Saturday, September 6, 2008

School bullying - Meline Kevorkian's and Dan Olweus' observations

The KNBC (Los Angeles television) web site posted an article that was sourced from Dr. Meline Kevorkian's book, 101 Facts About Bullying: What Everyone Should Know. Here are a couple of items from the article:

"We should not tell students to fight back against bullies. The cycle of bullying and victimization is reinforced when the victim responds aggressively. Mediation between the bully and victim is not possible; in a true case of bullying, putting them together to work out their problems would simply revictimize the victim....

"The popular kids are very likely to use their popularity in a negative way. They will use their status within the group to humiliate others. And because they tend to be psychologically stronger than their peers, they use that ability to control others. Bullies can enjoy a high social status."

More here.

At her website, Kevorkian offers some tips:

Focus on the school climate and involve all stakeholders

Assess bullying and share findings to gain "buy in"

Increase supervision and incorporate bullying prevention in the curriculum

Formulate rules, policies, advisory committees and training

Be consistent with intervention and consequences

Regularly evaluate progress

And, according to Kevorkian, what do educators say?

70% of educators were interested in receiving more professional development on bullying prevention

88% agreed that educators play a large role in bullying prevention

92% agreed that bullying is linked to bullying violence

64% agreed that bullying in their school negatively impacted academic achievement.

But Dr. Melina Kevorkian is not the only one studying this. Dan Olweus, a psychology professor at Norway's University of Bergen noted the following:

THE MYTH: Bullies are looking for attention. Ignore them and the bullying will stop.

THE RESEARCH: Bullies are looking for control, and they rarely stop if their behavior is ignored. The level of bullying usually increases if the bullying is not addressed by adults....

"Teachers' attitudes, behaviors, and routines," Olweus said, "play a large role in the prevalence of bullying behavior." Bullying is a problem that schools can -- and must -- control.

More here.


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