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Slide 1 - NURTURING POSITIVE POWER:An Antidote to Bullying Lorna Martin lormartin@gov.mb.ca
Slide 2 - What do we know about the Positive Power? Contagious Relieves stress Self-fulfilling Cost-effective Supports an equal power base Can be learned at all ages and stages
Slide 3 - What do we know about Bullying? Bullying involves unequal power and is anti-social Bullying and victimization do not occur in isolation Interventions with the bully and/or victim are necessary but not sufficient for change Bullying is societal and learned Change must be societal, systemic to be effective
Slide 4 - What do we know about school safety? Schools have critical incident plans, tragic event protocols, and codes of conduct to assist them when safety is a concern Two rare tragedies (Columbine and Taber) have heightened awareness Schools have strict supervision regimens, causing the classroom to remain one of the safest places for children and youth
Slide 5 - Mixed Messages on Violence Children and youth are bombarded by examples of violence and aggression that lead to success, status, and problem solving: Politicians Media TV, movies, video games War Role-play games Gangs
Slide 6 - Mixed Messages on Violence Although families are increasingly distressed by: Violent language and explicit violent acts on television, movies, video games Possible ‘desensitization’ of young people (and themselves) to acts that may lead to self-harm or harm to others; diminished empathy for others Increased reports of gang-related activity There does not seem to be a concerted effort to reduce the stressors.
Slide 7 - Changing Views on Violence Society no longer tolerates domestic violence and is beginning to have the same lack of tolerance for violence in communities Media accounts of societal violence and crime cause a perception of increasing danger. Statistically, crime rates have decreased and levels of violence in society are stable. The school is part of a larger community and its students reflect the parents and community in their beliefs, attitudes and actions.
Slide 8 - What do we know about Bullying Events? Most bullying incidents occur Immediately prior to school or after school In situations without supervision Bullying can be direct or indirect: Direct: face to face confrontation Indirect: shunning, gossiping, malicious damage to reputation or friends
Slide 9 - Defining Bullying Bullying is a form of aggression in which there is an imbalance of power between the bully and the victim. The key elements include: Power imbalance Bully’s intent to harm Victim’s distress Repeated over time (Peplar & Craig, 1988)
Slide 10 - Bullying versus Hostility When children and youth interact negatively, the result is not necessarily bullying. For example, One-time only name-calling, teasing, fighting, and gossiping are name-calling, teasing, fighting, and gossiping (not bullying). When the negativity includes a power imbalance and occurs repeatedly, bullying is considered.
Slide 11 - The spectrum of anti-social behaviours
Slide 12 - Bullying and Human Development Young children who bully tend to engage in: Pushing, shoving, calling names, teasing, isolating Adolescents who bully tend to engage in: Harassing, attacking in groups or through peers, using sexual comments/gestures, fighting, threatening/intimidating, using internet messaging to gossip, dating violence, emotional blackmail Adults who bully tend to engage in: Assault, domestic violence, child abuse, workplace harassment, senior abuse, social aggression
Slide 13 - Extent of Bullying – the Negatives Worldwide phenomenon Approximately 15% of school-aged children and youth are either bullied or initiate bullying (Olweus, 1993) [9% victims/7% bullies]
Slide 14 - Extent of Bullying – the Positives Worldwide attention to bullying has provided many programs, strategies, and protocols for reducing anti-social behaviours Approximately 85% of school-aged children and youth are neither bullied nor initiate bullying (Olweus, 1993)
Slide 15 - The Context of Bullying Three-tiered model of school discipline and violence prevention TOTAL POPULATION AT-RISK STUDENTS: EARLY IDENTIFICATION & INTERVENTION DISRUPTIVE STUDENTS: EFFECTIVE RESPONSES TO DISRUPTION Skiba, Rausch & Ritter(2004)
Slide 16 - Nurturing the Positives With such an overwhelming number of students with positive behaviours and attitudes, schools: Create safe and caring environments Offer skill sessions on conflict resolution, friendship, mediation, social responsibility within daily activities and curricular outcomes Create opportunities for peer assistants, volunteerism Provide interventions for students having difficulties in pro-social skills
Slide 17 - Where Bullies Flourish Places with: Minimal supervision of activities Harsh punishments for rule infractions Little or no acknowledgement of positive behaviour Little or no affection or trust Weak or aggressive communication; problem solving through power, aggression, threat or intimidation High employee turnover and absentee rates Communities with little police or adult presence
Slide 18 - Where Bullies Flounder Places with: Logical consequences related to actions Consistent, reasonable rules and discipline Discretion; the ability to learn from mistakes Warm and accepting social climate Caring and supportive adults and young people Observable, appropriate, affectionate parental behaviour Open discussion to solve problems Adult supervision Gradual increase of responsibility based on behaviour
Slide 19 - Positive Signs – the Role of the Family Parents are becoming involved in school planning and decision making Families are taking advantage of recreational and educational opportunities in the community Parents are volunteering at schools and becoming involved with their students Parents are attending parent sessions and parent-teacher interviews
Slide 20 - Positive Signs – the Role of the School Schools are addressing school climate in their annual and divisional planning School counsellors, social workers, school psychologists, resource teachers, classroom teachers and administrators are working as planning teams to address individual cases School codes of conduct are being revised in light of safe schools legislation and the need for discretion Crisis intervention plans and threat assessment protocols have been developed in preparation for unforeseen events that include violence Parent education sessions are available
Slide 21 - Preventing Violence BEGIN HERE… To reduce and prevent violence… NOT HERE!
