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ERIC Number: EJ1001160
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jul
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
Tough Talk as an Antidote to Bullying
Miller, Donna L.
English Journal, v101 n6 p30-36 Jul 2012
Locker rooms, hallways, and other school locales not populated by teachers are often places where bullies emerge, places where the pecking order is established by targeting any difference or idiosyncrasy. Given that bullying happens mostly in the presence of other youth and often stops when objections are raised, there is growing evidence that some form of peer mediation is the best approach to solving the problem. When confronted by bullies, the victims--who tend to be physically weaker than their peers and who are typically anxious, insecure, cautious, and suffer from low self-esteem--rarely defend themselves (Batsche and Knoff; Olweus). They require bystander assistance or peer intervention. Research from both Ken Rigby and Gianluca Gini revealed that beyond elementary school, parental and teacher expectations had little influence on how youth, especially boys, treat peers. Rigby further reported that a large proportion of students saw teachers as an "irrelevant force" in how students interact with one another. If parental and teacher influence are of secondary nature and if direct communication of expectations regarding bullying behaviors is likely to have little effect on how students interact, schools need to look beyond the assembly style lessons often employed. One possible transmission vehicle for this inculcation is young adult literature (YAL). Programs to counter bullying can include the reading of provocative texts, texts that engage students in tough talk and provide alternative methods of interaction. By facilitating student discussion and drawing attention to the role bystanders can play, selected young adult books can directly influence potential intervention behavior. The goal is to affect behavior and ultimately produce thoughtful, ethical people--a significant goal that can be fostered by using books and employing key discussion strategies. This article discusses one novel in depth and provides two specific strategies for tackling tough discussions in class. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A