Bullying in Elementary School Articles Critique Sample
The Effects of Psychological Aspect in Children
I am a teacher in one of the elementary schools in the suburbs of Los Angeles. I handle students of various age and abilities. One of the most perturbing issues that I experience from time to time is that many children display aggressive behavior, especially between the age of 7 and 12 years. This behavior is observed in many classes irrespective of the children’s backgrounds. I have been involved in a number of research activities to unearth the root cause of this aggression, but the more effort I put in the more complex the subject becomes. What seemed to me like a problem affecting just students and teachers now is a grand problem affecting the entire community. My concern is to see how this problem can be solved by paying great attention to the main causes and not dealing with mere symptoms.
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Vaillancourt, T., Trinh, V., Mcdougall, P., Duku, E., Cunningham, L., Cunningham, C., Hymel, S., & Short, K. (2010). Optimizing population screening of bullying in school aged-children. Journal of School Violence, 9, 233–250.
Primary Research Article
- Includes an abstract, introduction section, method, participants, procedure, measures, analytic plan, results, conclusions and references.
- This article includes both qualitative and quantitative researches. It focuses on a general number of students, as well as the results, comparing school-aged children who were assessed by screening procedure of bullying.
Where? The research took place in 112 schools, which are located in a large public school district in Southern Ontario. This is a socioeconomically diverse region with rural, suburban and urban compositions of students that were drawn from junior kindergarten (age 4) to grade 12 (age 18) (Vaillancourtet el., 2010).
Who? A total of 16,799 students (8,604 boys and 8,195 girls) took part in the research, out of which white students constituted 65.7%; Asian 6.0%; African 4.5%; South Asian 4.1%; Aboriginal 2.3% and other races 17.4%. They were in grades 4 to 12 with their age ranging from 8–19 (Vaillancourt et el., 2010).
When? The research exercise took place in November of the 2005 academic year, and it is the same year when the study was published.
How? Data drawn from two screening parts were compared. The predictive values, sensitivity, as well as those of specificity, were calculated to gauge the level of both bullying and victimization among the population.
Why? The research is conducted to optimize population screening of bullying in school-aged children in the specified age.
The obtained results portrayed that the general screener had good specificity though with poor sensitivity. This suggested that the questions for general screening were perfect in classification of students who were not involved in bullying, but who acted dismally during the identification of true cases of bullying.
It transpired that the conceptualization of bullying among children received little or no attention despite the fact that there was consensus within the research community concerning the global definition that was used by researchers in defining, as well as studying bullying.
The screening procedure proved to be successful owing to the fact that the children of the target age did not exhibit belligerent behavior, although much aggression was pervasive in that category. This proved that bullying was perpetuated more instinctively than consciously. Efforts to eradicate it were more successful with the children of this age than with the adolescents.
According to my observation, several studies that attended to the definitions of bullying performed by children showed that children associated bullying with direct physical aggression. However, the definitions of older students sharply differed with those of their younger counterparts in that theirs contained a plethora of behaviors.
Given that the there was a big range of definitions that were espoused by these children, I think the criterion of definition that was adopted by researchers is seldom acknowledged by any of the children involved.
It therefore seems to me a bit weird to find a solution to the problem of people who are not involved in the problem solving. Much as the research conducted was successful, the implementation of the recommendations may be a big challenge.
Yerger, W., & Gehret, C. (2011). Understanding and dealing with bullying in schools. The Educational Forum, 75:4, 315-326.
Primary Research Article
- Includes an abstract, introductory section, examination of primary prevention programs, recommendations for teachers, conclusions and references.
- This article constitutes both quantitative and qualitative researches discussing bullies and their victims and investigating the causes and consequences of bullying, as well as providing information on essentials that are needed by teachers for dealing effectively with bullying in schools.
Where? The research took place in London where the victimized children of bullying had significantly more sleeping problems, headaches, stomachaches, as well as bed-wetting incidents as compared to the children in different age groups.
Who? More than 3,000 students of various age that also include those with emotional disturbance who need special education services (Yerger & Gehret, 2011).
When? This research took place in 2011, and this is when the study was also published.
How? This study focused on the varied ways of dealing with bullying in schools and possible consequences of bullying in regard to specific cases that had been selected.
Why? The analysis of cases of bullying reveals that more than half of the cases are unreported, and this should be lessened by all means.
Victims of bullying developed a regular pattern of assumed inadequacy and felt incapable of dealing with the bullies.
They also lacked ideas how to solve the problem of the bullying, and that is why the majority remained silent about the incidents.