Slide 22 - Victim Warning Signs MANY VICTIMS: Moody, sullen, withdrawn Depressed Lose interest in school or group activities Lose appetite and have difficulty sleeping Torn clothing, unexplained bruises Refuse to attend school, group activities or specific location Want to carry protection
Slide 23 - Bully Warning Signs MANY BULLIES: Few long term friends Angry, aggressive, avoidant, anti-social Unkind to animals, to self, to others Bruised/scraped knuckles, broken school equipment School and sports equipment used as weapon Secretive online messaging Lack empathy, responsibility, habitually blame Sense of urgency for control/domination Engage in violent role-play games Have been bullied
Slide 24 - Bystander Warning Signs Witnesses to bullying tend to: Accelerate violent behaviour by creating an audience when the bullying is physical Accelerate the bullying by gossiping when the bullying is emotional Circle the ‘action’ and support the bully Avoid reporting the incident Exaggerate events or downplay events
Slide 25 - Reducing Bullying KEY: Do not ignore bullying. It is not a “phase”. Schools, communities and families work together to create opportunities for change. School counsellors, psychologists and social workers are trained in addressing the needs of victims, bystanders and perpetrators. Teachers are trained in anti-bullying programs and responding to incidents. Safe School Student Committees Safe Community Parent Groups
Slide 26 - Building Resilient School Environments School-based programs: Positive Behaviour Support Virtues Project RespectEd Second Step Lion’s Quest Conflict Resolution Peer Assistants Conflict Managers School-based services: Teacher intervention Administrative intervention Guidance Counselling Referrals School-based Protocols: Code of conduct Threat assessment procedures Emergency preparedness procedures Counselling pre- and post-suspension Administrative discretion Attendance policies In-school alternatives to suspension
Slide 27 - Nurturing Positive Power in School Settings Prevention Anger management sessions Conflict resolution in practice Interactive role modelling of pro-social behaviours Discipline Consistency and fairness (heightened security, zero tolerance and punitive discipline are not effective in deterring violence – punishment alone does not change behaviour and can increase misbehaviour – suspensions weaken students’ connections to schools and worsen academic performance)
Slide 28 - Nurturing Positive Power in School Settings Environmental Strategies Respectful behaviour is modelled and expected High levels of caring and academic expectations Teachers know students individually Students actively engaged academically Pro-social approaches to teaching and learning Co-operative education practices Good extracurricular activities Recognition and respect for student’s diverse backgrounds Mentoring, monitoring, follow-up Bullying incidents are addressed swiftly
Slide 29 - Nurturing Positive Power in Community Settings Community policing Citizens on patrol Block parents Home/School liaisons Youth Justice Committee Volunteer program Youth centre/drop in centre Continuing education/parenting courses Non-competitive recreation opportunities Supervised recreation facilities Safe shelters
Slide 30 - Nurturing Positive Power at Home Open dialogue; pro-social skill development Caring supervision balanced with sense of privacy Appropriate consequences for misbehaviour Discretion Sense of belongingness Autonomy for age/stage appropriate decision-making Recognition for individual differences and strengths
Slide 31 - RECAPPING Bullying begins with anti-social behaviours such as discourtesy, disrespect and lack of empathy Bullying is learned and can be unlearned Bullying is negative power-related and can therefore be reduced or eliminated through systemic support for positive power Any form of bullying or violent behaviour is distressing. Fortunately, incidents are few and schools have programs, protocols, and trained personnel in place to address issues and concerns. Together, communities, families and schools can make the world a safer, kinder place.