Over the past two decades, the risk of school bullying has increased across the globe. As intolerance, discrimination, and judgment become increasingly pervasive and entrenched in our society, students are falling into the habit of bullying, harassing, abusing, judging, and ostracising their peers.
Most conventional schools boast glossy anti-bullying policies. While these look great on paper, they’re seldom put into practice. According to research, one in every five students (20.2%) reports being bullied.
It’s important to note that this percentage indicates the number of reported bullying cases. The number of students who are silently bullied is much, much higher. Out of the students who report being bullied, roughly 13% are made fun of, abused, called names, and insulted.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, online schooling is becoming increasingly popular owing to its safety and flexibility. Students receive a quality education from home, which decreases the risk of virus contraction. Students also enjoy a healthier school-life balance.
However, these are not the only two benefits of online schooling. Students who switch from conventional to online schooling also reap the benefits of learning in a bullying-free environment.
In this blog, we’ll dig deeper. How does online schooling help combat bullying? Moreover, should you consider switching to online learning for your child?
This guide is suitable for both parents and students. If you’re a parent, you’ll learn how to provide quality education to your child without putting them at risk of being bullied. If you’re a student being bullied, you’ll understand how the online schooling model can help you seek protection from bullies. Keep reading.
Online Schooling at a Glance: The Bullying-Free Model Parents Have Been Asking for?
If you’re new to online schooling, we’ll walk you through the basics in this section. As its name suggests, the online schooling model is set up online. Students attend classes from their home or any other quiet, distraction-free space.
At Cambridge Home School Online, we require students to have a computer or laptop, a strong Wi-Fi connection, their coursebooks, and other materials recommended by their teachers. Online schooling is extremely flexible. We accept applications from students living in the UK, Europe (including Western Russia), the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, and Africa. No matter where you live, you can receive a quality British online education at your convenience.
The hours are flexible. Your classes will start in the early morning or the afternoon, depending on where you live. Now that you have a basic idea of how online schooling works, let’s understand why this model is deemed bullying-free.
Today, most reputable online schools maintain a very low student-teacher ratio. This is ideal. When there are no more than 10 students in the classroom, teachers can equally distribute their attention between all students.
This is a far cry from classrooms with up to 25 or even 30 students. This is the case in most conventional schools. A high student-teacher ratio means that each student receives minimal personalised attention from their teachers. There are simply too many students present in the classroom for the teachers to guide each one accordingly.
Students bear the brunt of this approach. They aren’t attentive in class, which affects class engagement levels. They also don’t learn as intently as they should.
Teachers shoulder the responsibility of developing a nuanced understanding of each student’s learning personality. What are their academic strengths and weaknesses? What are their learning patterns? Which academic skills are they lacking? Which academic skills are very sharp?
These questions form a student’s learning profile. If teachers don’t build one for every student, class performance collectively goes down. Not only that, but students also get more and more distracted, which increases the risk of bullying.
As students zone out in class and lose the gist of the lesson, they start targeting their peers. This is the case in most online schools. Unfortunately, many cases of class bullying go unnoticed by teachers. It’s next to impossible for teachers to identify instances of peer pressure or bullying in a classroom full of students. As a result, students create groups and target the most vulnerable pupils in the classroom.
In most cases, these students are minorities. Any identity marker that differentiates a child from the rest of the class puts them at risk of being attacked by their peers. The online schooling model helps nip bullying in the bud because of its low student-teacher ratio.
At Cambridge Home School Online, each classroom comprises 8–10 students, no more. This approach helps us ensure that teachers can moderate the classes exceptionally well. Our MA/MSc/PhD qualified subject specialist teachers are given extensive training in how to:
- Identify instances of bullying, peer pressure, abuse, racism, sexism, and microaggressions in the classroom
- Teach students the importance of supporting and uplifting each other
- Teach essential soft skills like respect, empathy, teamwork, etc.
- Encourage students to report cases of bullying
- Teach students the importance of speaking up if they are uncomfortable or feel unsafe
- Remove students from the classroom if they put other pupils at risk
As these measures are implemented, special care is taken to make every student feel safe, comfortable, content, and validated in the classroom. This approach plays a big role in eliminating the risk of bullying in modern online classrooms. Since the teachers are more proactive, no instance of bullying goes past them. This is one of the most pronounced benefits of implementing a low student-teacher ratio.
Unfortunately, most conventional schools cram many students into each classroom. Since online learning deviates from this conventional strategy, students feel safe and protected. Pupils who are prone to bullying others are removed from the classroom for the time being. Shortly afterward, a meeting is scheduled with their parents. Bullies are either counselled, suspended, or expelled based on the frequency and severity of their bullying.
A Healthier School-Life Balance
Students bully their peers for a wide range of reasons. One of the top reasons is a deep sense of discontentment within. These students are often dissatisfied with their own personal, social, or academic life. They often project their insecurities onto other students, making them feel similar feelings of inadequacy. Understanding what makes students feel this way and take on the role of a “bully” is imperative.
