Helping Mentors Understand The Root Causes Of Bullying With Professional Development For Teachers
Children spend a great deal of time in school. And while it is the parents’ duty to form the character of their children, teachers are at a unique position to monitor any unusual problems they see among their pupils. However, more often than not, they are not properly equipped to handle mental and behavioural issues that arise in the schoolyard. This underscores the need for professional development for teachers which will give them the tools and strategies to help parents and their children remedy such issues and allow kids to fully reach their potentials.
One of the most common behavioural issues that arises in schools, not only in Australia, but seemingly, the world over, is bullying. Bullying takes a variety of forms, the most recent of which is cyberbullying. And whilst conventional bullying is deplorable, cyberbullying ups the ante because the perpetrator is shrouded by the anonymity provided by the Internet.
For educators, awareness of the root causes of this problem can help them get a better perspective and understanding of the issue of bullying which in turn will allow them to help both the bully and the victim.
Absurd as it may sound, bullying can be a way for the bully to find acceptance into a group. Kids may be egged on by their friends to victimise another kid or other kids gravitate towards the bully, forming a clique, so that they can avoid becoming victims of the bully.
Doing well in school, academically or through extra-curricular activities like sports, gives children a sense of empowerment, and as such, should be encouraged. However, there are those who falter in their schools and find bullying as a means to find empowerment.
Also, there are students who engage in acts of bullying as a means of finding freedom, breaking the rules to establish their autonomy. More often than not, children hear “no” from their parents and other authority figures. Whilst most kids who engage in this type of bullying often do less violent acts, this does not mean that they should be condoned.
In bullying, both the perpetrator and the target are the victims.
The problem is that often, the signs are overlooked simply because teachers and other school staff are ill-equipped to handle such a matter. By finding the right professional development for teachers, they can upgrade their skills and become proactive in the fight against bullying, helping make schools a peaceful haven for learning and development.
Schools often have bullying polices and procedures in place. Often the focus can be on the bully – so that the bullying behaviour is stopped. We also need to place a determined focus on the “victim” of bullying. Unfortunately those who are on the receiving end of bullying behaviour seek to leave that environment and go to new schools only for the bullying to commence again.
Helping school students develop capacity and resilience in dealing with the emotional turmoil of bullying is an important aspect of an integrated response to bullying in schools. Many school staff and teachers attend a professional development called the Accidental Counsellor Training. This teacher professional development training helps school staff to respond to the bully and victim in ways that enhance resilience for all.