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TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES:

Is it better to receive information or to be informed?

SCENARIOS OF BULLYING EVENT::
  • Direct bullying
CAUSES OF BULLYING EVENT::
  • Non-especific
FACTUAL DESCRIPTION OF THE BULLYING EVENT:

During the first teachers' meeting, held in September, teachers of the class 1AITI have complained about a situation of discomfort within the group class, noting problems related to bullying. Specifically, you have the presence of a growing group of students that disturbs the lessons, thereby preventing the regular sequence of topics and a serene and peaceful school climate, creating problems between teachers and mates.
• The main actors involved:
A group of students of the 1AITI class (the Group of perpetrators)
A group of students of the 1AITI class (the victims)
Class teachers
Parents of students
The School Director
Psychologist dello sportello CIC
The psychologist
The type of acts of bullying implemented. They:
1. disturbed preventing the smooth conduct of lessons by teachers
2. prevented the mates from following serenely the lessons
3. involved and collected other "perpetrators" and an increasing number of schoolmates who attended the same class of the group of "victims"
4. showed rude and unrespectful attitudes towards teachers
5. stole money, snacks, pen drive to the mates of the "group affected"
The amount of time
The "provocative" group, for the whole quarter of the year, had a behavior of impatience towards the lessons, teachers and classmates of the group of the victims.

RESPONSE IMPLEMENTED:

in front of this situation, the teachers first individually and then cooperating their point of view, have tried to find and adopt various strategies, so that they could identify a meeting point with the group of "perpetrators" and at the same time to improve the climate of the class and the relationships between the group "perpetrators" and "victims". for this reason various teachers have adopted different strategies for tackling the problem, for example: continuous tests without informing students previously, do push-ups in class (not in the hour of physical education), notes for bad behavior but not suspensions, or bad marks due to a lack of application of the student, etc. Individual measures of various teachers have had little success, so the class Coordinator has requested an exceptional meeting with the presence of the headmaster, students and parents, so that you could find solutions to solve problems related to the class. It is thought to intervene periodically on the class through various meetings of parents and students, so as to keep monitored the situation.
the intervention of the Carabinieri in class was thought to be necessary to convey to students the rules of good citizenship, and make them understand what sanctions might incur if they do not comply with these standards.

IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION:

Due to a lack of study, and the continuous noise during the lessons caused by the group "perpetrators" in the class there is a strong presence of bad marks both for negative profit and for improper conduct.
Student motivation
According to the disturbing group of students, it isn't important to devote time to the study because in life the most important values that can help people make a good career are recommendations and the knowledge of specific people.
Student results (focusing not only on the bully and the victim, but also bystanders)
Despite the high average level of intelligence, the students results are insufficient and the number of students of the group of "victims" involved increases.
The issue of school integration
The Group of students of the group "perpetrators" refuses to interact both with fellow victims "group" and with the teachers of the class.
Active citizenship
In the class there are two groups: students of the group "bullies" who disturb (steal money, usb, snacks to others) and students of the group "victims" (who accept passively these attitudes). The group "victims" is always less and has less strength to rebel for the own rights, and they are not able to quietly follow the lessons.
School environment (eg. Inclusion, democracy, security, etc..)
The two groups clash constantly, in fact the group "perpetrators" disturbs and marginalizes the victims "group".
There is no democracy because it is the law of the strong that prevails. The class is always very dirty because they throw objects even against teachers and didactic tools such as destroying computers, etc..

POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM:

Lack of confidence in the school performance. In the future the victim does not see the possibility of working and personal fulfilment.
They were informed of the related problems by the School Director, parents, one psychologist.
It is thought to create a network between headmaster, teachers, parents, psychologist and students, in order to understand what may cause students to take these attitudes and to intervene with teaching strategies, but especially with support from the team of external experts such as psychologists, so as to eliminate the problem definitely.

POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S):

Lack of confidence in the performance
In the future the victim does not see any possibility of working and personal fulfilment and so they act against the weakest group that do not share their values.

POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS:

awareness of what happened:
they realize that the Group has a disturbing function but fail to go against the group

perception of causes:
no

what they have done and why:
They complain about the impossibility of following the lessons, of being robbed, beaten

POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS:

Consider at least the following elements:
• Situational awareness

teachers' opinion:
The class takes a strongly negative and irresponsible attitude, some pupils despite repeated calls by teachers continue taking a negative attitude, impeding the profitable quiet atmosphere in class during the lessons
• How they managed to understand what was going on,
This is a particularly lively class from behavioural point of view because of the lack of maturity of some students.
• What they did
At first the various teachers have adopted different strategies for tackling the problem, for example: continuous tests without imforming students in advance, push-ups in class(not in the hour of physical education), notes for bad behavior but not suspensions, or bad marks due to a lack of application of the student, exceptional meeting with the presence of the headmaster, students and parents, so that you could find solutions to solve problems related to the class.
The Group of teachers decided to take disciplinary measures, which consisted in the compulsory participation in afternoon classes for ome subjects for two weeks. in case of no improvements, further disciplinary actions will be taken, forcing them to take part in socially useful work. The class also will not participate in any educational trip or tour.
Considering the recent events that showed a negative attitude, a particularly lively pupil will not move during the break, remaining under the supervision of the teacher.

• Cooperation received from other teachers and the School Director
There has been a strong cooperation between teachers and school director in order to find strategies for coping with immature and incorrect behaviour.

POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS:

• Awareness of what was going on,
The teachers had been already informed during the School board in September about the fact that the headmaster wanted to be informed promptly of all cases of difficulty in learning or behavior.
• What has been done
After repeated interventions carried out by the headmaster and talks with students and families, it was considered useful to organize a meeting of parents, students and teachers to share a common line of intervention.
What you think it is necessary to improve the situation
It is believed important to have a punctual and regular communication with families and to share with them a number of interventions (including type of detention and punishment, but always in an educational point of view)

POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED:

• If you have noticed what was going on,
parents of the victims were aware of the bullying acts of the stronger bullies because their children informed them, but not all parents of the bullies were aware of the situation in the classroom
• If you have been informed and by whom
parents of the pupils knew about that from their children, teachers and
headmaster
• If you have had the opportunity to change the situation and how
The parents of both groups hope to interact with the teachers and the headmaster to be able to cope with this situation

POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL:

• Awareness of what they have done,
The psychologist met the class only once and at the moment she does not have sufficient elements to give a larger framework of the behavior of the class. After the meeting of the class with the Police a second meeting with psychologist was scheduled
• In case of not knowing what they should do
• How could you improve communication and cooperation

POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS:

The psychologist that had a meeting with the students and some parents pointed out the difficulty of relating to a student whose parents are separated because they are in the middle of a phase of "regression" characterized by the need to feel in the centre of attention causing negative behaviors that are the clear expression of a request for help.

CONCLUSIVE DEDUCTIONS:

The class due to the presence of particularly lively and immature people has taken an incorrect attitude not only towards their classmates but also towards the teachers with consequent deficiencies in the school perfomance. considering the harsh situation and unable to calm down the contrasts between the Group of bullies and of victims, the teachers involved the headmaster, parents, psychologists, and students themselves to find the suitable strategies for the creation of a positive and peaceful climate in class in which lessons could be quietly carried out and followed, with the aim of changing the students' ideas which consider the knowledge of particular people more important than an efficient performance at school.

Comments about this Case Study


Date: 06.05.2012

Posted by: LUCA ANA NICOLETA
Type of school: Economic Highschool “VIRGIL MADGEARU IASI
Country: ROMANIA

