Observation is the Key
Perhaps you suspect that a child is showing bullying behavior, or a parent has addressed some concerns to you. The first step is to make observations and record or document these. Educators are constantly observing the children around them and likely have a great understanding of the unique attributes of each child in their program. When bullying behaviors are occurring the educator can comb through their records of observations and look into the documentation that they have already compiled. They will seek out evidence and data to help determine whether or not the child is showing signs of bullying or aggressive behaviors, typical childhood development, mean behavior, or something entirely different.
Consider the worksheet on page 9.
You selected a response based on a short synopsis of a child’s behavior. Some of the answers were obvious and others required further observation and data collection. This is a great example of the key ingredient to identifying bullying behavior in order to address the needs of all children. Identifying and recording behaviors leads to answers and that allows educators to develop and implement necessary supports.
If you suspect bullying, aggressive, inappropriate, or otherwise unacceptable behavior you will want to design your observations and documentations to cover that behavior. You should begin looking at times and locations where this behavior is most likely to occur and include objective observation information along with the details surrounding the events. Including the details surrounding the behavior may indicate that the same child is being bullied or that there is a delay in social skills that needs to be addressed. It is also important not to observe only in isolation and be sure to record information over time and in different situations.
It may also be helpful to have another educator take some time to observe the child and the behavior in question or to look over your observation notes. If the notion of bullying behavior is in your mind during your observations it is possible that you may find bias in what you record and interpret. By having another educator assist in your observation you can get another perspective to consider.