Teresa Preston

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Alexandria, VA

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EL Study Guide: The Bully Problem

Welcome to the EL Study Guide on ASCD EDge. Each month, EL provides an online study guide to assist educators with their professional development. Here on EDge, we will regularly post excerpts from the Study Guide for EDge members to discuss.

The September EL theme is "Promoting Respectful Schools," this week's study guide excerpt focuses on bullying.

The Bully Problem

When you think of a bully, what sort of person do you imagine? Do you think of someone like Nelson Muntz from The Simpsons, a social misfit taking pleasure in others' pain? Or maybe you think of a group of popular girls who stay on top of the social scene by deliberately excluding others. Whatever image you imagine, it's probably only partly accurate, according to research cited by Philip C. Rodkin in "Bullying—And the Power of Peers." Bullies might be male or female, popular or unpopular, and their relationships with their victims don't always fit into neat categories.

  • Think about the bullying incidents you've witnessed at school. What did you notice about the bullies? The victims? Their relationships to each other? How well do your observations jibe with Rodkin's research?
  • How have you responded to the bullying that you've observed? In light of Rodkin's research, as well as the comments from students in "What Students Say About Bullying" by Stan Davis and Charisse Nixon, how might you change your approach?
  • What bullying prevention programs does your school have in place? How effective have they been? How might they be improved? (See the section titled "Using Peers to Intervene" in Rodkin's article and the section titled "How Can Adults Help?" in Davis and Nixon's article for findings related to what does and doesn't work.)

Please share your thoughts in the comments, and for more questions on respectful schools, see the complete study guide.

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