Such situations on indiscipline and the lack of respect towards courses and teachers are often met in Romanian schools.
Lack of motivation for school training and for learning is usually determined in our case, by:
-lack of economical and social perspective (lack of job offers, indecently low pay, high unemployment etc);
-success models without necessary studies;
-socials ascension because of criteria other than work;
-lack of pedagogical skills of didactic staff
-pupil-teacher relationship;
-use of inadequate methods in the learning - teaching process;
-lack of respect and valorisation of the didactic staff towards the professor;
In this case we need to identify first what nature the conflict is.
Judging by the related facts, it appears there is a conflict of interests between the teachers and the pupils. The teachers show interest in the proper development of the process but the pupils don’t acknowledge their interest to study.
The strategies with a coercitive aspect didn’t resolve the conflict, they only postpone it:
.-Tests at all times, without prior announcement, no pushing in the classroom, lower grades for irresponsible behaviour but not suspension, or bad grades because of pupils’ lack of application etc. Individual measures taken by different teachers had little success so, the coordinators’ group requested an exceptional meeting where the director, pupils and teachers were present, so that each individual had to find solutions for dealing with class problems. It is considered beneficial to periodically intervene within the class atmosphere during parents’ and students’ meetings and keep the situation under control. The intervention of the carabinieri in the classroom was necessary in order to transmit to the pupils geed behaviour rules and to make them understand the punishments that could appear if they are not disciplined enough;
-using the opportunities offered by the relations and communication with family, friend group, colleagues group etc. The low implication degree of the family as resource is a motive for non-resolving the case.
-the aggressor becomes one because he also was a victim in his own turn;
-the pupil needs motivation to study;
-the school psychologist can contribute to changing the opinion of the teachers towards their relations with the pupils;
I would intervene as school psychologist:
a) At pupils’ level through psychopedagogic methods using role playing.
Within extracurricular activities pupils will play the role of the teacher that runs the meeting of - an undisciplined group
-a disciplined group
In this manner, the empathy of the student with the teaching staff can be optimised.
Role play can be completed with assertive and effective communication exercises as well as techniques of conflict resolution.
Setting up trainings for identifying learning reasons;


b)at teacher level – participating in trainings with following themes: learning motivation, stimulation methods for pupil participation in teaching, conflict resolution, optimisation of communication with pupils, relationship styles, positive management of relationships with others etc.

c)parents activities with parents among which trainings for optimisation of the relationship with the children, trainings for identifying learning motives.

Would you introduce in your school strategies for fighting against school violence (bullying) mentioned in the case study? Do you consider them useful and applicable in your school?

Prevention strategies for learning demotivation (meetings with specialists, school orientation day, identification techniques of the appropriate career) etc.
Importance of training didactic staff to face bullying cases

Date: 01.03.2012

Posted by: G Rutledge
Type of school:
Country: England

Disruption in the class room is very common in most schools, and certainly happens at the school that I work in. Throughout the case study it wasn’t clear if the school had strict classroom rules or even sanctions for those who misbehave in class. At the school I work in, the students are expected to follow our “Classroom Expectations” and if this is not adhered to, or in fact if any other disruptive behaviour escalates, we have a system of “consequences” which will ultimately lead to a detention. If a group of people are being continuously disruptive in class, there is the capacity to send students to a relief timetable. This is where the Head of Department or Head of Year may be teaching, and the student will sit with them and do their class work. Furthermore, we can telephone for a member of our Senior Leadership Team to come and remove the student/s from the classroom.

If students are being bullied in a lesson by another group of students, not only can we use the protocol I have previously mentioned but we have a Pastoral system. This is where a Pastoral Manager specific to that year group, will take statements from students and see a full overview of the situation. From that we are able to deal effectively with the bullies, whether that may lead to exclusion or isolation and also tend to the victims. In rare cases it could be that a victim may need extra support within school. If this is the case, we run a Positive Support Programme with specialist trained TAs who could help victims of bullying gain better social skills and self esteem.

If the relationship between the teacher and the student has broken down, it may be beneficial to do “Restorative Practise” where the student and teacher will discuss with a third party the difficulties that they have faced and try to put strategies in place to deal with any problems that may occur in the future

Date: 01.03.2012

Posted by: Teodora Gospodinova
Type of school: Secondary school
Country: Bulgaria

