Anti-Bullying and Positive Reinforcement in the Classroom


Bullying in school is a part of life for many children. This is something that is important for teachers to be aware of and to take steps to combat. Bullying can be physical or emotional, and both are deeply harmful. There are some techniques teachers can use to help address any bullying issues in school, which can help to make bullies address their behaviour and encourage all children to develop a respectful and anti-bullying attitude.


Schools need to make it clear that bullying will not be tolerated in any way while encouraging respectful and inclusive behaviour. A good technique is to keep consciousness of bullying behaviour at the forefront of children’s minds by pointing out risk behaviours, so that children of all ages realise that even innocent-seeming teasing can be harmful.


Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement can be used to encourage respectful behaviour and discourage aggression. For example, children can be rewarded for following the teacher’s instructions willingly and straight away, while another good behaviour might be clearing up after themselves without being asked or walking briskly rather than running down the corridors. These simple behaviours, when rewarded, can encourage a more thoughtful and respectful attitude in other areas.

Rewards can be small tokens or stars. The more stars a child collects, the more rewards they can enjoy in the ‘reward store’, which could be stocked with various privileges, such as more reading time or computer time. It could also have reward items suitable for their age group, such as toys, stickers or colouring pencils for young children, while older children could be rewarded with sports items, tasty snacks and drinks, seasonal gift packs, fashion accessories, vouchers or other items.

Anti-bullying measures such as these can really help to make children aware of their own behaviour and aware of bullying behaviour. They help them to understand what is and is not acceptable. It can often be the case that children just do not realise how to behave well. Small children in particular benefit from collecting stickers, or other physical rewards or their good behaviour. We recommend looking at our personalised certificates as tailored rewards really boost individuals’ self-esteem.

Encouraging Respectful Behaviour

A safe and happy classroom which is free from bullying is the kind of classroom that also encourages strong performances academically, so this benefits everyone on every level. Fostering a respectful environment in school is vital as a way to stop bullying. Teachers can help through the use of lessons which build children’s social skills and self-esteem and teach them how to manage their emotions. Building empathy in the classroom is an important step to helping children to address their behaviour.

One important technique for teachers is to lead by example and always treat the children with respect. It is also important for the school develop a code of conduct, making it clear that any bullying is unacceptable. Teachers need to be regularly visible in social areas such as the hallways and common rooms so that children have a sense of safety and vigilance. Another technique is to build an inclusive atmosphere through group events such as sports and charity events so that children can feel bonded as a group.