Neuroscience tells us that threats and stress not only affects learning but is likely to limit brain development. Simply violence and bullying do not belong in any education establishment -yet for more than 100 years physical and psychological punishment has been metered out by teachers as a way to ‘discipline’ learners. As we have started to move away from institutional punishment, peer punishment still continues…Almost one in three students (32%) has been bullied by their peers at school at least once in the last month and a similar proportion is affected by physical violence, according to the publication.
Physical bullying is the most frequent type of bullying in many regions, with the exception of North America and Europe, where psychological bullying is most common. Sexual bullying is the second most common in many regions. School violence and bullying affect both male and female students. Physical bullying is more common among boys, while psychological bullying is more prevalent among girls. Online and mobile phone bullying is also shown to be increasing.
Children who are perceived as different in any way are more likely to be bullied, and physical appearance is the most common cause of bullying. The second most frequent reasons reported by students relate to race, nationality or color.
As we attempt to include more students who may look different through a process of Inclusive Education, we are presenting the bullies with even more ‘fodder’.
Why this matters: Bullying has a significant negative effect on children’s mental health, quality of life and academic achievement. Children who are frequently bullied are nearly three times more likely to feel like an outsider at school and more than twice as likely to miss school as those who are not frequently bullied. They have worse educational outcomes than their peers and are also more likely to leave formal education after finishing secondary school.
There are solutions: A number of measures have been shown to be effective in reducing or maintaining a low prevalence of school violence and bullying:
Bullying has decreased in almost half of the 71 countries and territories. These countries have a number of successful factors in common, notably a commitment to promoting a safe and positive school climate and classroom environment, effective systems for reporting and monitoring school violence and bullying, evidence-based programmes and interventions, training and support for teachers, support and referral for affected students, student empowerment and participation.
Political leadership and high-level commitment, together with a robust legal and policy framework that addresses violence against children and school violence and bullying, have proved effective in reducing or maintaining a low prevalence of school violence and bullying.
Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying is one of UNESCO’s contributions to the ‘education’ campaign, a new initiative dedicated to ending violence in schools so children are free to learn, thrive and pursue their dreams. The campaign was initially conceived by members of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children: UNESCO, UNICEF, UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations Girls Initiative (UNGEI.)
Read and download the report: The Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying
Original source: UNESCO
Published on 22 January 2019