inform the relevant authority about the incident. In schools, this can often be the class representative, the class teacher. In some schools, there might even be a person appointed to address such issues in the school. It is mandatory by law that schools do not encourage or foster an atmosphere of bullying. Contrary to which strict legal action can be taken against both the culprit and the school in question. It is however advised to not address or attack the parents of the ‘bully’ directly. Any such confrontation could have a possible negative outcome. It is better to shine a light on the incident to the relevant authorities. To resolve the issue by involving both parties, and settle amicably.
In the event of Cyberbullying, people of any age should refrain from responding to any posts addressed to them. Any reply no matter how good an intention can consequently bolster the bully’s confidence. It might be playing right into the hands of the bully. Any posts or comments made should be recorded with evidence in the manner of screenshots or even photographs. It is also advised to report the said post to the social media site in question. Numbers, accounts, or even email addresses can be blocked to prevent any further harassment.
What can we do differently to eradicate bullying?
The foremost action we may take to prevent bullying is teaching our children to respect others and acknowledging their feelings. The simple act of kindness should be taught at a young age to ensure that children grow up; open to the idea that others that may appear or act differently from them are most importantly, just like them. Educating children on diversity and inclusivity can go a long way in allowing them to accept others. Children should also be taught to identify signs of bullying from an early age. It is only once we know to look for the signs do we know what is happening.
NEP 2020 is the foremost education policy and substitutes the thirty-four years old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986. The policy aims to convert India into a lively knowledge civilization. It aims to make school and college education for students more holistic, flexible, multi-disciplinary. The policy aims to make them appropriate to 21st-century requirements and to bring out the exclusive potentials of every student.
Prominent features of NEP:
Making sure Universal Access at All Levels of schooling from pre-primary school to Standard 12. NEP 2020 endeavors to attain a 100% Gross Enrollment Ratio in school education by 2030.
Early Childhood Care Education
NEP 2020 stresses on the early years to guarantee childhood care and education for every child (3-6 years) by 2025. The children in the ages of 3-5 will be provided with the recent scheme of anganwadis and pre-schools. Children (5-6 years) will have a flawless integrated schooling method.
New School Curriculum and academic structure
5+3+3+4 curriculum composition will replace the 10+2 composition of the school curriculum. This will be consequent to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 correspondingly. The new education system will have 12 years of education with three years of Anganwadis/Pre-School.
The new Indian education system of India will cover four stages:
Initial stage (in two parts, that is, 3 years of Anganwadis/pre-school + 2 years in primary school in Standards 1-2; both together covering ages 3-8)
Secondary Stage (Standards 9-12 in two phases; i.e., 9 and 10 in the first and 11 and 12 in the second, covering ages 14-18)
Students will have flexibility in the selection of subjects so they choose their paths according to their capacity and benefits. There will be no firm division between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams. The purpose is to give equivalent weight to each subject be it; science, social sciences, art, languages, sports, mathematics- in addition to occupational and intellectual streams in school.
The Curriculum Development Procedure
The curriculum development procedure in India is stuck between the two edges of centralization and decentralization. From time to time, the government prepares the NPE which comprises extensive course of action concerning education at various stages. These courses of action are further detailed in the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
Using as its base the NPEs of 1968 and 1986, two curriculum schemes have been initiated by NCERT.
(a) The Curriculum for the Ten-Year School – a framework (1975)
(b) The National Curriculum for Elementary and Secondary Education – a framework (1988).
The curriculum framework equipped at the central level offers a wide outline of the school curriculum; with common objectives, subjects-wise objectives, recommended method of studies; and strategies for the operation of the curriculum and the assessment of results. These comprehensive curricula, syllabi, and instructional resources are formed at the national level. The NCERT has also created the syllabi and instructional resources used in the schools run by central institutes.
Yet, the states judge whether to adopt or adapt the NCERT syllabi and instructional resources. Therefore, the NCERT curriculum structure is constantly a proposal rather than dictatorial. It is not enforceable by law in the states. Though, it is voluntarily accepted by the states since the NCERT’s reliability and the participatory improvement approach it pursues.
Curriculum Types in India
The three central types of curriculum in India are : –
The Activity Curriculum
1.The Activity Curriculum:
A good number of educationists have given priority to activity. Froebel, Montessori, Pestalozzi, Comenius, Rousseau claimed to introduce original and useful work as an essential element of the curriculum. In Activity Curriculum, the topic is interpreted in terms of activities, and the consequence of those activities. The child obtains information, ability, and mindsets through diverse activities.
2. Child-Centered Curriculum:
The current teaching-learning method intends at the overall improvement of the child-physical, rational, emotional, societal, spiritual, etc. It’s been giving pressure on the child or the learner as the hub of curricular and co-curricular activities. In a child-centered curriculum, the child inhabits a fundamental place. That is why, contemporary education is prevalently known as “Androcentric” or child-centered education, predominantly at the primary stage.
