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Educators

Bullying


WHAT CAN SCHOOLS DO ABOUT BULLYING?

The program should include the following:

·Awareness and involvement on the part of adults with regard to bully-victim problems

·A survey of bully/victim problems at the start of the implementation

·A school conference day devoted to bully/victim problems

·Better supervision during recess and lunch hour by adults

·Consistent and immediate consequences for aggressive behaviour

·Generous praise for pro-social and helpful behaviour by students

·Specific class rules against bullying

·Class meetings about bullying

·Serious individual talks with bullies and with victims

·Serious talks with parents of bullies and victims

·A meeting of the school parent-teacher (home and school) organization on the topic of bullying

Source: Olweus, Norwegian expert on anti-bullying

Olweus also recommends implementation of some co-operative learning activities in the school, teaching of social skills and formation of a council of teachers and administrators to take the lead in implementation.

With regard to the school conference day, Olweus recommends including teachers, administrators, parents, and some students, as well as staff such as school psychologists, nurses, and other support staff. He suggests that the participants be given readings on bullying in advance, and that a video on bullying be shown. Discussion on what needs to be done at the school can be held. The purpose of the meeting is to create awareness of and a collective commitment to reducing bullying at school. While more research is needed, especially with regard to implementation challenges, these are the most carefully evaluated and effective violence prevention programs we have encountered.

Additional, helpful suggestions, are provided by Pepler and Craig (1993) who have done considerable research about bullying and aggression at school. These researchers also evaluated the implementation of an anti-bullying program in four Toronto Board of Education schools, which was adapted from the Olweus Norwegian model. Pepler and Craig suggest a number of measures including the following:

·Develop a curriculum which promotes communication, friendship, and assertive skills.

·Improve communication among school administrators, teachers, parents and students

·Listen respectfully to bullying concerns raised by students, parents, and school staff.

·Avoid sex-role stereotyping (e.g. males need to be strong and tough).

·Avoid emphasis on competitiveness at school.

·Enlist classmates to help alleviate the plight of victims and include them in group activities.



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