Get your class in Rhithm to identify bullying
Experiencing bullying can have serious negative ramifications on a student’s well-being, including increases in anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and difficulty with focus, all of which can impact learning.
Students who engage in bullying are often struggling with their own well-being issues and engage in bullying behaviors in order to satisfy an unmet need through an inappropriate way. Examples of unmet needs a student engaging in bullying behaviors may be trying to satisfy include the need for attention, control, and belonging. Sometimes, students who engage in bullying behaviors are reenacting experiences they’ve had in the past at home or in school, which is a common response to trauma.
The good news is Rhithm can be used to help identify & prevent bullying behaviors.
The Rhithm Essential Check-In can be used to help identify students with social struggles who may be experiencing or engaging in bullying behaviors.
By using the 5-question Rhithm Essential Check-In on a regular basis, teachers and campus administrators can look out for students who respond as “Anxious” or “Angry” on the Emotional Scale, or “Bad”, “Conflict”, or “Disagreement” on the Social Scale. These responses, especially when indicated more than once, may be a sign that a student is experiencing or engaging in bullying behaviors, and further check-in may be useful. A teacher or campus administrator has the option of setting up Risk Alerts to make this monitoring easy and automated. More about creating risk alerts can be found here.
A teacher or campus administrator can choose to check-in with a student they are concerned about in person before or after a teaching period or through a message directly within the Rhithm App.
If you have the comment box section turned on, your students may leave details about their social experiences, which could further be used to identify and prevent bullying behaviors.
Note: Learners using the the 2-question Simplified Rhithm Check-In do not have a social scale or comment box; however, repeated answers such as “Angry” or “Worried” could be signs that bullying is taking place and merit further exploration.
Creating an inclusive classroom with an emphasis on student well-being and teacher/student relationships is an excellent way to prevent bullying before it occurs.
Strong relationship skills in children and adults start with strong self-awareness and self-management skills. Using Rhithm in your classroom can be a way to improve self-advocacy and bolster these key well-being competencies throughout the school year. This helps students be more aware of their feelings and needs without projecting them onto classmates via bullying behaviors.
Once you have identified students who could use extra support, you can use additional videos from our Rhithm Toolkit as Tier 1 or Tier 2 interventions to help a student gain competency in emotional regulation, social awareness, and relationship skills.
Our team has put together a showcase highlighting just some of the videos we have available that can be used to support bullying prevention, found here.
For example, our video "Use Your Voice" teaches children the value of assertiveness. Our video "Standing Up for Friend" speaks of the importance of speaking up when we see others being mistreated.
You can find additional videos on this topic by using the the Filters (eg: Method → Relational) or search bar (eg: type “kindness” or “boundaries”) in the Rhithm Toolkit. More about the Rhithm Toolkit can be found here.
Other Rhithm features to identify bullying
For Pro & Hero members, if you are wanting to explore your students relationship skills and screen for potential social struggles or bullying, another excellent way to do this is by using a Pre-built Assessment. Specifically, the CASEL-based Relationship Skills assessment or our Rhithm Well-being Survey: Relational are appropriate for this use. The Relationship Skills assessment explores how well a student identifies their ability to get along with, respect, and forgive others. The Well-being Survey specifically asks if a student has a close friend, feels supported, and is able to say no to others. More about our Pre-built assessment feature can found here.
Our Hero members have two unique options for bullying identification. First, they could create a custom assessment that specifically asks a question such as, “Have you experienced bullying in the last week?”.
Second, our Hero members have access to our Teacher Tips Feature, which will automatically identify students with social struggles based on responses to the Essential Wellness Check-In and provide actionable tips around how to support them. More about Teacher Tips can be found here.
Further implementation tips
Get curious, not furious. Approaching students who are engaging in bullying behaviors with curiosity can help get to the root cause of the bullying behavior.
Be mindful of your own feelings. You will best be able to address bullying behaviors and support those on the receiving end of the behaviors if you are in a regulated, calm mindset. You may try Getting in Rhithm yourself, first, before addressing the issue with students.
Consider the ways cultural differences may show up between students. Some students may interpret some behaviors as bullying or aggressive, even though the student does not have any malice or negative intention behind their actions. And, some student’s actions may qualify as bullying behavior, even though that is not their intention.