3. Core Curriculum:
Usually, the core curriculum comprises all necessary content areas in the school program. More lately, the word ‘core’ refers to kinds of courses such as; general education, united studies, common learning, social living, and integrated program. The core curriculum is based on the necessary learning in addition to a universal method of studies.
4 Subjects that should be a part of the curriculum
Education is far more than simply sitting in the classroom and learning a subject. Sadly, the core school curriculum pursued in schools consists of rote subjects. For instance, sciences, mathematics, languages, social sciences, and physical education. Meanwhile, we have been using less and less of what we have learned in school subjects. Moreover, we’ve discovered abilities essential to victory which isn’t taught in school. Here are 4 subjects which I think should be taught at school separately from the ordinary curriculum.
1. Financial Literacy
Math, the subject taught in school is not providing any real benefits. While you pay your taxes you will on no account require your geometry. You’ll certainly not apply algebra at your grocery store. Children brought up in a family that doesn’t manage cash wisely have a tough time in the world. Moreover, for those children who haven’t faced monetary liability, money management is a huge mystery of life.
2. Emergency Medical Training
Each school student should undertake compulsory first aid teaching for instance; CPR and automated defibrillator training at school to help avoid one of the foremost reasons for death- heart failure. There should be rules so that people act in response simultaneously with urgent situations. Some researchers also explain that teaching medical care at school as a subject could increase compassion.
3. Sustainable Living
Climate change is certainly an out-of-the-box subject and the genuine methodical debate and information often go unnoticed. A few organizations support better environmental education programs that educate students to make their preference of lifestyle be environmentally friendly. Climate education that comprises in-school programs in addition to conditions of educational resources helps battle scientific unawareness. Educators recommend climate change education as early as middle school.
4. Social skills
Nevertheless of the conviction, people are not born with ideal social skills, and they need to learn them. Kids with families and relatives have good etiquette earlier than most in their life. Kids, those who spend their time alone, do not have the kind of experience to improve their social skills. However, the most well-mannered child will have to experience certain difficult situations in life. A few classes of social skills specifically would actually help students glide through these obligatory situations.
We consider our time well used with the usual lessons, however, learning something new is in no way a loss. Incorporating social skills, managing money, first aid skills, and environmental concern can subsequently progress the quality of life and mind. We need to accordingly reassess what we educate and are learning in the classroom. In conclusion, we need to teach subjects that can improve students for life after school.
School is often the second home of a child. They deserve to feel safe, accepted and appreciated when they’re in school. All of these can be achieved if kids are taught kindness in school. After all, a human being becomes humane when he or she learns to be kind to others and themselves.
What it means to be kind as a kid
Childhood is a series of growth lessons and learning to be kind is one such milestone. It is assumed that children understand what being kind means, which is why it is shocking when we witness unkindness. This is why it is extremely important to define and discuss virtue with kids.
A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference
Eeyore (Winnie the Pooh)
So what is the definition of kindness?
According to the dictionary, kindness is:
A kind act
A tendency to be kind and forgiving
The quality of being warm-hearted and considerate and humane and sympathetic
In simple terms being kind is listening, feeling, and understanding others needs, and trying to help meet those needs.
Now that we have a basic idea of what it might mean to be kind as a kid, let’s talk about why it’s so important that teaching this virtue be a part of the school curriculum.
Why should children learn kindness in school
Both teachers and parents need to learn the importance of teaching the value of kindness to children. This cannot be done by mere classroom sessions, but with actions. Here’s why it is high time that kids be taught kindness in school.
Happy and Caring Children
Being kind evokes feelings of happiness in the giver and the receiver. When children learn that kindness makes one happy, they will surely explore acts of kindness. There are scientific proofs that the good feelings that we experience when being kind are produced by endorphins. These endorphins encourage more kind behavior, also known as altruism.
Bullying is an issue that has been growing continuously in the past few years. The rate of depression in kids is higher than ever. A major contribution to these alarming rates in adolescent bullying and violence. It is impractical to try to identify the cause and reason for bullying but we can alleviate it with small acts of kindness. When students are taught how to change their thoughts and actions by learning compassion and kindness in school, they’re rewarded with friendship.
A Sense of Perspective
It is rewarding to be kind. The rush of endorphins that we feel when we do a good deed creates a lasting sense of pride, well-being, and belonging. Every small act of kindness heightens a kid’s sense of well-being, self-worth, and optimism. Helping others provides them with a real sense of gratitude and acceptance for their own fortunes.
Altruistic actions significantly increase a person’s level of happiness and reduce stress levels. Several physical and mental health benefits can be achieved by being kind. When children are not exposed to undue stress, their health and mood improve, resulting in smarter and happier students.