I teach in the 8th grade, in classes with intensive English language studies in a Sofia secondary school. The students I teach are together for a first year, because they take tests after the 7th grade in order to enter a class with intensive English language studies. Each year I teach and am a form tutor of different classes. Surely the students and their problems are different each year, but what I register as common for all of them is that in 8th grade the children are trying to establish a status of “coolness”, they want to be noticed, they want to attract more attention. We consider this normal for this age – could there be a problem? The problem is that the children’s concepts of good and bad are a bit vague. According to some of them, in order to be “cool”, to be respected you should not study, you should demonstrate a lack of care, you should do things, which according to the adults are bad. These students establish themselves as the leaders, because nobody else dares to oppose them. The others just observe passively and undertake nothing. The others’ passiveness is not only connected to fear that something would happen to them, but to fear not to be labeled as “losers” for example. On the other hand apathy is another factor for passiveness – they refuse to be involved regardless of what is happening around them. The reasons for this apathy are complex, but the scary thing is that many of the children come from flawed families, which influences them very strongly. On the other hand the most scary thing is that the parents of children who have problems with their studies or with discipline take things as normal or say that they don’t have enough time to deal with them. Quite recently I spoke with the parents of problematic children and I was impressed from what they told me. One parent said „Well, in 8th grade I was just like him”, another one said “I told her, why did she have to apply, she could have stayed in the other school – to continue with the low marks, so that I would not be bothered.”
Yes, I understand that the times are hard and everybody is fighting for their bread, I understand that the system is not good enough – the evaluation criteria are different for example – but to refuse the help when you see that someone is giving you a hand, that he/she is trying to teach your child something – this I don’t understand. And the problem is not that I am unable to understand, but that we fail to see what we are causing to our children. When things at school and at home differ, it is normal for the child to be confused. I think that most problems in Bulgarian schools arise from the fact that institutions, organizations and society do not work together for the achievement of a common goal. We should stop blaming each other and every one of us should take his/her responsibility and do his/her job.
The beginning of the “I am not scared” project is a huge step forward in that direction. I applause the idea and I join it without any second thoughts.
In our school, in grade 8, in connection to the above mentioned reasons, the cases of violence are mainly related to:
- psychological harassment, imposed by those who don’t study to the others, who do and who get good grades
- a group of students who disrupt the order and does not allow the calm progression of the lessons
A specific example for a situation of this kind:
PARTICIPANTS: students from the 8th grade. The class consists of 25 children. There are no obvious problems there.
Bullies: three boys from the class, who have low marks and sometimes behave badly at school. They treat their fellow students with disparagement, they insult them and sometimes take their things, they mock them for being diligent and studying their lessons.
Victims: the best student in the class – girl Х and the other 21 students.
The bullies harass psychologically their fellow students. If someone has learned the lesson they call him a book worm. After this, in order not to be insulted again, the students stop giving correct answers during examinations and the overall grades of the class go down.
From the presented cases from the other countries – closest to our situation is “Is it better to receive information or to be informed?” from Italy.
The methods for dealing with situations are the same that our colleagues from Italy have described in their case – individualistic methods and a common strategy for all teachers, as well as parents’ meetings for searching a solution of the problem. The only difference is that so far we have not requested support from the police and that is a very good idea. If a policeman enters the class room and explains that if the rules and laws are not abided by, together with a list of examples of punishments, effects from not observing these rules, I think this would play a major role in the students’ behavior. Another solution could be imposing sanctions on the parents of children who regularly break the rules or at least forcing the parents to go to parents’ school. In our school for example we have such a school established and lead by a psychologist, but it is not visited enough. We don’t possess the necessary mechanisms to make the parents come to such schools. The psychology of the Bulgarian considers this unnecessary and useless.
I would also like to say that here in our school the 8th graders spend a lot of time with one teacher, because they have 18 hours a week of language studies. More or less they get accustomed to him and he/she gets to know them well enough in order to apply different methods and strategies and influence them in a positive direction as well as to curb the arising situations. Still, when the students have many classes and each of them is lead by a different teacher, it is very hard for them to understand him, to trust him and to listen to him. That is when more complex and hard to contain situations can arise. This is why a training for dealing with various situations of violence at school is necessary for the teachers. Probably psychologists and educational institutions, on the basis of collected cases of violence, can decide how most efficiently to train the trainers and what directions to give to them. What I can think of at this moment is the following for example: a specialist-psychologist visiting the school and gathering the teachers in groups. Each teacher can share the cases he or she comes his or her practice and all together with the psychologist could search for solutions for specific situations. The psychologist could also share different situations himself, cases could be played and analyzed and solutions could be sought under the guidance of the psychologist.

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