My school has the usual places for students to go for help: teachers, tutors, DSL, peer mentors etc. However it was becoming clear, particularly when dealing with disciplinary and wellbeing issues that our students were less likely to use these ‘formal’ channels. I wondered why and happened upon some research:
At a conference I got chatting to a teacher from another school who had heard of Tootoot it was mentioned in passing and I thought no more of it – that was over a year ago now.
Like many schools we have an issue with the don’t-snitch culture – there is a silence that can stop even the worst behaviours being reported. There is a real fear and concern that to speak out risks your social status and worry you will end up a social pariah. So you say nothing, you call it ‘banter’, and you just put up with it.
We can no longer easily fit students into the victim / perpetrator paradigm. With the mix of social media trying to work out who did what and in what order is impossible so the focus is now on shared responsibility. If you did not actively try to stop it, leave the group chat, speak up or out you have some responsibility, even maybe 1%-5% but you do have some responsibility:
But it was just banter Miss…So what are the ‘rules’ the parameters of banter v nasty chat even bullying? Do your students know your school’s line? A lot of what is called banter is not, this is not an issue of subjectivity. Lots of social media apps allow for anonymous and temporary view-giving but we know words hurt:
We are responsible for what we say…we are therefore responsible for the impact our words can have on others…You must be able to stand-by your words and take responsibility for them whether you say them out-loud or you type them…
Given all of the above I remembered my chat over a coffee at the teacher conference and I wondered if Tootoot could help students in my school to talk & to share without the fear. We have publicised Tootoot as a:
After Easter this year we began launching Tootoot to our students, year by year, a week apart. I did a launch presentation and then suggested each students starts off by asking Tootoot a question. I thought we’d get a handful of students using the service but it took off…in a BIG way. I quickly had to ask two more staff members to help me reply to the messages. I chose staff who did not have a disciplinary role.
These are the stats for the nearly 3 months we have been using Tootoot:
This data has been fascinating to look at, next year we’ll be putting far more focus into relationship building and conflict resolution. The increase is work worries is contextual, given we have just had exam week and most students have been getting their results recently.
An example of a conversation over tootoot:
We have had conversations with students about everything and anything. We do not know who the student is, all we see is a case number.
If there was a safety or safeguarding concern we can reveal who the student is.
ISI the Independent Schools Inspectorate (private schools OFSTED) were really impressed with Tootoot. It was mentioned in several conversations the inspectors had with our students.
We can produce reports looking at patterns and trends and when a student does report they can attach evidence. We can then work with SLT to tackle negative / abusive / bullying comments on social media. We can now say that people can speak up and out to protect others.
- Keep Tootoot on the student radar – especially at the start of next academic year
- Recruit some student ambassadors – focus on being well / well being using tootoot
- Log all new student on to Tootoot in September
- Encourage students to ask Tootoot a question
- Use Tootoot in tutor times
- Get all staff logged in at September INSET
- Show staff how to log incidents e.g. hearing negative comments
- Enable a more connected approach to pastoral care, looking for areas of school where issues occur
- Endeavouring to identify key people who seem to be instigators or flame fanners of social problems
- Keep tackling anti-snitch culture and banter as an excuse for poor behaviour
- Getting all staff to use the incident reporting so we can have a more joined up approach
Whole School Wellbeing
Tootoot has now become an established tool to enable student to speak up & get support
It has an overwhelmingly positive following
Teachers have seen it’s use and usefulness and many are keen to start using it to record incidents
It has helped many students start difficult conversations…
More info, click here & watch the launch video: Intro to Tootoot
If I can help or answer any question you have please get in touch or have a look at my other wellbeing resources @kayprice82 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 3 Month free trial followed by standard 3 year license – Set up is covered within the 3 months
- 3 for 2 This offer is based on enrolment. No free trial, 3 years use of tootoot for the price of 2.
- 3. BUY NOW PAY LATER UNTIL 30th JUNE 2017 – for a limited time only we are offering an incredible buy now pay later deal. Schools that sign up before 30th June 2017 will receive 3 months free use and will be invoiced on September 30th for a 12 month contract at a fixed price of £550 for the first year, regardless of student numbers.
Tootoot offers free virtual demonstrations of the platform: https://tootoot.setmore.com