Sunday, March 1, 2009

What does work?

Comprehensive interventions

What are the components of a successful comprehensive intervention?

Consensus-development among staff (with input from students and community members) so people enforce the same expectations consistently. What is your school's definition of unacceptable peer behavior? What behaviors will you commit to changing no matter what it takes? These might include:

physical aggression: hitting, kicking, pushing, choking, punching,….

verbal aggression: threatening, taunting, teasing, hate speech

And social exclusion.

Development and consistent enforcement of effective consequences for verbal and physical aggression which are predictable, inevitable, immediate, and escalating and based on uniform expectations for all. Consistent use of consequences will reduce these behaviors and are a necessary component of effective prevention. Inconsistent enforcement makes the problem worse. Effective consequences are small (so they can be used consistently), escalate with repeated aggression, and often involve loss of unstructured times like recess, lunch with peers, or extracurricular activities.

Building positive connections between staff and students and positive feeling tone in staff-student interactions.

Monitoring to make sure that consequences and education are effective.

Effective counseling for youth who bully after enforcement of consequences has generated some anxiety.

Effective support for targets, including protection from repeat victimization.

Empowering bystanders to tell adults, support targets, and discourage unacceptable behavior.

From a 2008 study of bullying prevention in Colorado schools (USA)

"• A reduction in bullying occurred in schools where teachers and students are willing to intervene, treat each other fairly and demonstrate that they care.

• Adult and student intervention in bullying is critical from elementary through high school.

• A positive relationship with adults and students at school and a school culture of trust and fairness are key to reducing bullying.

• Schools with lower levels of bullying report higher scores on statewide tests."


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