Self-Esteem – A PREVENTION to Bullying

By Lisa Cheaney-Hogan

Bullying is a ‘hot topic’ in education today and will continue to be for some time.  Throughout the country there is a ‘no tolerance’ stance towards bullying or hate-crimes.  Still, with this mandate in place it is still occurring and some would argue it is occurring more often than not.  With our advances in technology, children and youth are finding new ways to communicate and put others down.  These acts of violence are often cries for help and low self-esteem or low self-confidence.  Positive and strong self-esteem makes the world of difference in everyday actions and perspectives of others and the world.

The Media & Desirable Behaviour

Through current research performed by the National Survey of Children’s Health it is indicated that, “analyses using data about more than 30,000 6- to 11-year-olds from the NSCH have found linkages among a child’s television viewing habits, parental involvement, and levels of child behavior problems” (Mbwana & Moore, 2008).  Children’s behaviour is linked to many causes such as the media, lack of parenting, social media and many other factors.  While many focus on a reactive approach to curbing unfavourable childhood behaviour, this approach will view a proactive approach to creative desirable behaviour.

Desirable childhood behaviour is an ongoing concern in many sub-urban communities.  With a variety of social economic status residing in the same community this can often cause challenges and distance between students.  Community engagement, empathy and children’s participation in their Education are positive steps forward in building a cohesive group of students who can successfully move forward engaging in desirable behaviours along the way.

While looking into research I began thinking, if these students felt confident in their growth and development would they feel the need to put others down? Could positive and growth of self-esteem be used as a preventative measure against bullying?

These desirable behaviour in a school-based setting includes listening, respect, being empathetic towards others, displaying that a student have a conscience, active listening and participation in class, working as a community and with other students in harmony, acceptance and to be self-aware of ones actions.

Who takes responsibility?

From the Department of Psychology, Queen’s University, Wendy M. Craig discusses strategies and solutions to stop bullying.  Wendy examines how to protect and connect to children who are bullied.  A strategy in that involves school examines how, “teachers can help promote positive relationships through establishing buddies, circles of support, peer mentors, and by finding ways to highlight the victimized child’s talents for others to see” (Craig, 2007).

Parental support is also so important because the learning and practice can be reinforced at home.  The continuity of the values of empathy provides an additional layer for the students to build upon.

I have learned that there are preventative strategies that can be executed to assist with student’s personal development to lessen the occurrence of bullying.  “In October 2006, a group of boys allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl in a washroom at a Toronto high school,  according to news reports, several female students told a teacher the grade 9 student was targeted for being shy and unpopular” (Chernos, 2008).  When we as teachers can identify these destructive behaviours we have the opportunity to assist those in need, and encourage acceptance of diverse skills, talents and characteristics of all students.  Demonstrating an appreciation for all students and their unique abilities promotes their positive self-esteem which leaves them less likely to be bullied.  The world of teaching is complex and does not stop at the chalk board but begins there.  We have the opportunity to shape, mold and excite the minds of our future.  We have been given a great privilege and gift to teach.

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