Stopping School Bullying: Are We Taking the Completely Wrong Approach?
Bullying has always been discussed in education reform, and typically the solution falls on students themselves, but what if schools — as impersonal institutions — are partly at fault?
Nikhil Goyal is the author of Schools on Trial: How Freedom and Creativity Can Fix Our Educational Malpractice (Doubleday/Random House, 2016). Goyal has appeared on MSNBC and FOX and written for the New York Times, MSNBC, The Nation, and other publications. He has also had speaking engagements with the Clinton Global Initiative University, Google, Stanford, University of Cambridge, SXSW, LEGO Foundation, among others. In 2012, Goyal was named one of the “World Changers” for Dell #Inspire 100. In 2013, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Freedom Flame Award. Goyal serves on the board of The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). He lives in New York.
Nikhil Goyal: Bullying is one of the major issues that have always been discussed in the education reform conversation and the debate. And a lot of people think when they talk about bullying is that we can just solve it by kind of teaching kids to be kinder to one another or implementing these kind if anti-bullying programs where these ruthless punishments if somebody’s seen bullying somebody. But when you talk about these issues of bullying a lot of people fail to understand the role of the institution in perpetuating issues such as bullying. And Peter Gray for example, a psychologist at Boston College has written about bullying and looked at prisons and schools and the effects of bullying on those institutions. And what he says is that when there’s a population of people who are being held in an institution where they have no freedom to quit or ability to escape from that place, where they have very little ownership or voice and control over what happens in that institution, incidents such as bullying are rampant. And at schools it’s very clear. I mean the statistics show that bullying is a major, major problem in most American schools.
And what they find is that schools have a number of different qualities and one of them is the anti-democratic governing structure. If you look at most American high schools for example they are gargantuan mammoth institutions. They have thousands upon thousands of kids walking through the hallways every day. And what happens as a result of this – and this is not necessarily the fault of teachers or even just the people in that school building. When you have such a large student body and you don’t have – you have large class sizes there’s not enough time for students and teachers to have really strong authentic and genuine relationships. And students basically what happens is they get kind of thrown into this sea of being anonymous. They don’t have any relationships with their students, with fellow peers and students at a really rich and authentic level. And so when students feel that they have no power or no agency in their school experiences what often happens is something called cliques arise. The students feel that they have to wield power and get control within themselves and within their ranks.
And so cliques are one of the major phenomenon in American schools where they create basically power structures within the student body themselves. And so you have people at the top of the system who are essentially the most popular kids. And then you have kids at the bottom who are oftentimes the nerds and the people who are not so popular and don’t have the best looks. And so you have this very destructive system that comes about and bullying is one of the side effects and symptoms that come out of that. And so what I would argue is that when you have institutions where students and teachers have strong relationships with one another, where students feel that they are known by an adult in that community, where they have agency and voice over those learning experiences, bullying incidents are very rare. And in my book I talk about institutions and free schools and democratic schools where bullying is almost nonexistent. And this is in large part due to the fact that students feel that they have a voice and role in their school decision making process and they have the structures in place to fix and alleviate incidents of bullying. So everything is transparent where they can bring it to an adult or the school community and show that this individual’s bullying me and we need to rectify the situation.
And not only that they have restorative justice practices. So instead of just suspending the kid or engaging in kind of a zero tolerance policy they’ll go through a process of healing and restorative justice to make sure that the individual who has been harmed as well as the individual who perpetrated the act understands the incident and works to alleviate the situation in the future. So it’s a much better process of healing and restoration as opposed to just suspending the kid and leaving them out and nothing gets solved and it’s kind of this trying to patch a bullet with a Band-Aid. It doesn’t actually solve the underlying problem.
When students and teachers have strong relationships, and when students feel they have agency inside the larger institution of the school, instances of bullying are much less common. As educational activist Nikhil Goyal explains, bullying has always been discussed in education reform, and typically the solution falls on students themselves, but what if schools — as impersonal institutions — are partly at fault? Everyone wants to sop bullying, but when we rely on students to simply refrain from aggressive behavior, without considering the context in which that behavior occurs, we are doing them a disservice.
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- The tech industry may be dominated by men in terms of numbers, but there are lots of brilliant women in leadership positions that are changing the landscape.
- The women on this list are founders of companies dedicated to teaching girls to code, innovators in the fields of AI, VR, and machine learning, leading tech writers and podcasters, and CEOs of companies like YouTube and Project Include.
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The results of this study showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence, declining in early adulthood and then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.
- A 2020 Michigan State University study examined the link between teen social networks and the levels of depression later in life.
- This study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, specifically targeting social network data. The results showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence and declining in early adulthood, then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.
- There are several ways you can attempt to stay active and socially connected while battling depression, according to experts.
The study suggested that teenagers who have a smaller social circle showed higher rated of depression later on in life.