Improved Classroom Environment
Kindness is a key ingredient that enhances positivity and self-worth. Children with a positive outlook have greater attention spans, more willingness to learn, and better creative thinking to improve results. Being kind increases popularity and a kid’s ability to form meaningful connections. Greater peer acceptance can be a strong driving force behind a happy child.
Now that we’ve discussed why it is important, let’s talk about some easy ways to teach students kindness in school.
Here are some easy steps to build Empathy and Kindness
Model Kindness: It is very hard to control a kid’s behavior, but we can find ways to demonstrate kindness. Kids are eager to copy their elders so it is easy for teachers and parents to show them subtle interactions.
Inspire Imagination: Thinking “what would that feel like?” is one of the most powerful habits we can instill in our children. It is easier to be compassionate when a kid has an active imagination. It is easier to empathize and step into someone else’s shoes with an active imagination. Pretend play is a great way for kids to reflect. Over time, this type of thinking becomes automatic, and so does a child’s response to it.
A Safe Place: Like everything else, kindness is not always easy. We should remind ourselves and our kids that kindness is hard sometimes. It is not always natural, which is why it’s incredibly important that kids have a safe space where they can share, accept, and learn. A safe space where they can be encouraged to take responsibility for whatever ways they might mess up since apologizing is a form of kindness.
Emphasis on Friendship: Kids learn more from each other than they do any other way. Friendship is the most basic form of kindness. It teaches patience, encouragement, respect, helping others, compassion, and celebration of differences.
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
With a Little Help from My Friends (The Beatles 1967)
A Chain of Kindness: Challenging the kids to spread kindness is a productive way of teaching. When one act of kindness is conducted between kids, the receiver passes on a new act of kindness to another kid. This way they can notice how it feels to be kind and how other people respond.
In the long run, kindness will benefit everyone in a million different ways. This makes it important for kindness to be taught from an early age. As the effects of pandemic starts to be felt more acutely, kindness and compassion have never been more important. Schools are the perfect place to breed more kindness not only as a means towards a more harmonious society but also as a means to helping everyone through these tumultuous times.
2021 came with great hopes. As a race, we were hoping for things to get better and life to achieve normalcy this year. However, with the second wave of the coronavirus gripping most parts of the country, COVID 19 is very much a reality. It is an understatement to say, the global pandemic affected the mental health of pretty much everyone. Among the group that dealt with most mental health issues is the student body.
Why do students struggle with mental health issues?
A November 2020 study conducted by Californian ed-tech company Chegg showed 56% of undergraduate students were struggling with mental well-being due to COVID 19. The survey included 21 countries, including Australia, India, and the US. In Australia, the US, and the UK, the stats reach 67%, 75%, and 70%, respectively.
These numbers bring up concerns regarding student health and well-being. However, the only way to find an effective solution is to find the reasons for this ever-growing problem among students. As per this Psychology Today article, mental health in students can be a problem due to reasons including
Lack of awareness, outlets for stress, and communication,
Coddling from family and teachers, and many more.
How learning about mental health can help
When it comes to dealing with mental health issues, simply developing emotional intelligence won’t do the job. Time plays an important role as well. This is why early intervention is critical to prevent the long-term and profound effects of mental health issues. Students, especially, need adequate awareness about mental health issues and how to cope with them. Given below are some ways how mental well-being lessons can help students.
1. Improved academics
One of the first positive effects of learning about mental well-being is improvement in academics. When the woes of the mind are being dealt with healthily, students can better focus on their studies and work towards a fruitful academic career. This will improve not only their grades but also their level of understanding of the concepts taught in school.
2. A happier human
This one’s fairly obvious. Depression and other mental health issues are often cobwebs in our minds that drastically affect our mood. When students take up mental well-being lessons in their schools and universities, they evolve and develop into happier human beings. Learning the necessary skills like emotional intelligence at the developmental stages can turn them into happy and healthy human beings.
3. Better interpersonal relationships
When you master emotional intelligence and well-being, you can treat and understand people better. Students who take up well-being courses can experience this improvement in their developmental stages, allowing them to have better interpersonal relationships.
4. Healthier boundaries
One of the biggest reasons adults find themselves unhappy with their life, work, or relationships is a lack of boundaries. Boundaries here refer to the ones between two people, work and life, and within oneself. When you know the right time to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to things, offers, and yourself, you lead a better life. This is a quality that every student needs to develop to avoid getting into messes they would rather avoid.
5. Enhanced stress management
Education boards across the world focus on academics a lot more than soft skills and life skills. Learning to manage stress and problems are treated as something intuitive that people learn with experience. However, the truth is, students, more than anyone else, need stress management courses that teach them techniques to clear their minds when facing problems.
