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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Bullying

28 Replies 1185 Views
I am a mom, a full-time student, and author of a blog called Kindergarten Bullies. I started the blog because my daughter, in pre-K, came home telling a story about her peers actively excluding a girl in her class. She had mentioned other incidents before. I started researching bullying in kindergarten. It turns out from the studies I have found that its prevalence is similar to later grades. This shocked me although, I remember being bullied in kindergarten. I write the blog to increase awareness about bullying, but specifically about bullying in kindergarten. I have a lot of opinions, some not alaways popular. The reason I post here is I would like to hear from educators of smaller children what their response is to bullying. How do they handle it? Is it a problem in the classroom? Or grades 1-3 do you feel some behaviors could be changed if there was increased priming and focus on social learning at early ages. I would love to hear from you. I will not share your information on my blog, unless you say it is alright. I only mentioned it in the interest of full disclosure. I would like to know for my own interest what your experiences are. Thanks for reading and responding! I know teaching is incredibly hard and I thank you for all you do!

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Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.
Facilitator 2014

Beth, thanks for the post. A very interesting topic indeed. I've been teaching for ten years and each year I see an increase in the lack of social skills. WHy? Well, fist and foremost, the amount of "stuff" that needs (I say needs because it is coming from the higher ups who have never stepped in a classroom.) to be done increases, eating up all of the time. yes, there are some teachers like me who can weave curriculum and social skills together pretty darn good, but it is rare. It's either you have a socially intelligent class lacking academic skills or a academically strong class with no connection at all. Both weaknesses lead to a dangerous society. You can blame it on poor parenting, teacher ineffectiveness, hollow administration, the list goes on.

There's no one way to fix it. I think it has to be handled in the classroom and at home consistently and persistently according to the human beings in the class. The kids will determine what action and preventative measures need to be in place. And it's not making a zillion rules in the classroom, either. I have one rule in my class: "Think, then make a good decision." No consequences. The consequence will fit the violation if I need to enforce the law. I like this one too: "Work hard, be kind."

Gaetan

Bob Sullo's picture
Bob Sullo
author, educational consultant

Bullying is such an emotionally-laden topic because its very nature is so distasteful. I developed a workshop entitled "We Don't Have Bullies Here" that helps develop a culture that diminishes bullying behavior. One important and helpful issue for me is to remember that all behavior (even irresponsible behavior) like bullying is purposeful, engaged in to satisfy basic human needs. A second issue is the notion that everyone is doing the best they can. Yes....that includes the bullies. Maintaining this mindset allows me to remain in the role of teacher rather than settling for the role of enforcer. My role is to teach children with inadequately developed skills how to meet their needs responsibly without resorting to harmful behaviors like bullying. When we create environments (school, classroom, home, community) where kids can get what they need without bullying, it virtually disappears. (If you want a bit more information about the session I offer, go to the "presentations" page of my website: www.internalmotivation.net I hope this helps.....

Joel Moss's picture

We try to educate the children on what bulling is physically,verbally and socially. We try to make them aware it is not to be tolerated and steps they should take if they are bullied or witnesses to bullying in their school.We work on the difference between tattling and telling and try to support anyone who experiences bulling in any way.
It has become more difficult with the technological onset of cyberbulling and the world of text messaging.
WE are also hampered by a test crazy school culture which never gives our kindergarten children a chance to socialize and learn social skills,before worrying about their writing and reading skills.
Thank you for providing a much needed outlet to share ideas on this very important topic.

Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.
Facilitator 2014

I've also seen a downward spiral of parents trusting teachers and the kids (talkin' third graders) know it. When I went to school (Never thought I would hear myself say this) it was, "What did you do to the teacher?" Now it's, "What did the teacher do to you?" All eyes are on teachers right now and Hegemonic demons are rubbing their hands and licking their lips.

Joel Moss's picture

[quote]I've also seen a downward spiral of parents trusting teachers and the kids (talkin' third graders) know it. When I went to school (Never thought I would hear myself say this) it was, "What did you do to the teacher?" Now it's, "What did the teacher do to you?" All eyes are on teachers right now and Hegemonic demons are rubbing their hands and licking their lips.[/quote]

Joel Moss's picture

I am sorry to say ,Gaetan is correct. The respect once accorded a teacher no longer exists.The parents,in many cases,believe their children,even if they are six years old,over that of the teacher. Sadly in some cases so do the administrators.

Bob Sullo's picture
Bob Sullo
author, educational consultant

I am troubled by the direction this conversation is taking. While it is filled with truths, building bridges between educators and parents will do nothing to effectively address the problem of bullying. We need to build connections and relationships with parents, not vent our righteous indignation.

I also think that many of these aggressive, unsupported parents have been victims of bullying themselves. We often psychologically bully parents, creating an unproductive environment. And many of these people are bullied at work or elsewhere in their lives. As "wrong" as it is, they "take it out" on us because education is an easy target. My goal is to understand, get past the anger and misunderstanding, and build a positive relationship so we can help kids.

Without revealing too much about my age and Woodstock orientation.....can't we all just get along?

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