Schools are considered to be institutions that students attend to acquire knowledge. They are considered to be safe and meant to promote learning. However, incidents of bullying normally affect this process. Students who experience bullying, both the victims and aggressors are negatively affected from an academic point of view. It acts as a deterrent to the learning process as students will normally skip school, have low concentration levels in the classroom, and suffer from various physical, and mental health issues as a result of rampant bullying in schools. It is, therefore, imperative that the school's administrators, teachers, and even students put extra effort in dealing with bullying in schools. This means putting effective school rules, and policies, teachers monitoring,nd regularly intervening when they notice bullying incidents, and students being willing to report bullying incidents in their schools. To stop bullying needs a concerted effort from all the stakeholders. Addressing the prevalence of bullying incidents in schools will ensure that the students feel safe and nurtured in their learning environments.
In any learning institution, the education process has to be holistic in order for it to aid the students to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills. Education institutions have a duty of creating a healthy learning environment where the students feel safe from a physical, emotional and intellectual perspective (Eliot et al., 2010). A safe and healthy learning environment takes into consideration the physical conditions of the school, and also positive teacher-student and student-student interaction.
There are different studies that show a strong connection between bullying and lack of social skills. According to a study that was conducted by Smith and Low (2013) it found out that children who were not taught various social skills such as respect, problem-solving skills, and empathy had a higher likelihood of exhibiting violent behavior towards other people especially their classmates, in comparison to the students who were taught these social skills (Smith & Low, 2013). The aspect of bullying should be discouraged within and even outside the school environment in order to promote effective learning process.
It has also been demonstrated that there is a connection between bullying, and lack of adequate social skills (Bradshaw, 2013). Therefore, the response or intervention measures both in school and outside the school environment should be tailored in a way that addresses the lack of social skills that has been exhibited by most of the bullies in school. In a situation where there is lack of intervention measures to address this problem it can be considered to be an acceptable behavior, and it can contribute to a potentially harmful environment for both the victims and also the bullies.
It is important to point out that, academic improvement is highly likely to be recorded in schools where students feel that they are physical, emotionally, and intellectually safe, than in learning institutions where they do not feel safe. Also, the school culture should promote reasonable rules that all the students are aware of, and they should be fairly enforced (Eliot et al., 2010). Students will also effectively learn when they are adequately challenged by their curricula (not too easy or too difficult). Therefore, comprehensive learning can only be achieved in learning institutions that take into consideration the physical, emotional, and intellectual safety of its students.
Most adults (parents and teachers) are under the assumption that schools or learning institutions offer a safe haven for their children or students to learn. The schools are deemed to offer an environment that promotes learning, providing the students with knowledge and skills to prepare them for their future careers. However, most students do not feel safe either when they are in school or on their way to and from school. The reason for this is that they fear being bullied by their classmates or schoolmates (Eliot et al., 2010). Students who fear that they will be physically or emotionally harmed at school or on their way either to or from school may take drastic measures such as missing school occasionally or carry weapons for their personal protection.
Bullying can be defined as any form of unwanted or aggressive behavior that may be displayed by some of the school children towards their peers. It is mainly orchestrated by students who feel that they are powerful either from a physical or mental view, against other students who they feel are weak. In the real sense, the bullying process exists because of a perceived power imbalance among the students. Bullying normally involves various actions such as physically attacking an individual, issuing threats that are directly or indirectly targeting a certain student or group of students, verbal insults, and even making gestures towards an individual(Polanin & Vera, 2013). For an action to be perceived as bullying, as has been stated before, the aggressor needs to feel that he or she possesses more power in a certain aspect than the victim. This may be achieved through the use of physical strength, popularity differences between an aggressor and the victim, and access to embarrassing information. In addition to that, the action has to occur more than one or on a repeated basis over a certain period of time.
There are mainly three types of bullying: physical, verbal, and social bullying. In physical bullying, it entails the aggressor hurting the victim through hitting him or her on the body. Therefore, it entails any action that will result in physical injury, and may also include actions such as spitting, pushing, and tripping an individual. Physical bullying can also entail the damage of an individuals possessions such as tearing up a students book.
