Get Ready for No Name-Calling Week!

It's a very special year for GLSEN's annual No Name-Calling Week. This year, No Name-Calling Week celebrates its 10th anniversary, and we're excited to collaborate with students and educators to make this the best one yet. 

Each and every year we marvel at the innovative and creative ways that educators recognize No Name-Calling Week in their schools. And like every good teacher out there, when we see something great, we add it to our repertoire! This is one of the ways that No Name-Calling Week has continued to grow and remain relevant for ten years.

GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week lessons (elementarymiddle and high school) have remained a staple of every school’s celebration but we've noticed that schools use these in various combinations and paired with unique events designed to address specific needs or build upon related efforts or even tied to school-wide themes for the year.  

So how do these educators do their planning? How do they decide which No Name-Calling Week activities and lessons to implement?

We’ve noticed that the most successful No Name-Calling Week plans are those that emerge when educators first give deep consideration to the culture of their school and identify aspects of the culture that they wish to change.

Taking our cue from these excellent educators, we’ve put together a tool designed to help everyone engage in a similar planning process. Planning No Name-Calling Week in Your School: A Guide is a resource that educators can turn to every year to help determine desired outcomes and set objectives.

The planning tool can help you identify needs and articulate the outcomes you're working towards. This is the best way to choose just the right No Name-Calling Week lessons and activities for your classroom or school. For example, if name-calling based on physical appearance is one of the problems you’ve observed and you’ve decided you want to help students to identify actions they can take to move beyond appearance as a dominant force in their social lives, you can choose the Beauty is Skin Deep lesson. And if your school needs a visual reminder of the importance of no name-calling, you might choose to engage in the Gardens of Kindness lesson or have a Creative Expression Exhibit.

Here's something else to consider: If you’ve ever planned a No Name-Calling Week in your school, you've probably been asked, "Shouldn't every week be No Name-Calling Week?" We certainly have! And while our answer is always a resounding, “Yes!” we know this is still far from what students experience in an overwhelming number of our schools. 

In 2012, GLSEN issued a groundbreaking research report, Playgrounds and Prejudice: Elementary School Climate in the United States. Sadly, the findings suggest that in many places students may actually experience most weeks as “name-calling week.” Consider this:

  • Half of students (51%) and just less than half of teachers (45%) say that students at their school make comments such as “retard” or “spaz” sometimes, often or all the time
  • Slightly less than half of elementary students (45%) report that they hear comments like “that’s so gay” or “you’re so gay” from other kids at school sometimes, often or all the time while nearly half of their teachers (49%) say they hear students in their school use the word “gay” in a negative way with a similar frequency.

GLSEN's 2005 study, From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, A Survey of Students and Teachers suggests that students in secondary schools also experience name-calling and bullying at alarming rates.

Clearly, there is a need to set aside time for a program like No Name-Calling Week and the kind of learning that it affords students! And January is a perfect time for it. For some, January may be just the right time for a classroom or school-wide intervention to address problems. For others, No Name-Calling Week may be used as a complement to year-long, school-wide efforts addressing name-calling and/or helping students to learn pro-social behaviors such as kindness.

Thanks to educators across the country and our amazing national partners, No Name-Calling Week boasts a robust set of resources to help educators address just about any name-calling issue they might observe in their school. But don’t take our word for it - join in on the conversation we're having with more than 18,000 No Name-Calling Week followers on Facebook. Here, educators just like you pose questions and get advice and inspiration from their colleagues across the country. Together we're making just the right plans so that all of our schools become the safe and respectful places students deserve. Please share your plans with us here and use and share our resources to make your school's No Name-Calling Week the best and most effective one yet!   

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