According to the WHO, one of the crucial parts of school-related gender-based violence is “creating safe learning environments that promote learning and are based on equality and respect”. This requires to deal with poor behaviour constructively and rewarding good behaviour.
The WHO recommends taking these measures to ensure a safe learning environment:
- Strategies to manage challenging behaviour;
- Setting classroom rules and behavioural expectations;
- Building positive relationships between teachers and children;
- Rewarding appropriate behaviour;
- Developing children’s social, emotional and academic skills.
During this process, it is essential to develop the teachers’ skills in creating a safe school environment. In the previous chapters we stated that creating a safe school environment is the responsibility of the entire community, not meant to fall on the shoulders of a single person. In this chapter we will offer a short overview of external resources available to aid teachers in the development of such skills.
One of the suggested tools are a series of seminars for teachers and school staff dedicated to developing their gender-based violence recognition and positive discipline skills. In addition to that, these seminars can assist in developing interpersonal support mechanisms for teachers, such as meetings where the school staff would have a platform to reflect, share the challenges they face, and both offer and receive support in addressing them. Moreover, they can be used to strengthen the existing support mechanisms provided by the school management.
These seminars, dedicated to addressing harmful beliefs and the social, cultural and gender norms of teachers, and aiming to change them, are one of the key means of recognising and reacting to gender-based violence in the school. Below we provide several responses from teachers who have undertaken these training sessions.
For more information, please read Equality Lab: a Guide to Creating a Safe Envirnoment at School.