Verbal bullying entails saying or using inappropriate language that is directed to a person, especially when he or she is within hearing range. This includes teasing, taunting, name-calling or even threatening an individual (Wang et al., 2013). Social bullying occurs when the aggressor performs certain actions that will have a negative impact on the victims overall reputation or even ruin his or her relationship with the other students in school. This may entail making the other students in a class not to make friends with a particular student, embarrassing them in front of the other students, spreading rumors, and even leaving a particular student out when playing a game or even performing any team-related activity.
The real problem with bullying is that it can occur in school or even outside the school. Although most of the students report about bullying that happens within the school building, as has been described in social bullying, it can take place in the school playground, when students are traveling to and from school, and even through the internet. This makes bullying difficult to control because; the aggressive students can use different platforms to attack the other students that they feel have less power than them. Bullying can lead to future problems for both the victim and the aggressor.
For the victim, bullying can result in negative psychological effect. In most cases, victims of bullying endure the bullying process because they are afraid that even if they report the matter, nothing will be done to the bully. They feel that if they endure the physical, social or verbal abuse for some time, the bully will get tired, and he or she will leave them alone. Sadly, this never happens, and they become victims of being bullied. For others, they feel that if they report the matter either to their parents or teachers, the bully will reiterate, and therefore, make the situation worse. This makes them endure the bullying for a long period. In addition to that, there are victims who may feel ashamed.
In most cases, the bully, in this case, has access to some information that the victim does not want the other students to know about, and the bully may use it as leverage to bully the victim. The victim of the bully process in most cases will end up being fearful, unable to socialize well with the other students in school, and may begin missing some school days. This will negatively affect his or her school work. Victims of constant bullying are highly likely to have mental issues such as depression, and even anxiety. In worst case scenarios, especially if the victim is constantly exposed to physical or verbal bullying, he or she may also become violent as a way to fend-off his or her bullies. Furthermore, a student may begin to carry weapons to school in order to protect himself or herself, and this may lead to more violence, and an unsafe learning environment.
Bullies may also suffer from their actions of directing aggressive behavior to other students whom they deem weaker for one reason or another. One of the reasons why bullies decide to pick on a certain student or group of students is because they are constantly exposed to physical or verbal violence at home or their peers in their neighborhood (Eriksen et al., 2014). They may have witnessed their parents fighting or have been victims of aggressive behavior either from their parents or older siblings at home.
They may also be seeking peer approval from their friends who advocate for such behavior, and this will lead them to develop the bullying behavior. It may lead them to continue with such practices even in their adult lives, and they may be convicted of various crimes such as battery in future (Ammermueller, 2012). In addition to that, they are also prone to giving in to peer pressure, especially if they engage in bullying to please the other people such as drug abuse and engaging in early sexual activities. They are also highly likely to be abusive to their spouses and children.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2016), it states that one out of every five students (20.8%) in American schools is constantly bullied either within their school premises or on their way to and from school. The study further stated that 33% of the students who had admitted that they were victims of being bullied within the school premises, they stated that they were bullied at least once or twice. In another study that was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015) showed that 20% of the students in grades 9-12 in American schools had been bullied within the school property within the last 12 months.
The National Center for Education Statistics (2016) also indicated that more females than male students admitted to being bullied at school (23% girls and 19% boys). The study also showed that the most likely places where bullying took place was in the hallway of the school (42%), in a classroom (34%), cafeteria (22%), outside the school grounds (19%), at the school bus (10%), and bathroom or locker room (9%) (National Center for Education Statistics, 2016). The study (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016) also indicated that approximately 43% of the students who have been victims of bullying have notified an adult of the bullying incidents.
In a study that was conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (2016) showed that Singapore has the third highest rate of bullying globally. In this study, it indicated that the most common form of bullying that most Singapore students experience is being taunted or be made fun of at school. Approximately 18.3% of the students who took part in the survey stated that they had been made fun of a few times a month, compared to the OECD average, which was 10.9% in that study. Also, 11.9% of stude...
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