Bullying in British schools

Bullying in British schools.What is bullying?

Bullying. You know it from films, news and radio. But maybe it is happening at your school, in your class and maybe to your friend or directly to you. What does the word bullying mean? Do you know what kind of behavior is normal and what is not acceptable? Bullying has following characteristics: it is an aggressive act, it is repeated. It can be physical, verbal or indirect- sending rude messages, being teased and calling names. The worst physical acts are for example: beating, breaking the nose, attack with a knife or a gun or pushing. A person who bullies is called “a bully” and the bullied person is “a victim”. New type of bullying is called online bullying, when rumors, lies and attacks are presented on the internet.

The situation in the UK
Bullying at secondary schools in the UK is worse than in other countries in Europe. 48% of pupils say it is a problem at their school. In Italy, it is 33% of pupils, in Belgium 21% and in Germany 33%. The reasons are language difficulties, skin color, race and religion. Migrants were made fun of in 50% of cases. 41% said the problem is the clothes pupils wear. Can you imagine somebody attacks you just because of the clothes you are wearing?! Typical victim of a bully is a girl or a boy who looks or acts differently than others. If a pupil is fat or too thin, he or she can easily become the target of bullies.    44% said it was their physical appearance. The research found out that Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims are bullied physically and verbally. The reason is their faith and religion.
How to deal with this problem?
The adults and specialists asked children what they think about this problem.  The pupils have some ideas how to help this situation. Some of them say more religious holidays should be in the school calendar, the others want to discuss differences in culture, skin color and race. Some answers were surprisingly good. The students said that the schools should help migrant children when starting a new school. The fact is that bullying should never be tolerated, no matter what is its motivation. Children must know what is right and what is wrong.

After reading activities:
What do YOU think about bullying? Discuss the following questions with a partner and then present your answers and ideas to the class.

  1. Is bullying a problem in Slovakia?
  2. Did you see bullying at your school or in your class?
  3. Would you tell a teacher or a parent that your friend is bullied?
  4. What would you do if you were bullied? Would you fight back or stay passive?
  5. What should be the punishment for bullying? Should children or parents be punished?
  6. Is paying a fine for bullying effective punishment?
  7. Should teachers be more active and have greater power to discipline bullies?
  8. Do you think there should be cameras in classrooms so that parents could monitor their children?
  9. There are more boys bullies than girls. Yes/ No   Why?
  10. Being bullied makes you stronger. Yes/ No   Why?

1. Bullying can be:
a. Verbal and physical
b. Active and passive
c. Right and wrong

2. How is a person who bullies called?
a. Victim
b. Bully
c. Witness

3. How many percent of UK secondary school pupils say that bullying is a problem at their school?
a. 38%
b. 48%
c. 58%

4. What are the main reasons for bullying in the UK?
a. Race, religion, clothes, physical appearance and skin color
b. Hairstyle, piercing and tattoo
c. Parents´ job

5. What groups of pupils were mostly bullied?
a. Australians, Germans and Italians
b. Jews, Muslims, Hindu and Christians
c. “A” students

Correct answers:
1. A
2. B
3. B
4. A
5. B                  

Francisco Mejia