They felt totally discouraged in developing proactive behaviors due to lack of external support. This makes them more vulnerable in future.
The research unearthed how deep the problem is rooted in the society. Having studied the outcomes, researchers would definitely make comprehensive recommendations that if adequately addressed, the problem is likely to be completely solved. The big challenge though is that many cases of bullying still remain unreported.
After reading the article, I have become much more aware of the long-term consequences for victims of bullying, which may include serious mental health problems, such as depression or having suicidal thoughts. As a teacher, I need therefore to devise proper mechanisms to deal with this problem before it becomes deeply rooted in the society.
The article however does not substantiate whether the suicidal cases cited were purely the results of bullying. Let us take an example of Phoebe Prince who took her life in desperation after months of being harassed by male and female students who resented her dating an older American football player. I find it unwise to attribute her death entirely to bullying. There could still be other factors that may have coincidently culminated in that incident.
Furthermore, I find the act of the parliament of Massachusetts approving the anti-bullying law following her death as management in crisis. We should not be waiting for such cases to turn fatal before we think they are unacceptable. I tend to imagine that if no one had died as a result of bullying, perhaps, nothing would have been done to curb it.
Aluede, O., Adeleke, F., Omoike, D., & Afen-Akpaida, J. (2009). Reviewing of extent, nature, characteristics and effects of bullying behavior in schools. Journal of Instructional Psychology, Vol. 35, No. 2.
Primary Research Article
- Includes abstract, introductory information, the concept of bullying, characteristics of bullies, characteristics of victims of bullying, nature of bullying, the extent of bullying, effects of bullying, the conclusion and references.
- This article is a qualitative research, which focuses on reviewing the degree, the nature, characteristics and effects of bullying behavior in schools.
Where? U.S; a national study that was conducted by Nansel, Overpeck, Simons-Morton, Pilla, and Rúan together with Scheidt in 2001.
Who? Students of various age selected randomly from schools across the country.
When? This research took place in 2009, and this is when the study was published.
How? This study focused on the concept of bullying where researchers were much interested in identifying the general characteristics of bullying by comparing the bullies and the victims. This helped them to understand the nature of bullying, the extent and the effect of bullying on both bullies and victims (Aluede, Adeleke, Omoike, & Afen-Akpaida, 2009).
Why? This was done following the rampant cases of bullying that had been reported in schools across the country. The researchers therefore were keen to unearth the root causes of the problem before they could recommend the rightful course of action.
It was established that 2,701,022 school-age children in Florida were intensively involved in bullying practices (Aluede, et el., 2009).
Some data revealed that bullying is more prvalent among younger teens as compared to older teens meaning that the older the children become, the lesser they are likely to engage in bullying practices.
Further remarks revealed that much more bullying cases were reported among boys than girls, and that teenage boys were much more likely to bully others, as well as being the targets of bullying.
The recommendations made by researchers are a good start in the fight against this vice in schools, as well the entire community. However, the challenge lies in the implementation of these recommendations. Besides, it is not clear whether all the concerned parties may see sense in them. Proper strategies are therefore necessary to provide the correct roadmap for their implementation.
The article has revealed to me how female students are more likely to be endangered in the contemporary society. I however find it critical that much effort is done to shield girls from the consequences of bullying other than merely striving to eradicate the problem completely.
Bullying is bad not because it adversely affects female students, but because it is a bad practice in general. In fact, I see that it may result in serious consequences for the perpetrators because they are the ones who may find themselves in jail in their future lives.
Rigby, K. (2012). Bullying in schools: Addressing desires, not only behaviours. EducPsychol Rev 24, 339–348
Primary Research Article
- Includes abstract, introduction section, conception of bullying as grounded in desire, desires or reasons, implications of focusing on the desires of the bully, actions by schools, social and emotional education, limitations and research implications, conclusions and references.
- This article includes both quantitative and qualitative researches, which pay attention to bullying in schools, whereby it addresses desires as opposed to behaviors.
Where? Pepler and Craig conducted research on Canadian primary schools involving cases of bullying where bystanders were present and passively observed. There were comparatively rare occasions when bystanders were reported to have objected to bulying.
Who? Students being bullied were of various age, which comprised a number with emotional disturbance and those needing special education services.
When? This research took place in 1995.
How? This study focused on the outcomes of bullying that was perpetrated both in the absence and presence of bystanders.
Why? It is expected that when children engage in bullying while adults are watching, the reaction of those adults may tell much about the values that the society instills in their children (Rigby, 2012). The cases when no action was taken indicate that even those adults who were watching could have been the victims of circumstances at some point in their lifetime.
