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Child, Adolescent & Family Therapist, Youth in Need

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How can we help to prevent bullying?

As a society that revels in TV series such as Honey Boo Boo, Jersey Shore and other "Reality" TV shows, how are we supposed to stop bullying within schools?

If we preach what to do or what not to do when confronted by bullying behaviors, but never follow through with consequences, how can we expect our students to continue to have faith in the faculty's true want to get rid of bullying.

How can we expect our children to stop bullying if we, as grown ups, are watching these shows.... making fun of the people on them, judging them, calling them names?

How can we change the structure of learning to help increase education, not only in the academic sense, but also in the sense of what it means to be a human being?

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  • Mar 20 2013: I was principal of an elementary school for twenty years and we worked diligently to eliminate violence, bullying being one aspect and we were able to achieve what we wanted with few exceptions. This is a program that has to suffuse the entire school. We simply changed the value systems and the related behavior beginning in indergarten and had the parents support as well.

    We celebrated learning by havign parties for classes that attained a number of bonus points. Rituals are important in all societies...We celebrate many rites of passage in families. The classroom is akin to a family and the individuals members have to understand that their actions can help or hurt their classroom family. All of this is expained to the children. One teacher even had a "caught being kind" program where children reported back to her the actions of fellow students who had been kind to another during recess.

    If any class earned 100 points they had a party to celebrate and reward their success. We gave points for acts of kindness as well as student success in all school procedures including most situations that contributed to a calm and positive environment. Goodness was extolled.

    However, as every good teacher knows, in additon to recognition and rewards changinh behavior and eliminating disruptions requires consequences. Bonus points were taken away for disruptive behavior when a student misbehaved and took away the rights of the other students to have an education including bullying. The values of the studnets changed and they no longer encouraged or regarded the bully with awe. Students discouraged and disapproved fo negative behaviors. This disapproval combined with the taking away of points was extremely effective. Fear a nd bullying were no longer a part of our school. Children clearly understood the behaviors that were rewarded and those that had consequences. If there was violence, we had a shredding. All bonus points were destroye
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      Mar 20 2013: I LOVE the story about your experience Lorraine, and your reference to the classroom being the extended family.

      I also LOVE the idea of focusing on kindness and the GOOD things kids are doing in their classroom family. What we focus on expands! We discovered similar results with the incarcerated guys in "cognitive self change" sessions. We encouraged practicing more kind, respectful behaviors, and praised them for those behaviors often. They began to perceive that kind and respectful behaviors got a different kind of attention, which was more enjoyable AND, they didn't get sent to solitary as often! They started consciously thinking about their words and behaviors and how it impacted their lives. Prior to that, they focused on the idea that it was someone elses fault that they were in jail....someone elses fault that they were sent to solitary....etc.

      Kudos to you Lorraine! If this idea is possible in some places, which I firmly believe it is, it is possible throughout our global community......I LOVE IT!!!

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