Beyond all talk of education policy--assessment and standards and curriculum and teacher training, et cetera--there’s something else that is extremely important to the success or failure of the average student: the social climate of school. It’s pretty hard to do well academically if you’re constantly worried about being bullied or teased, or if you don’t feel safe in your classroom environment. At least, that’s what Ayer Public Schools in Massachusetts is learning, according to this article in the Boston Globe.
Fortunately, I personally never had to deal with bullies while I was in school, but I did, as I’m sure most of you did as well, witness some terrible cases of bullying throughout my years as a student. Add the Internet into that mix, and bullying gets taken to a whole new level. Here’s an excerpt:
Because bullying has become an ever-present issue beyond the schoolyard - tweens and teens often sling barbs online or through crudely written text messages - more school districts across the state are proactively targeting bullying by ... setting up antidiscrimination committees, or holding all manner of informational sessions for parents and students.
The story talks about a district that has begun an extensive antibullying campaign to heighten awareness of the problem and decrease the amount of bullying that happens at school. So far, one school has reported a 31 percent drop in incidences of verbal bullying and a 27 percent drop in physical bullying. That’s a pretty significant change, in my book.
Have you seen an increase in bullying or cyberbullying in your school or district? And if so, what has been done to curb that behavior? And what effect do you think bullying has on student motivation?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.