Reflection Cover Sheet Standard IV Title: Positive Learning Environment Name of Artifact: Bullying Research Paper Course: Health and Safety Needs of School-Aged Children Rationale Statement: For this assignment I was allowed to pick from any number of topics to write a research paper. I chose the topic of bullying in schools. I chose to focus my thesis on what different methods of prevention are there that help prevent bullying, and also how schools can deal with bullying situations so that both the bully and the victim can grow from the situation to become better people. This assignment taught me a lot about how the safety of kids at school really has a strong affect on how well they will learn. When kids feel safe at school, they have a positive learning environment that allows them to focus wholly on their academics, in turn, producing better grades. When kids are bullying or being bullied in school, their attention slips away from their studies and their academic achievement is directly affected. In order to create a positive learning environment for all of all our students, teachers and all other faculty members must play an active role in the prevention of bullying, and also the healing process after a bullying situation has been resolved. Craig Moses 4/14/08 Health and Safety Needs of School-Aged Children Dr. Theresa Souchet Research Paper: Bullying Unfortunately, bullying is an unavoidable part of life for children, but what is the best way to deal with bullying so that both the bully and the victim can grow from the experience and become better people? Before this question can be answered, it is important to explore every aspect involved with bullying. Specifically, we need to look at everything that bullies do, the way it affects both the victim and the bully, and exactly how much bullying currently occurs in schools. Bullying is very frequent and since the beginning of time it has plagued schools all over the world. It is a major issue in today’s world and is well -worthy of discussion. Most of the time when people think of bullying going on in schools, one generic picture comes to mind; a big, scary boy coming along to a younge r, punier child and saying, “Give me your lunch money dork!” then the bully proceeds to turn the victim upside down to empty his pockets for lunch money. However, bullying is not always that simple, and there does not necessarily need to be physical violence involved in order for something to be considered bullying. There are three different types of bullies that are common in schools today; physical bullies, verbal bullies, and relational bullies (Milsom & Gallo, 2006). Physical bullies are just what they sound like, physical. These types of bullies tend to hit, kick, punch, shove, or use any other type of physical exertion of energy towards other kids (Milsom & Gallo, 2006). Verbal bullies are the types of bullies that use harsh words such as name-calling, insults, racial comments, or comments about another student’s physical appearance in order to degrade their victim (Milsom & Gallo, 2006). Verbal bullying is the most commonly reported type of bullying (Milsom & Gallo, 2006). Finally, relational bullies will act by singling out their victim from their peer group. This is mostly done by the bully using verbal threats or spreading undesirable rumors about their victims (Milsom & Gallo, 2006). While these types of bullying are not necessarily the stereotypical pictures that come to mind when thinking about bullies, they are all very seriou s and can possibly have some serious detrimental affects on both parties involved. There are a number of statistics to keep in mind when thinking about bullying as well. Typically, more boys are involved with bullying than girls, and more boys tend to use physical bullying than girls as well (Milsom & Gallo, 2006). Research also shows that children who have special needs are more vulnerable to bullying in schools than the typical school child (Slee & Mohyla, 2007). Research from Australia also indicates that 1 out of every 6 primary school children will be bullied once a week or more (Slee & Mohyla, 2007). This is an alarming statistic. As well as children may be getting along in school, it is highly doubtful that any one student will go through their lives without ever being bullied. It is also important to be mindful of the fact that that if one out of six children are bullied once a week, than there also must be at least one bully for each bully victim, maybe even more! It is something that according to statistics is almost inevitable for any school-child to avoid. Whether they are bullies, victims, or bystanders, every student will encounter bullying at some point during their school years. There are three different categories that students may fit into when talking about bullying. Students may either be a bully, a bully victim, or a bystander (Solberg, Olweus, & Endresen, 2007). There are a number of serious emotional issues that can be attributed to bullying for both bullies and their victims. Research shows that both bullies and victims have proven to be