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  • Anna Brix Thomsen

What can Teachers do about Bullying? DAY 41

Teachers in classrooms all over the world are faced with great apathy towards solving the problem of bullying. In fact, very few teachers have received any form of training on how to deal with bullying and if you are a parent, this ought to be alarming because you do in fact not know the kind of environment you are sending your child into day after day throughout the years they attend school. As most parents know, it is also not necessarily the most easy to communicate with a child about what they do at school let alone how they experience themselves within it.

In the context of bullying being an increasing problem, especially with cyberbullying, where bullies can hide behind anonymous and fictive identities, it is alarming that teachers aren’t taught how to work with children. Most teaching degrees focus on didactics and epistemologies – the science of teaching and the theory of knowledge, while very little attention is given on how to work with oneself as an individual in the classroom or how to work with children on an inter-personal level. I have come across many teachers that flat out call children ‘monsters’ and who have given up any form of respect or dignity towards the teaching profession and towards the children they are teaching.

It is thus easy to blame the teachers, but here it is important to understand that teachers aren’t receiving effective support or training in how to work with children or to sufficiently understand the development of a child and the social dynamics that a child has to navigate. Obviously there are exceptions from the rule, but these unique cases has more to do with the person’s natural ability to direct others or their passion towards teaching than it has to do with them having received effective and sufficient training.

Another problem that teachers face, especially when it comes to bullying – and ironically parents face the same problem from their end – is that they haven’t got any influence over what happens when they child aren’t with them. There could thus be an entirely different learning paradigm and principle of learning when the child goes home that interferes with or contradicts or even cancels out any efforts the teacher might make to for example stop bullying.

And since parents receive even less training and education on how to effectively raise children and since children in many ways are considered ‘property’ of the parents that they can do with what they want in the privacy of their own home, there isn’t much teachers can do, if the parents are bullies themselves and pass on this behavior to their children. Unfortunately most means of dealing with such issues are forms of intervention that more resembles punishment and containment than actual remediation and resolving of the problems.

This point of ‘double-socialization’ where a child grows up simultaneously in two (or more) different environments is in itself highly problematic and it can even be argued that the child’s Internet network or ‘peer group exists as a third environment in which neither parents nor teachers have any form of supervision or influence.

Ideally a child growing up shouldn’t have to change between completely different environments with different people and different educational and living paradigms on a daily basis. This is not to say that there’s anything wrong with changing perspective or widening one’s horizon to different types of environments. However this can be done in a way where there is stability within the foundation of the child’s life based on everyone involved in the education of the child, being in agreement on the principles that are lived and shown to the child.

Summarizing this entire going back to the question of what teachers can do about bullying, the answer is that there isn’t much they can do, for several reasons:

As teachers we have few resources, limited time and barely any influence on the child’s life outside the classroom besides the scope of the didactic frame in which we teach. There is a disjuncture between the child’s lives at home, in school and when they are with their friends that make it difficult to intervene.

Furthermore as mentioned, teachers receive alarming little training in how to deal with bullying, let alone a child’s mind or physical body. And finally, as teachers and parents we don’t even know our own minds and bodies operate and function in fact or what the consequences are of raising/educating our children to a certain paradigm.

As such, a first vital point that is required to break the cycle of bullying is to establish effective training programs for teachers and parents alike to understand how the mind and physical body of a child (as well as ourselves) actually functions and operates. For this to happen funds are required priorities must be changed and this must happen at a societal level, which means that it is the responsibility of all citizens to direct the decision to reform our educational systems at a fundamental level to an actual change. Secondly we require a restructuring of the separation of environments that a child face throughout their school years – especially so that parents can take more significant part of their child’s upbringing and education. Here one can look at the basic equation of considering how a teacher is responsible for 20, 30, 50 children at a time, whereas the parents only have to take responsibility for their own, often 1, 2, 3 or 4 children.

Now within this it is understandable that parents might resist taking on a greater responsibility in their children’s lives – and this might also be a point that is difficult to admit. But the fact of the matter is that most parents have little to no clue what they are doing and often experience frustration and apathy towards raising their child effectively. Here they then rest assured that teachers are professionals who are trained at education children and we have seen an increase in parents virtually expecting the school or the teacher to be the primary educator when it comes to raising their child. I can give an example from a toddler preschool I worked at once, where another teacher told me that the parents expect us as a teachers to teach the children how to eat with a knife and a fork, so that when they come home, the parents do not have to deal with the child being ‘messy’ and getting food everywhere. However the good news is that within the solution we are looking at here, parents will receive adequate training and support so that they can become effective parents and take direction of their child’s education, not as a ‘private matter’ but as a matter that concerns all of society in which the parent has a responsibility to assist the child to become a human being that cares for and considers what is best for all.

For all of this to happen we require one thing above everything else: money. And for money to be siphoned from the irrelevancies of corporate capitalism to the priority of securing our children’s future – we require making a decision to change our economic systems and our political systems and this is where the principle of democracy must stand as a collective anchor from which we can come together and make a decision to change.

Please investigate the proposed solution of a GuaranteedLiving Income System – because we are actually proposing a solution here that takes everything I have mentioned above into consideration and that in detail and specificity investigates the solutions available for us to start living based on the principle of what is best for all.

For anyone who would like to work with getting to know and understand your body and your mind – at the very least to be an effective parent to your child – I recommended the DIP Lite course that is a free online course through which one go through a process of training and practice in utilizing writing as a tool for self-transformation and change.

Thank you very much.

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