This podcast is a recording of a presentation by Dr. Allan L. Beane at the Safe and Healthy Schools conference in Oklahoma City on October 29, 2007. The official program description of this session was: This session includes a quick review of the nature of bullying and the rationale for preventing and stopping it. It also includes an examination of the components of an effective, antibullying program, practical and effective reearch-based strategies, activities, and curriculum. Participants will learn how to create classrooms and schools where all students feel safe and have a sense of belonging.

mp3 podcast

SHOWNOTES:

  1. My text notes from this session (on wikispaces)
  2. Bullyfree.com (Dr. Beane’s website)

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On this day..

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  • http://www.stager.org Gary Stager

    I suspect that it will be impossible to curtail school-based bullying as long as the entire school structure is based on the bipolar pairs of success/failure or winners/losers. Grades, class rank, pull-out programs (both G&T and remediation), AP classes and other forms of ranking and sorting students are forms of institutional bullying.

    Creating an adversarial system where teacher “success” or even pay is tied to student performance and the stage is set for teacher-on=student bullying.

    On the more practical level, school administrators must be held accountable for the actions of the teachers and students in their school during school hours and while commuting to/from school. Way too many (in my experience) shrug these assaults off with a “boys will be boys” type of attitude? What do administrators do when teachers or other administrators make a child cry?

  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    I agree with the idea that we all need to take responsibility for addressing bullying in proactive ways. One of my concerns about the prescriptions offered by Dr. Beane is that he’s advocating for MORE structure, more adult supervision, less opportunities for students to have any autonomy or freedom in school. The stories he told are really heart wrenching. I also agree that the current, coercive paradigm of schools is not generally supportive (especially at secondary levels) of the type of relationship building which is essential to address bullying issues and others. Still, amidst this challenging culture, there are very constructive things individual teachers and administrators can do to make a difference in the lives of kids. Letting kids understand that we really do care, that they can “tell us” when they are facing a bullying situation, that we’ll take actions which will help rather than make the situation worse, are all things we can do.

  • Allison Fishbein

    I found this discussion interesting because the root of this extreme power that children have in a school shooting situation is often overlooked. While schools focus on installing state of the art security systems, zero tolerance policies, and issues of gun control are of utmost importance, the base of the problem, intra-student bullying, is breezed over.

    At the college level I have even seen this take place, which is especially rare, in my opinion, for attending a large, public, state university in which people typically keep to themselves and their own friendship circles. Within certain forced friendship circles such as my own athletic team, I have seen hurtful Facebook “groups” made, targeted toward specific people that are often also the topic of direct bullying. And just as Dr. Beane pointed out, the creators of these groups are often good people, and in my opinion, some of the best, most caring people I know.

    This is confusing to me. There must be a reason that one of the most charismatic people I have ever known in my life is, herself, a bully from time to time. Why is it that we are not taught the severity of our actions? Is this really a fault of education or one of human nature?

    Here is another question I would like to propose. Why is it that today’s schools are much more sensitive toward student behavior (in that there are many more efforts made today in terms of equality among students, speaking in a politically correct manner, etc. than in the past), yet the severity and frequency of violence seems to be increasing? Are people becoming more creative, and with this, crueler?

  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    You raise some great questions here Allison, and I don’t have answers. I’m inclined to think that people are just a cruel as well as good-hearted as ever, but the technology tools which are now available perhaps make some behaviors more visible. In terms of why people are not taught the severity of their actions, I think that is part of what an anti-bullying program at a school aims to do. Students DO need to understand just how powerful words can be, along with physical abuse, to destroy, maim and scar. I think the importance of learning to respect others and work successfully with diverse individuals is an extremely important educational goal, and one that seems to be entirely missing in the agenda of many legislators who continue to support an oppressive focus on high stakes, punitive testing.

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