more depressed than students who are not involved with bullying (Milsom & Gallo, 2006). Depression is an extremely serious mental disorder that can lead to any number of other issues such as eating disorders and even suicide. Other problems associated with bullying are a decrease in academic performance, and even dropping out of school altogether (Milsom & Gallo, 2006). With all of the steps being taken to increase the performance of every single student in schools all over the United States, it is a mystery as to why programs such as “No Child Left Behind” don’t focus their attention even more on effective ways to prevent bullying from occurring. More specifically, problems such as delinquency and alcohol and drug abuse have been associated with people who were bullies when they were children (Milsom & Gallo, 2006). Victims of bullying tend to be more at risk to issues like absenteeism, loneliness, and a loss of friends (Milsom & Gallo, 20 06). These risks increase even further if help and emotional support for these students is not provided (Milsom & Gallo, 2006). This means that offering support to victims of bullying is just as important as the prevention of bullying itself. The last category is the bystanders, while they are not necessarily at as high of a risk as the bullies and victims may be for future problems, they are still faced with a moral dilemma whenever witnessing bullying. Should they themselves intervene, should they go get help, or should they just do nothing and stay out of it? While adults may encourage kids to tell an authoritative figure, that isn’t always the response that the bystanders choose to make. These bystanders will always feel uncomfortable at the sight of bullying, however, they may not always necessarily make the correct decision about what to do in the situation. Bullying can oftentimes be prevented by telling an adult and it is vital for students who witness bullying to bring the situation to a responsible adult. Others can potentially be very hurt by bullying, making it essential to come forward with information. With all of these issues at stake, it is crucial for schools to crack down on bullying by using both different methods of prevention as well as increased support for children who have been bullied. A major question that arises from all of this, how can the issue of bullying be attacked in order to get the best results for both the victim and the bully? There are so many different methods being used internationally that are worthy of discussion. One way of dealing with bullying is by using problem-based learning. Victims of bullying need to be presented with better methods of effectively dealing with bullies, and by implementing the use of problem-based learning, school counselors can use problem-solving in literature-based lessons (Hall, 2006). By using this strategy effectively, it is possible to increase awareness and knowledge of bullying as well as teacher/parent involvement and the child’s assertiveness skills (Hall, 2006). Bullying is oftentimes rewarded by victims who act passively and nonassertively. This basically means students who give in to demands of the bully, cry easily, and fail to defend themselves (Hall, 2006). Problem-based learning helps teach students that bullies want their victims to concede to them and that in order to stop it from happening, they must be assertive. There is one specific problem-based learning program called “Steps to Respect” which includes lessons based on literature that meet both language arts and social and emotional learning objectives (Hall, 2006). This program not only teaches things related to the academic curriculum, but it also reinforces the strategies for responding to bullying as well (Hall, 2006). An example of this would be children reading a book in class where one of the characters gets picked on by a bully and the character responds by being assertive and defending himself. Then, when the problem persists, the character seeks assistance from a responsible adult who is able to diffuse the situation and keep it from occurring. This type of activity would not only work on a child’s reading skills, but when analyzing the story, students will be taught from a young age the proper way of dealing with a bully. Measures like these will surely help to decrease the number of bullying occurrences if it is taught from a young age. Results indicate that students that have undergone problem-based learning have had less stress and more encouragement in their learning environment than students who experienced a more traditional type of learning (Hall, 2006). While this method can be very successful, there are different stipulations that must be met. Not only must the literature be readable and grade-appropriate, it must also be relevant to the students’ lives (Hillsberg & Spak, 2006). If students can relate to what it is they are reading, there will be a much higher success rate in both teaching victims to defend themselves as well as teaching bullies that what they are doing is wrong and detrimental to themselves and to others. This method