A number of bystanders took responsibility to warn children who perpetrated bullying to desist from that behavior. This was a positive result of the study.
However, in some other cases, bystanders looked entertained by the scene and gazed helplessly as the victims of bullying were being maltreated by the bullies. This was an indication that some adults could have also been victims of this maltreatment or simply came from families where good values were never instilled.
Children who were intercepted by bystanders seemed to heed to the advice and later desisted from bullying as compared to the cases when bystanders cheered them.
Bullying can be a complicated problem to deal with if some adults will be acting as spectators and not offering corrective measures to oppose the vice. Children may delight in the act, especially if they see approval of those adults that are watching them do that.
The article has showed me how much the society may not be willing to cooperate in order to eradicate the vice among the children. However, I find it difficult to rush into finding fault with these bystanders because whatever actions they could have been expected to undertake are not entrenched in the federal laws. The law does not give any authority to any adult to intercept in case a child exhibits morally wrong behavior. In fact, it is the law that overprotects these children and bans corporal punishment altogether.
Rigby, K. (2011). The method of shared concern: A positive approach to bullying in schools. Victoria, AU:
Australian Council for Educational Research.
Primary Research Article
- Includes just a paperback.
- This article is a review of the news in media coverage of schools violence resulting from bullying. It also shows how the subject of bullying has enjoyed tremendous attention in educational and professional development of teachers and school administrators.
Where? The review was based on a certain program which was developed by a Swedish
psychologist Anatol Pikas. It illustrates the method employed in a number of Anglo-Western countries and other countries around the world, including Canada.
Who? Unlike other articles, this review was not aimed at scholars, but rather at teachers and counselors in schools. Written in clear, accessible language, the review is well organized into three major parts.
When? This review was published in the year 2011.
How? This study focused on the cultivating a positive approach to bullying in schools as a way of finding a lasting solution to the problem. This would however be positive if a shared concern was cultivated.
Why? The analysis of discipline referrals from a school was typical example of how schools lacked a thorough method to resolve the problem of bullying. There was a dire need to make a paradigm shift from old traditions of handing the menace to a more reliable and civilized method.
It appeared that many cases of bullying resulted from the way the society is stereotyped in terms of race, socioeconomic classes, and gender among others.
Positive approach to bullying would mean that members of the society embrace a shared concern, which would include addressing all the underlying factors that contribute to bullying either directly or indirectly.
It transpired that solving the problem of bullying could not be solely the responsibility of schools. In fact, schools only portrayed symptoms, but the root cause was the society where the children were taken (Rigby, 2011).
where the children were drawn (Rigby, 2011).
Bullying is more of the society problem than merely a school or individual problem. Much as most of the symptoms erupt in schools, the resolutions may not necessarily be connected with changing the school management. The government also has the responsibility of ensuring a safe society free from bullies. This can be done through proper legislation, where suitable laws are enacted for that matter.
This article has unveiled to me how important it is to approach the problem of bullying with a positive mind and paying attention to both the internal and external causes. I have also learned that major causes of bullying were not in school, much as the symptoms erupted there. Researchers should therefore craft mechanisms of approaching this problem from the point of view of the cause, and not from the one of the symptoms.
Vaillancourt, T., Hymel, S., & McDougall, P. (2013). The biological underpinning of peer victimization: Understanding why and how the effects of bullying can last a lifetime. Theory Into Practice, 52, 241-248.
Primary Research Article
- Includes an introduction section, chapters about neuroscience, neuroendocrinology, genetics, gene X environmental interactions, implications, acknowledgements and references.
- This article is a qualitative research that is based on the media report concerning suicide among the young people, which is related to bullying. It shows the growing appreciation of dealing with the problem.
Where? The research was conducted by Tracy Vaillancourt, a full professor and chair of Canada Research at the University of Ottawa, Shelley Hymel, who is also a full professor at the University of British Columbia together with Patricia McDougall, who is an associate professor, as well as a vice-provost at the University of Saskatchewan.
Who? The research was conducted on children of various age in assorted schools in Canada. This research targeted the areas of neuroendocrinology, neuroscience, and genetics as they sought to show how the effects of bullying could last for a long time in the victims, as well as bullies themselves.
When? This research took place in 2009, and this is when the research was also published.