6. Better communication
Communication is key to a healthy human being and relationships. A lack of open communication can result in people missing the signs of behavioral disorders in children and students. With mental well-being classes, students, as well as parents, can communicate better. Students, especially, can form open communication as they transition into adult life.
7. Increased productivity
Productivity is always an issue when your mind is not in the right space. Students struggling with mental health issues often find themselves unable to perform academically at their peak level due to a lack of motivation. Mental well-being courses can help students center themselves and regain their lost productivity and even increase it.
8. Change in mindset
How we view, life is dependant on how we feel within. On days you feel ill inside, the entire day seems bleak, even the positive parts. Similarly, on our happy days, everything seems extra bright. For students, mindset can be the difference between achieving academic and personal goals and losing hope. Well-being workshops, therefore, can help them view the world differently, affecting their lives positively.
9. Better professionals
Lastly, mental well-being lessons teach students to be better professionals when they enter adulthood. Being a professional requires one to have healthy boundaries, a matured outlook in life, patience with others and self, efficient stress management, and much more. These are skills and traits that well-being workshops can help inculcate in students.
Ways to promote sound mental health in students
We have now established how important a role mental health and mental well-being lessons play in a student’s life. It is time to see how educational institutions and service providers can promote mental health among students and teachers alike.
1. Conduct well-being workshops
One of the best ways to promote mental health among students is through workshops and sessions. Schools and universities can attempt at conducting these regularly to keep their students motivated in their academic and personal pursuits. Tutoring firms can also adopt this for their students and even the tutors. This helps both sides of the learning process remain efficient and productive.
At TutorHere, we give more importance to mental well-being and regularly conduct workshops on the same, covering topics like self-love. These sessions not only help the internal team remain motivated but also the learners learn to be healthier mentally.
2. Promote clubs
Being part of the community is key to finding inner happiness. Club activities help forge communities through fun sessions and bonding between the members. Therefore, more schools and universities should have and promote lunch clubs that help students take their minds off of academic and personal pressures.
Being a community of curious learners, TutorHere occasionally has fun sessions for the internal team and the learner community that allows them to just unwind after a tough week and catch up with peers.
3. Be approachable
Students are more likely to work towards dealing with their mental health issues when they have someone they can talk to. Not every child can communicate with his/her parents effectively. This is where the faculty of educational institutions play a key role by being a person they can come up to and talk about their problems.
Being an organization that consists of students of the average age of 23 years, TutorHere always has an open-door policy where the internal team and learners can reach out to anyone for any help.
4. Increase social interaction
As mentioned earlier, social interaction is necessary for sound mental health. Therefore, a great way to inculcate emotional intelligence is to allow more social time. Schedule specific time in a week where students get to interact with one another and not worry about studies. When they communicate and solve problems together, they form a healthy social life.
One thing that TutorHere is absolutely proud of is the Circlespace, a private social media network for learners and the internal team. The platform allows everyone to share their thoughts and have fruitful discussions with one another.
5. Relaxing lounges
Sometimes all one needs is some quiet time to centre themselves and relax. Give students this option by providing them with a place where they can relax and lounge. This allows them time and space to unwind, contributing towards improved student health and the development of emotional intelligence.
6. Offer outlets for stress
The Chegg study showed a whopping 81% of students finding an increase in their stress and anxiety levels during the COVID 19 period. However, even without a global pandemic straining our well-being, stress and anxiety have always been factors that affected student health greatly. Therefore, it is important to give different outlets for stress in students like music and dance therapy and art sessions.
At TutorHere, we regularly conduct art workshops to build the creative side of our internal team and to give them an outlet for artistic expression. This keeps them motivated and going on tough days.
7. Inculcate necessary skills
The best way a teacher or an educational institution can promote mental health among students is by teaching and providing them with the necessary skills and tools. Yes, it is possible to learn how to cope with stress and mental health problems through workshops, sessions, and one-on-one guidance. It is during such classes that students get the right tools they can use to lead a better life.
8. Promote physical wellness
Physical and mental health are closely related and mutually inclusive. Therefore, one of the best ways to promote mental health in schools is through physical wellness workshops. Activities like yoga and meditation, especially, help reduce stress levels in students, allowing them to have a better mind space.
At TutorHere, we conduct weekly yoga sessions for the team and learners associated with us. This not only has helped forge better relationships within our team but also with the learners.
9. Provide a healthy environment
Lastly, educational institutions need to offer students an environment conducive to attaining and maintaining sound mental health. This means focusing on policies on student well-being. Doing so will encourage students to be more compassionate and open to one another.
Summing it up
The world has been grappling with mental health crises since the pandemic hit us. Students were among the most affected during this period. Therefore, educational institutions, teachers, and parents must work towards increasing awareness about mental health and well-being. They must focus on inculcating emotional intelligence through activities that promote sound mental health in students.