works better for victims than it does for bullies simply because it teaches them to be assertive and while bullies may benefit from problem-based leaning as well, there are other methods that are better-suited for bullies. In order to understand bullies and be able to help them better, we can look at some of the causes for bully-like behavior. Sometimes, bullies have unique home-lives where their parents have either a physically or verbally abusive relationship, therefore leading the child to believe that that type of behavior is acceptable (Lake, 2004). Also, violence on television and in video games can be a large contributor to violent behavior of the child (Lake, 2004). This brings up the first important point for preventing kids from becoming bullies. All kids are very easily swayed by their parents and by the media, which ultimately means, the prevention starts at home (Lake, 2004). Parents need to monitor not only what their children are watching on television, but also the way they act as well. If these steps are taken by parents, the number of kids that become bullies will surely dramatically decrease. However, if a child still acts violently in school even after parents take these preventative measures, there are certain classroom management techniques that can be used to help the child as well. An important way teachers can use to change the behavior of a violent child is rather than pointi ng out the behaviors the teacher wants the child to stop, he/she must point out the behaviors that they actually want the child to display (Lake, 2004). By doing this, teachers are using positive reinforcement to get their point across and help students, rather than negative reinforcement. Another step that can be taken to reduce violent behavior in a child that is considered a bully is by increasing the amount of collaboration between parents and the school (McAdams & Schmidt, 2007). This collaboration should focus mainly on ways of developing a sense of empathy for their bully victims (McAdams & Schmidt, 2007). While this empathy takes time to develop and will not show up completely right away, it is still a very crucial step in making an individual more compassionate towards others, in turn, decreasing violent behavior and bully-like actions. There is also another, slightly more high-tech way of preventing bullying from occurring in schools and also stopping any existing bullying from continuing. A new virtual simulation called Vitec is a computer program that is designed to help kids gain a better understanding of why bullies, victims, and bystanders all act the way that they do (Wagner, 2005). This is a game where the students can play the role of a bully, a victim, and a bystander in order to learn how they should act in certain situations. The game is unscripted, so the results change depending on how the students choose to act (Wagner, 2005). This makes this method extremely unique and effective in dealing with bully situations because it truly gives the students a deeper understanding for why people act the way that they do, and also lets them find out for themselves what the best way of dealing with a bully situation may be no matter what role the student may be playing. In case it is still unclear just how big of a deal bullying is in the world, here is some evidence that may make it more obvious. In 1986 at Manchester’s Burnage High School, physical bullying was taken to the extreme. A 13 -year old white male stabbed a 13-year old Asian male. This incident ended fatally. It was later determined that the school’s anti-racist policy had failed to classify “racial abuse” as bullying, and was therefore narrowly conceived (O’Brien, 2007). If thi s school had simply been more active in bully prevention, this young boy might still be alive today. If this doesn’t prove that bullying is a very real issue, then nothing does. After all this talk of different methods that can be used in order to handle bullying, what actually is the best way? Well, in order to answer this question, why not ask the kids themselves? After administering a survey to 311 children with an average age of 11 years old, this is what they concluded: the outcome of the study showed that the majority of the students said that best strategy for intervention is assertiveness (Camodeca & Goossens, 2005). This means that most children, when asked how to deal with a bully would respond by saying that they would be assertive rather than giving in to what the bully wants. The simple fact alone that the majority of the kids answered this way is a good sign for the future. However, just because they know this is the way they should act, does not mean that they in the heat of the moment that is what they will do. It is still necessary to take other steps toward prevention, before intervention is ever even necessary. The most important thing that could ever possibly happen in preventing bullying in schools happens in the child’s home at a very young age. It is the parents’ job to monitor what their child is watching on T.V. and playing on the computer. By keeping a proper