School-Based Bullying Prevention: Providing Program Training

Train Your Team

  • Overview

    SupportTraining teachers and staff to address bullying incidences they witness is important because research has shown that teacher training can lead to significant decreases in bullying and victimization. Training sessions can help teachers and school staff become more comfortable with the idea of a bullying prevention program by giving them a chance to ask questions about the program and address their own concerns. Training can also help them understand the scope of the bullying problem and give them the tools they need to help students deal with bullies.

    Training can contribute to a shared understanding about

    • The overall goals of a program;
    • How to implement a program curriculum or core components of it; and
    • The definition of bullying in general and the specific experiences of it in your school.

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  • Steps to Take: Lessons Learned from the Research

    Steps to Take:  Lessons Learned from the Research

    Research the amount of training required to implement a program.

    • Contact the program developer for information on the program.
    • Consider the time commitment for training.
    • Explore alternative format options for training, such as online options.
    • Balance training needs and resources, which are often scarce.

    Select which school staff members will be involved in training sessions.

    • Include all school staff members who will be implementing the program.

    Schedule program training to fit everyone’s schedule, when possible.

    • Schedule training after school or during development days.
    • Schedule training close to when the program will be implemented.
    • Research Important Factors of Training

      When choosing a program, make sure you know

      • The amount of time and resources required to train teachers and school staff;
      • The school’s schedule for conducting the training; and
      • Exactly which staff members should be involved in the training.

      In some cases, training may only be available through the program’s developers.

      • Contact the program developer for more information on the program. Many manualized programs have program developers who can provide specific information about program trainings. On the Model Programs Guide, when available, contact information is provided for program developers, program directors, and training/technical assistance providers.
      • Consider the time commitment for training. The amount of training required for staff will depend on the program being implemented. Training requirements in bullying prevention programs featured on the Model Programs Guide range from 90 minutes to 2 full days of training. For example, the Bully-Proofing Your School program requires 8 hours of training to cover many topics. Similarly, when implemented in one state, the School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support required 2-day training for the school teams, as well as annual 2-day summer booster training events.
      • Explore alternative format options for training, such as online options Some programs may offer alternatives to in-person training. For example, the Second Step program provides online training. Training is available for all staff, with a specific module for principals and program coordinators; and another module for teachers and counselors. At 45-60 minutes long, the online training modules do not require a lot of time from staff and it gives new staff an opportunity to learn about the new program without having to organize an entire group training session.
      • Balance training needs and scarce resources. Some training programs may be more expensive than others. For instance, some programs require that you buy training materials, in addition to paying for trainers’ time and travel expenses (for more information on costs related to training, see Procuring Funding). You may want to consider selecting an evidence-based program that does not entail in-person or time-intensive training. For example, the Success in Stages Program is an Internet-based expert system that students use on their own. To implement the program, school staff receive a 10-page staff guide that includes instructions on how to run the program, possible classroom exercises, and guidance on how to work with parents. Most importantly, there is no required training for school staff prior to implementing the program. The WITS Primary Program also provides free online training, including a teacher accreditation program and training program for community leaders. These options can help schools that do not have many resources available for training.

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    • Select Staff to Participate in Training

      It is essential for frontline staff, such as teachers or school counselors, to get training about the program, because they will likely be the ones to implement the program in the classroom. You may also want to include other staff members, such as school resource officers, librarians, and bus drivers, because bullying can take place in any part of the school, not just the classroom.

      • Include all school staff members who will be implementing the program. Staff members involved in the implementation process will differ by program. For example, School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support, involves small teams of selected school staff members (usually 4-5 people), who attend 2-day training sessions on implementing the program. Later, all staff members are involved in an in-school training session to document discipline problems. On the other hand, a classroom-based program, such as Positive Action, only trains staff members who actually teach the curriculum.

      Did You Know...

      The National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments provides a bullying prevention training toolkit specifically for bus drivers.

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    • Schedule a Training Session to Fit Schedules

      It is challenging to find an appropriate time to conduct program trainings that fit everyone’s schedule.

      • Schedule training after school or during development days. This can ensure that teachers and other staff are not disrupted during regular class time. For example, the Steps to Respect program includes a onetime training session, usually delivered after school. The first part of the training is for all teachers and staff. Additional training about how to help students involved in bullying is provided for teachers, counselors, and administrators.
      • Schedule training close to when the program will be implemented. This can make the best use of knowledge and practice gained during training. Scheduling training over the summer can ensure that there is no interference with teachers’ and staffs’ day-to-day responsibilities. But, this might not be useful if the program does not begin until later in the school year. For example, a process evaluation of the Playworks program showed that schools with training provided after the program had begun had little buy-in from teachers and encountered many early challenges. The evaluation showed that training provided earlier in the school year supported the program by building teachers’ understanding, integrating the programs into the school culture, and providing a launching pad to get the program running quickly.

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