For any martial arts instructor, it is important to support your students. But one thing that shouldn’t go unnoticed and unsupported is bullying. With this week being all about anti-bullying, I am going to look at some of the ways in which the Anti-Bullying Alliance, NSPCC and CPSU suggest how you can support your students, things to look out for and what you can do to prevent bullying.
Make a noise about bullying
The Anti-Bullying Alliance makes it clear that that bullying is wrong, but it’s up to you to carry that message into your school, as this will help your students to feel safe and secure. The NSPCC advises putting safeguards in place, such as an anti-bullying policy (if you don’t already have these) to make it clear to everyone what isn’t acceptable and what help is available to them. It’s a good idea to include your students within this process and ask their opinions, not only will this give you a real idea of their concerns, but it also creates an atmosphere where the students feel like they can engage with you and promotes teamwork.
Listen and respond
The CPSU suggests that listening to your students shows you care about what they have to say. Showing students they can have a conversation with you promotes a sense of trust, it is this trust that will make it easier to speak with you about concerns they may have. Responding to these concerns ensures your students that not only will you listen, but action will be taken; It also helps reinforce any safeguards you have.
Certain concerns raised by students may prove a little more challenging to deal with. It may be worth speaking with the parents about these types of concerns as they can provide continued support at home. Talking with the parents may also reveal additional insight into the matter and allow both you and the parents a better approach to the solution. Cases like this are best handled with care and in line with your procedures and any decision made has to be with the student’s best interest in mind.
Someone to talk to
It can be difficult for young students to open up to adults, especially about things such as bullying. The CPSU stresses the importance of having people that the students can talk to besides the instructor, that students could sit down and talk with at the end of lessons. Having someone that isn’t connected to the instructor allows the students to address issues and concerns about things relating to the instructor, without fear of it causing problems for them.
Another way of tackling this is to offer an anonymous suggestions box, where students can feel free to write down anything on their mind and submit it without fear of being singled out. These issues can then be tackled by the instructor to help improve the areas raised as a concern, making the environment feel much safer for students and keeping them happy, engaged and signed up.
If a student raises a concern and you are unable to help them, it is a great idea to provide them with information or contact details of someone that can help. The NSPCC have provided a useful resource of contacts that cover a wide variety of areas which students, parents and even instructors can utilise.
If you would like any additional information, tips or advice, you can view a CPSU webinar video entitled ‘making a noise about bullying in sport’ which goes into more detail on the points raised above. If you would like any additional information, please contact the marketing team and we will be happy to help.