To reduce and eradicate bullying, we need to address emotions and find the root cause of bullying. We often think that bringing in a speaker or talking about why bullying is bad is enough. That’s the biggest mistake. When someone is bullying, they are hurt and don’t know how to process the emotions, so they lash out and attack others. It is a cyclical pattern that has to be addressed. The best way to address drama (teasing, rumors, gossip) and bullying is to learn about emotional literacy. Emotional literacy is about reading, processing, and understanding emotions. Emotional literacy is the foundation to build compassion and empathy. So where do we start? Well we have found these strategies to be most helpful:
Tips to Teach Emotional Literacy
- Create flash cards with all the different emotions. Use your flash cards once a day to identify an emotion. Ask what do you do and think when you feel a certain emotion. Or ask students to share a time when they felt a certain emotion. The goal is to talk about what happens when they feel that emotion. We love our Mood Dudes. We use them to learn about different emotions and over 15 different activity. Click here to purchase them
- Use the behavioral triangle to work on processing emotions. Ask students to share a story and have the class identify the emotions, behaviors, and thoughts.
- Share your emotions throughout the day. For example: “Right now, I feel _______ because________. I am thinking_______ and this is why I am ___________. So right now, I feel happy because Alex helped Marc with his assignment. I am thinking how much as a class you have grown and this is why I am giving you all a break from homework tonight.
- When watching a movie during class, pause it and ask: “What is the character feeling, thinking, and doing?” Ask the why the students guessed certain emotions.
- At the end of the week, pass out post it and ask students to share an emotion and why they feel that way. It could be how they felt today, or throughout the week. It is great reflection exercise and you can have the class share back their emotion to create classroom community.
We hope that you can use these strategies in the classroom and at home to get students to open up and better understand their emotions. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or additional resources.