Credit: asiandelight/Shutterstock<p><a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/msu-tsn093020.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2020 Michigan State University study</a> examined the link between teen social networks and the levels of depression later in life. The results of this study suggested teens who have a larger number of friends in adolescent years may be less likely to suffer from depression later in life. These findings were especially prominent in women.</p><p>This study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, specifically targeting social network data. This data asks students to select up to 5 male and 5 female friends and indicate how often they felt depressive symptoms. </p><p>MSU Sociology Assistant Professor Molly Copeland and lead author Christina Kamis (Sociology doctoral candidate at Duke University) published the study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in September. </p><p><strong>Female teenagers may struggle more with depression during their teen years but show fewer depressive symptoms later in life.</strong> </p><p>For female adolescents, popularity can lead to increased depression during their teen years. However, this ultimately may lead to lasting benefits of fewer depressive symptoms later in life. "Adolescence (is) a sensitive period of early life when structural facets of social relationships can have lasting mental health consequences," Copeland wrote, adding that "compared to boys, girls face additional risks from how others view their social position in adolescence."</p><p>Throughout this study, men showed no association between popularity and depressive symptoms, however, they did show benefits from naming more friends. As for why this is, Copeland has a theory: perhaps the expectations on young girls (compared to young boys) as well as the roles that lead to popularity can create a kind of stress and strain felt more prominently by girls than boys. </p><p>While this does create more difficult teen years for young girls, the stress and strain may lead to giving these girls a psychological skillset that benefits them later in life, allowing them to deal with stressful situations more easily.</p><p>The study also suggested that teenagers who have a smaller social circle showed higher rates of depression later on in life. </p><p><strong>Results from both men and women followed a U-shaped trajectory of depressive symptoms.</strong></p><p>The results showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence and declining in early adulthood, then climbing back up again into one's early 30s. This was particularly more noticeable in women, who showed a steeper decline in symptoms between the ages of 18-26, followed by a more rapid increase in symptoms in their early 30s. </p>
How to stay social while battling depression<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ1MjA3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNDMyNDY1N30.e1ULIJ5QYXh4H1SGUPUTJqYBCnX2XWp6InjPRr-2Bdw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C22%2C0%2C22&height=700" id="832fd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b360bb24fb8d6025680bfffb52fd5982" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="depression support group illustration" />
Attending support groups, planning activities with family or even just a weekly phone call to a friend can help alleviate depression.
Credit: Mascha Tace/Shutterstock<p>Although maintaining relationships can help you cope, it can also be one of the most difficult things to do when you're experiencing depression.</p><p>As Dr. Jennifer L. Payne (an assistant professor/co-director of the Women's Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore) <a href="https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/major-depression/staying-socially-active-with-depression/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">tells Everyday Health</a>: "One of the common symptoms of depression is social isolation." </p><p>Payne goes on to explain that you can "soak up some energy" by simply being around other people, moving around, and staying active.</p><p><strong>Creating a daily schedule and planning activities ensures action. </strong></p><p>While it may be easy to turn down last-minute plans, it's more difficult to cancel plans you've already committed to with friends and family. While it's important not to overwhelm yourself with a packed schedule, creating a minimal daily schedule that involves seeing friends and family or doing activities that you've previously enjoyed can ensure you stay active and often makes you feel more accomplished at the end of each day. </p><p><strong>Support groups and social networking with people who understand. </strong></p><p>While depression can very easily make you feel isolated and alone, surrounding yourself with others who may be struggling with depression as well can help in multiple ways. You will have peer support from people who relate to how you're feeling plus the added benefit of being around people, which can raise your spirits. </p><p><strong>Keeping a journal (and setting goals) can help you feel accomplished. </strong></p><p>Keep a thought journal and detail certain daily or weekly goals (such as a plan to call a friend on Monday or to visit your local coffee shop for a change of scenery on Thursday). These small, achievable goals not only get you out of the house and/or interacting with others, but they also provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction once they are complete. </p><p><strong>Random acts of kindness, such as volunteering, will make you feel good. </strong></p><p><a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/kindness-benefits-james-doty?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1596517476" target="_self">Being kind is good for your health</a> in many different ways. Doing something nice for others can boost your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being. Similar to exercise, kindness, and altruism can also release endorphins, creating a <a href="https://www.quietrev.com/6-science-backed-ways-being-kind-is-good-for-your-health/#:~:text=Kindness%20releases%20feel%2Dgood%20hormones&text=Doing%20nice%20things%20for%20others,as%20a%20%E2%80%9Chelper's%20high.%E2%80%9D" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">temporary sense of euphoria</a> that can help combat depressive symptoms. </p>
Researchers have just discovered the remains of a hybrid human.
90,000 years ago, a young girl lived in a cave in the Altai mountains in southern Siberia. Her life was short; she died in her early teens, but she stands at a unique point in human evolution. She is the first known hybrid of two different kinds of ancient humans: the Neanderthals and the Denisovans.
Physicists create quantum entanglement, making two distant objects behave as one.