As an online school, we have over 20 years of experience. Over the years, our education specialists have worked closely with our teachers and school counsellors to understand the behavioural patterns of bullies. We’ve concluded that a poor school-life balance often results in students feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and on edge. As a result, they target other students.
The conventional schooling system is known for putting an unnecessarily high amount of pressure on students. Students are often overworked. They attend protracted lessons and return home feeling worn out. This is extremely alarming. When students don’t get enough time for their personal and social lives, they feel discontent. Over time, they may develop feelings of resentment, angst, and bitterness. Many such students misbehave with their parents at home. Similarly, they also pick on other students in school.
The online schooling system is being applauded for helping students achieve a healthy school-life balance. Students resume the natural course of studies and play. They aren’t forced to focus on academics solely. In addition to studying, completing their homework, and revising for the day, they also play sports, socialise with their friends, explore new interests and hobbies, and develop new skills. The learning process isn’t restricted to academics. Instead, it’s more holistic.
As a result, students achieve higher levels of contentment, which reflect how they treat their peers, teachers, and family. This approach in itself helps reduce the rate of bullying in schools. However, it shouldn’t be utilised on its own. At Cambridge Home School Online, we also equip each classroom with qualified, experienced, and empathetic teachers who can take the right measures if and when classroom bullying occurs. Collectively, these two measures help students learn and thrive in a safe environment.
Counselling and Pastoral Support
Academic support is very important for every student across every learning stage: primary school online learning, online classes for secondary education, IGCSE school online learning, and A Level classes. However, academic support is not enough. Students must also be provided counselling and pastoral support.
The online schooling model prioritises student mental health. While there’s a strong focus on academic growth, there’s also a concurrent focus on personal and social growth. Today, the top online schools provide counselling to students.
At CHS Online, we provide one-on-one success coaching and pastoral support to every student. As an institution, we believe that students face many unique problems today. If these problems aren’t promptly identified and addressed, they can create bullying tendencies.
According to Stomp Out Bullying, children often bully others because they lack attention from their teachers or a parent at home. As a result, they target others to “seek” the attention they’re lacking. This is very true. The online schooling model provides students with the support and guidance they need to feel confident, capable, reassured, and self-empowered.
We address a range of common problems students face today: stress, anxiety, self-doubt, insecurity, personal problems, social problems, etc. As we work closely to provide individualised support to every student, we help them feel like they belong.
Isolation is very dangerous. Unfortunately, parents often think that the online learning model “isolates” students. This is far from the truth. In fact, online schools have introduced a lot of new strategies that help students have meaningful interactions, stay connected, and stay active. At CHS Online, we promote extracurricular growth.
Our students are encouraged to utilise the rest of their day with their family and friends and work on their personal growth. The learning process never stops. Whether it’s academic, personal, social, moral, or ethical learning, students should never stop benefiting from this process. We make sure it continues without any disruptions. This, in turn, reduces the risk of bullying.
Students have a well-balanced, complete, and fulfilling day planned out for them. They don’t seek validation elsewhere or target their peers out of restlessness. We make sure every student is focused on self-improvement, not self-righteousness. The latter can give students a sense of superiority complex and make them treat their peers with disdain. The former, however, gives students the motivation to keep bettering themselves, establish strong friendships, and have an enjoyable, safe, and healthy schooling experience.
Online schools have a greater focus on parental involvement than conventional schools. Parents play a big role in shaping students’ lives, developing their interests, and motivating them. Every student should have strong role models at home. This is essential. When combined with excellent teaching support, good parental role models can help students become better learners and content individuals.
We maintain complete transparency to ensure open, honest, clear, and free-flowing communication between parents, teachers, and students. Parents are provided 24/7 access to their children’s coursework. Moreover, we schedule three parent-teacher consultations each year, one in every term. This helps us keep parents in the loop about everything and increase the “accountability” factor.
Here’s what we mean by this. In some cases, students listen to their parents more than their teachers. In these situations, parents cannot be lax about how their child is doing. If they don’t give their children attention and guide them, there can be serious repercussions. Children look up to their parents. When the foundation support they’re seeking is missing, they feel a strong urge to act out. This can manifest in bullying.
During and even outside our meetings, we encourage parents to be more involved in their children’s schooling experience. When both teachers and parents play their roles, the effects are nothing short of powerful.
Collectively, teachers and parents can help students become happy, successful learners who don’t resort to bullying to make themselves feel satisfied. Instead, their grades, hobbies, interests, friends, and family bring them that deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude.
At Cambridge Home School Online, we provide a quality Cambridge online education across four homeschooling programs: Primary Prep/Key Stage 2 (ages 7 to 10), Lower School/Key Stage 3 (ages 11 to 13), Upper School/IGCSEs (ages 14 to 16), and Sixth Form/AS & A-Levels (ages 17 to 19).
Whether you’re looking for online primary schools, online classes for secondary education, IGCSE schools online, or A Level classes, CHS Online should be your top consideration. With over 20 years of experience, we’re considered the most esteemed British international Cambridge home school in the UK, Europe (including Western Russia), Central Asia, South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Click here to explore the rest of our locations.
If you’re interested in switching to online learning in the UK, please explore our homeschooling process. Let’s begin!