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Must-Know Bully Prevention Interventions for Schools and Teachers
Bullying is in the news now. This is a good time for you to be sure to update your skills so that you can maximize student safety at your school. This article can help because it explains why contemporary bullying prevention methods seem to routinely fail with bullies, and why nothing seems to work to rein in some of your most aggressive bullies.
I work as a workshop trainer, so I always get to hear from semianr participants their views on what causes school violence. When I ask them to to identify the top cause of school shootings, bullying is usually named. There is no doubt that bullying is a huge problem in nearly any setting, but you won't be able to stop or moderate bullying by focusing on that issue alone. When teachers primarily on bullying, it may be a bit like seeing the forest but not the trees. Here is a completely different way of viewing and addressing bullying, one that you may find far
more effective than conventional approaches that focus on the symptom of bullying while overlooking the factors that cause and sustain it.
If you work as a teacher, counselor, principal, social worker, teaching assistant, or psychologist, try this true-false quiz to test your skills using updated methods to prevent or manage bullying. You may surprised to discover how often conventional approaches really don't work, and many educators and mental health professionals may rely on out-of-date tools. What you learn from taking this quiz, may help you better provide safety to both bullied students, and everyone else at your school.
TRUE OF FALSE?
It's a good idea to use character education approaches with bullies.
While character education has some merit, these methods always fail with about 11-14% of youngsters. Character ed approaches always fail with conduct disordered youth. These youngsters lack a conscience or remorse, so character ed simply won't work since those methods require that the youth be able to care and have compassion.
Since conduct disorders are by far the most misbehaved students of all, they are often your students who are your bullies. This explains why conventional approaches almost never reduce bullying. For better results, use only methods created especially to work with conduct disorders.
TRUE OR FALSE?
Bullying is the primary cause of school shootings.
The media loves simple, black and white explanations, and this very simplistic sound bite is just not accurate. While some school shooters were partially motivated by being bullied, to zero
in on just the bullying misses the point-- and misses the point on how to prevent an incident. A more accurate way to see these youngsters who shoot, is to notice that they tend to be clinically depressed, and that in addition to the bullying that they may endure, they are very sad and extremely frustrated. Better than viewing them as worn down by bullying, it is far more accurate to view them as worn down by many things. This distinction is critical because it doesn't require an act of bullying to set this child off. Like a pressure cooker, this student is building up to blow. Certainly bullying could be the thing that causes the blow up, but it could be any event that lights the fuse. When you watch out for seriously depressed youth (who may be bullied, or not at all) can you more readily identify the youth who could some day explode.
TRUE OR FALSE?
Keep the focus on the bullying when you teach bullying prevention
While it is fine to focus directly on the bullying, if you stop there, you'll definitely be very unhappy with the results you get. In addition to conveying that bullying is wrong, there has to
be a greater focus on teaching the skills students need to behave differently. Also, you need to modify the skills of not just the bully, but also the bullied students. Normally, we do not necessarily provide specific skill instruction to all three of those groups. The bullying peer needs to learn new peer interaction skills, but so do the victims and bystanders. If you focus on only one or two of those groups, you may not get the results you sought. Teaching skills means that you creatively and effectively show students the exact skills that they need to be different. Here's one example: you can teach the bully new "Opening Lines" to use when initiating peer contact, while aiding the youngster to stop threatening, and instead say something less vicious.
The education world tends to move in fads, and to gravitate towards simple answers. Unfortunately, human beings are complex creatures, and we don't all work the same. That is why simple one-size-fits-all methods like character ed can't be the solution for all your students any more than one textbook could ever be the solution for all your students. Since conduct disordered bullies are often fairly smart or at least clever, they do tend to exploit any weaknesses that exist. When you rely on a technique that appears irrelevant to them, they may "play the game," and say all the right things-- while plotting how to be a better bully next time, and to maybe even avoid getting caught. Until educators are exposed to the different techniques that must be used for different types of youngsters, bullying will remain a serious concern. Mental health professionals, juvenile corrections staff, and juvenile court workers are all trained to use targeted methods with each type of youngster, and that is why the members of these disciplines can achieve faster, better, and more long-lasting results modifying and preventing the behavior of bullies. It is long past time that educators are offered comparable training.
If you didn't know the answers to these True/False questions, find thousands of articles, interventions, tutorials and strategies at Youth Change Workshop's teacher professional development resource website; click here. Since this type of practical help isn't included in most teachers' college preparation, updating your skills with bullies will be an important task to do in order to best ensure the safety of your students in your school and classroom.