image in the child’s head that aggressive behavior is not acceptable, the children will learn from a young age that bul lying and violent behavior is wrong and there is no excuse for it. It is also crucial that children are taught both by parents and teachers how to deal with the situation in case they are ever actually bullied. Then, if these preventative measures taken still do not work, a combination of the problem-based learning method and games like Vitec seem to have the best results in not only putting bullying to an end, while also allowing both the bully and the victim to grow into better people when all is said and done. Bullying has had a personal toll on my life just as it has on so many others. My most memorable of my experiences with bullying happened in third grade. This was the year I finally stood up to Anthony, the boy who had bullied me and a number of my friends everyday at recess. One day, Anthony came up to me and pushed off of the swing that I was on. I told him, “If you push me like that again, I’m going to fight back.” He did not heed my word and he went to push me again, but before he had the chance, I kicked him in the head as swiftly and powerfully as my third-grade body possibly could. He didn’t cry, but he was shocked and without a word, he ran away. From that day forward, I was never bothered by Anthony ever again. I had stood up for myself just enough to handle the situation without having to get into a full-fledged fight. Therefore, I am living proof that asserting yourself against a bully really does work. Although there were other boys who would try to bully me as I got older and went into Middle School, I would always know that I had the power to handle any situation that came my way. Bullying will forever plague schools all over the world and it is vital to know ways in which teachers and parents can work together in order to lesse n the blow bullying has on society, and keep our children safe and happy. A higher quality of life for students where they can focus on their academics at school rather than on bullies will provide them with less stressful lives and prevent many of the problems, such as depression and suicide, which can oftentimes be linked to childhood violence. Craig Moses 1/31/08 Health and Safety Needs of School-Aged Children Dr. Theresa Souchet Research Paper Bibliography Camodeca, M., & Goossens, F. (2005, March 1). Children's Opinions on Effective Strategies to Cope with Bullying: The Importance of Bullying Role and Perspective. Educational Research, 47(1), 93. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ691669) Retrieved January 31, 2008, from ERIC database. Hall, K. (2006, February 1). Using Problem-Based Learning with Victims of Bullying Behavior. Professional School Counseling, 9(3), 231. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ743336) Retrieved January 31, 2008, from ERIC database. Hillsberg, C., & Spak, H. (2006, November 1). Young Adult Literature as the Centerpiece of an Anti-Bullying Program in Middle School. Middle School Journal, 38(2ov), 23. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ752882) Retrieved January 31, 2008, from ERIC database. Lake, V. (2004, August 1). Profile of an Aggressor: Childhood Bullies Evolve into Violent Youths. Early Child Development and Care, 174(6), 527. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ681501) Retrieved January 31, 2008, from ERIC database. McAdams, Charles R., III, and Christopher D. Schmidt. "How to help a bully: recommendations for counseling the proactive aggressor.(Report)." Professional School Counseling 11.2 (Dec 2007): 120(9). General OneFile. Gale. Ithaca College Library. 29 Jan. 2008 <http://find.galegroup.com/itx/start.do?prodId= ITOF>. Milsom, A., & Gallo, L. (2006, January 1). Bullying in Middle Schools: Prevention and Intervention. Middle School Journal, 37(3), 12. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ752857) Retrieved January 31, 2008, from ERIC database. O'Brien, C. (2007, September 1). Peer Devaluation in British Secondary Schools: Young People's Comparisons of Group-Based and Individual-Based Bullying. Educational Research, 49(3), 297. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ773356) Retrieved January 31, 2008, from ERIC database. Slee, P., & Mohyla, J. (2007, June 1). The Peace Pack: An Evaluation of Interventions to Reduce Bullying in Four Australian Primary Schools. Educational Research, 49(2), 103. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ763432) Retrieved January 31, 2008, from ERIC database. Solberg, M., Olweus, D., & Endresen, I. (2007, June 1). Bullies and Victims at School: Are They the Same Pupils?. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77(2), 441. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ766808) Retrieved January 31, 2008, from ERIC database. Wagner, Cynthia G. "Games to help kids deal with bullies." The Futurist 39.5 (Sept-Oct 2005): 16(2). General OneFile. Gale. Ithaca College Library. 29 Jan. 2008 <http://find.galegroup.com/itx/start.do?prodId=ITOF>.
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