12 tips for teachers to help young minds overcome trauma, post-bullying experiences

5 min read

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi

Bullying may refer to any action done to someone which might arouse in them fear, agony, anguish and anxiety where the fear of this untoward action takes hold of one’s mind so firmly that a child may even refrain from disclosing it completely. In a classroom, a teacher happens to be the nearest individual to the children and it is they who can help the growing minds overcome the post-bullying trauma through simplest ways.

12 tips for teachers to help young minds overcome trauma, post-bullying experiences (Image by gpointstudio on Freepik)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Vijay Kumar Agarwal, Founder and CEO at Makoons Play School, shared the drill for helping children overcome post-bullying trauma –

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  1. Becoming Their Counsellor: A teacher is also their student’s counsellor. If a child comes up to them telling about their experiences of having been bullied by someone, they must pay attention to it, and also guide them with the right suggestions using which they might cope from the trauma.
  2. Promoting Cooperative Support: Teachers and parents must always reassure relentless support to kids, especially in terms of bullying. This allows the kids to remain confident of the fact that they have a dual supportive system behind them which would not allow the post-bullying trauma to persist for long.
  3. Taking The Kids For Adventure/Outing: A change of environment convincingly facilitates the restoration of mental well being. Institutions must take their kids, especially those dealing with post-bullying trauma, for an adventure trip as this would cause them to explore newer things, and forget the bad old memories.
  4. Maintaining Discipline In The School: This might not directly help in coping from post-bullying trauma, but it can certainly avoid the future occurrence of such incidents. This would help other kids in not having to have the experience of being bullied by someone inside the school premises.

If teachers, parents and the whole society pioneer together in eradicating this act of bullying children, the day would not be far when children would not have to suffer from these traumatic episodes. Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Sachu Ramalingam, Lead of Centre of Well-Being at Lighthouse Learning, revealed, “In the aftermath of bullying experiences, the emotional scars left on young minds can be profound, impacting their academic performance and overall well-being. As educators, we have a responsibility to provide a nurturing environment and guide students through their journey of healing and resilience.”

Here are key strategies for teachers to assist young minds in overcoming trauma post-bullying experiences –

  1. Establish a Safe Environment: Creating a classroom culture of empathy and inclusivity goes beyond mere words. It involves actively promoting respect for diversity, addressing instances of discrimination promptly, and fostering a sense of belonging for every student.
  2. Active Listening: Developing strong listening skills is essential for detecting signs of trauma in students. Beyond simply hearing their words, teachers must pay attention to body language, tone of voice, and subtle cues that indicate distress. Validating students’ feelings and experiences without judgment is crucial for building trust and fostering open communication channels.
  3. Personalised Support: Recognising that every student’s journey to healing is unique, teachers should offer personalised support tailored to individual needs. This might involve providing access to counselling services, facilitating peer support groups, or implementing personalised learning plans that accommodate emotional well-being alongside academic goals.
  4. Trauma-Informed Practices: Integrating trauma-informed practices into the curriculum can help create a supportive learning environment. Teachers can incorporate mindfulness exercises, resilience-building activities, and literature that explores themes of overcoming adversity. By addressing trauma head-on in the classroom, educators empower students with coping mechanisms and self-regulation skills that are essential for their long-term well-being. Schools have to look at allocating dedicated at least one period in a week to socio emotional learning lessons.
  5. Cultivate Belonging: Building a sense of belonging within the classroom community is paramount for students recovering from bullying trauma. Teachers can facilitate team-building activities, encourage collaboration, and celebrate individual strengths to foster a supportive peer network. Additionally, creating opportunities for students to contribute positively to their community helps rebuild their confidence and sense of agency.
  6. Cultivate sensitive communication: It is crucial to build a culture of sensitive communication, especially in today’s world where online interactions often involve roasting, trolling, and sarcasm, frequently mixed with cuss words and foul language. While kids might seem to take this lightly and act as if they are unaffected, it can be harmful. Teachers need to proactively promote a gentler and more respectful way of communicating in schools.
  7. Finally, collaboration with parents and school counsellors is vital. By sharing observations and concerns, we can create a holistic support system that addresses the needs of the student beyond the classroom.

Educators play a pivotal role in identifying and intervening in bullying situations but our impact extends far beyond that. Together, we can nurture resilience and pave the way for a brighter future for all students.

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