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ERIC Number: EJ1002449
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1784
Joining Hands against Bullying
Weissbourd, Richard; Jones, Stephanie
Educational Leadership, v70 n2 p26-31 Oct 2012
Over the last 20 years, high-profile episodes of bullying have stirred up broad public alarm. This attention may appear to be merely trendy, but it's important. Bullying--commonly defined as systematic exclusion, aggression, or harassment that one child or a group of children inflicts on less powerful children--is pervasive in schools. Many schools across the United States are now focused on reducing bullying. These efforts have tended to take two forms: Traditionally, schools have focused on punishing perpetrators; more recently, attention has shifted toward emboldening students who are bystanders to become "upstanders"--that is, to stand up for those being bullied. But these approaches only go so far. Rather than asking students to fight against the tide, adults need to find ways to shift the tide itself, to create more caring schools. Research shows that bullying is far less likely to take root in school cultures where caring and responsibility for others are the norm, where students see the entire school community as within their circle of concern and influence, and where large numbers of students model positive behavior for other students. However, empowering students to change social norms does "not" get adults off the hook. In fact, it makes adults' roles more challenging. Rather than only punishing or providing information, adults need to engage in the complex choreography of leading and following. They need, for example, to know how to best capitalize on the key roles of students who are perceived as leaders while making sure that multiple voices in the student community are heard. They need to know how to convey high ethical expectations and ensure that students use their power maturely. Finally, school adults need to know when to assert or relinquish their authority. The good news is that three strategies--especially when enacted in combination--stand a real chance of transforming social norms: (1) Whole school community approaches; (2) Student leadership and governance; and (3) Fostering activism. These student-led changes are only possible if adults play a different role. In the most effective school communities, adults are good listeners and facilitators who insist on fundamental values, such as honesty, caring, respect for differences, and justice. The work of school adults is not to create these values with students but to envision with students how these values can live and breathe in every aspect of a community and then join students in delivering on this vision. (Contains 1 endnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A