The Global Search for Education (GSE) is a regular contributor to the Edmodo Blog. Authored by C.M. Rubin, GSE brings together distinguished thought leaders in education and innovation from around the world to explore the key learning issues faced by today’s nations. Look for a new post every Friday and join the Global Search for Education Community on Edmodo to share your perspectives with their editorial staff.
Dr. Tracey C. Burns is a Project Leader at the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, Directorate for Education and Skills in Paris (@OECD_Edu). She is considered a global expert on the subject of bullying. She notes ,“there is a huge amount of political attention being paid to the issue,” and summarizes this serious global problem as follows:
- In terms of prevalence, the bottom line is that it appears that traditional forms of bullying are remaining steady in terms of frequency while cyber bullying is increasing, although it is still not as common as face to face bullying.
- Bullies, motivated to enhance their status among their peers, bully in front of witnesses, whose approval (or at least tacit silence) is crucial. They tend to choose their victims from those who sit in the bottom line of the social ledger, those least able to fight back. And it works, both to raise the popularity of the bully and to hurt the victim.
- There are several commonly accepted myths about the causes of bullying for which there is no supporting evidence. These include claims that bullying stems from large class or school sizes, competition for grades, or other school life pressures. Another common assumption is that bullies suffer from poor self-esteem and insecurity.
What can be done? We asked our Top 12 Global Teacher Bloggers to share their answers to this question: What are several real ways you have seen bullying reduced?
- James Alan Sturtevant (@jamessturtevant) (referred by Top 12 Global Blogger Todd Finley – @finleyt), Social Studies teacher at Big Walnut High School in Sunbury, Ohio, and Author of You’ve Gotta Connect, makes the bold recommendation that reaching out to bullies can sometimes be as important as punishment. In his words, “Harsh consequences don’t always work, can make bullies worse, and sometimes evoke retribution for unfortunate victims.” Reaching out does not mean excusing, but remaining in stealth dialogue to foster potential positive influence. More from James
- Pauline Hawkins (@PaulineDHawkins), author of Uncommon Core: 25 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in a Cookie Cutter Educational System, says the only way to reduce bullying is to be a good role model in your treatment of others, as a parent or teacher. She cautions, “The anti-bullying programs in schools will have little influence on students if the adults in their lives are not teaching and modeling respect.” More from Pauline
- Adam Steiner (@steineredtech) dispels myths about cyberbullying and provides much needed pragmatic advice to school administrators. One of many gems is that no school, no matter how genial it is in real life, is exempt from online bullying. More from Adam
- Lisa Currie (@RippleKindness), located in Australia and creator of the Ripple Kindness Project, provided two insightful perspectives:
- Social and emotional learning must be emphasized in schools to reduce bullying. Rather than merely blaming the bully, other factors must be looked into, such as a lack of character-building education. More from Lisa
- Further understand the benefit of emotional learning by looking at studies that show how the practice of kindness not only produces joy but also reduces bullying in schools. More from Lisa
- Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) uses personal experience to give surefire ways to nip bullying in the bud. One of her advisements is to form allies with peers. Her real world advice is a must for concerned students. More from Vicki
- Craig Kemp (@mrkempnz) from New Zealand offers three tools that parents and administrators will find very assuring in combating bullying. One is creating a culture of trust from the top down, another is educating parents. He provides useful tips for how to get started in this process. More from Craig
A special thanks to Dr. Tracey Burns at the OECD in Paris. For more information, read her Combatting bullying in schools blog post and download her Trends Shaping Education 2014 Spotlight white paper.
C.M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, is the publisher of CMRubinWorld, and is a Disruptor Foundation Fellow.
(Lead photograph featuring TJ Coates and Dorali Arambula with James Alan Sturtevant is courtesy of Caroline Prater)