How? This research indicated how the brain experienced peer victimization in the same way people experienced physical pain. Peer victimization is said to be strongly linked to a dysregulation of the neuroendocrine responses to stress, and hence, the experiences of victimization of peers becomes biologically embedded in the develpoment of human physiology. This eventually puts a person at risk for life-long physical and mental health problems.
Why? The analysis depicts the urgent need for prioritization of the reduction of bullying in institutions and the society at large.
It is seen from the research that bullying indeed causes untold harm to the bully, as well as the victim. This harm may manifest itself in the individuals for a long period and is most likely to dominate their entire life (Vaillancourt, Hymel & McDougall, 2013).
Similarly, it appeared that bullying is consistently coupled with poorer physical and mental health alongside dismal performance in academics concurrently.
Nonetheless, some people still viewed peer bullying as a normal part of growing and as a necessary experience meant to make children tough. This was a weird observation, which the researchers say may have greatly contributed to the persistence of the problem.
Bullying does not only affect victims in school, but its effects may last long after school life. This is because sometimes little or no effort is done to curb the vice since the symptoms usually affect a small fraction of the community. However, if not uprooted early, the problem is bound to grow into a much bigger and more serious issue, which will be much more difficult to deal with. This will be the time when the society becomes aware that it has become a chronic problem.
The article reminds me how useful it is to take serious measure to tackle cases of bullying when they come. Any laxity only perpetuates the problem and eventually makes it difficult to deal with it altogether. However, the article is not clear on the appropriate approaches that can suffice to uproot this vice in the society.
Rigby, K., & Smith, P. K. (2011). Is school bullying really on the rise? SocPsycholEduc 14:441-455.
Primary Research Article
- Includes abstract, reported findings, the international data set, information on cyber-bullying, discussions and references.
- This article is an empirical research that is both qualitative and quantitative. It pays attention to schools seeking to establish the trend of bullying cases in schools. It also discusses how the students interact with each other in cyber space.
Where? This research was conducted in about twenty seven countries in Europe and North American schools with special focus on cyber bullying.
Who? Students of various age.
When? This research took place between 1990 and 2009 before the report was formally published.
How? This study focused on the effectiveness of programs of anti-bullying in the attempt of reducing the practice in schools.
Why? The research sought to discover whether the programs would have had the intended impact or not, and if bullying was on the rise or it would have declined.
From the findings, it was noted that bullying was still prevalent in some of the selected regions, but overall, the trend of bullying in schools was seen to decrease.
However, there were numerous indications that cyber bullying was increasing as compared to the traditional bullying (Rigby & Smith, 2011).
The decreases that are reported in the prevalence of bullying in schools are consistent with reports of minor reductions in peer victimisation as a result of the implementation of programs of anti-bullying in schools world-wide.
School bullying was still a contentious problem in the society. Much as reports illustrate a downward trend in the cases, the problem is reportedly taking a different twist with more cases happening through social media. The mechanisms of solving the problem should therefore take into consideration the factor of technological impact on bullying among school-age children.
I find this article an eye-opener as it changes the perspective of the problem of bullying. To me, it augments the concerns that the problem is bound to become even more complicated as many people around the world embrace technology. It tells me that during my usual lessons of the importance and effects of computer technology, I need to explain the issue of bullying, how it has been propagated through social media and why it should be discouraged.
Furthermore, I envisage many changes in pedagogical approaches, especially now that technology has taken a center stage in education.
Carrera, M. V., DePalma, R., & Lameiras, M. (2011). Toward a more comprehensive understanding of bullying in school settings. EducPsychol Rev 23:479–499.
Primary Research Article
- Includes abstract, introduction section, conceptualization and participant characteristics, limitations of the classical analysis of bullying toward a more comprehensive understanding, approaches to analysis and intervention and references.
- This article includes both qualitative and quantitative researches, paying attention to much more comprehensive ways of understanding bullying in schools and the mechanisms that are set in place to mitigate the impact of the practice both for the bullies and the victims.
The article is basically a critical review of some of the major ways in which education has contributed to research about bullying in schools. The article first dscribes the classic concept of bullying, which includes a number of bullies and victims that received particular attention, as well as describing what they considered to be the major limitations of the predominant academic and professional discourses.
The research included three concerns: the restrictive definition that was adopted, a pathologizing dychotomy of bully–victim and an approach of gender-blind or genderessentialist to that of gender difference. Finally, they made a proposal about a conceptual shift toward a comprehensive understanding which shoud be based on poststructuralist and constructivist perspectives on gender.
It transpired that bullies usually exhibit various characteristics which are very easy to be spotted by teachers who are vigilant and in control. The majority of the bullies would display an aggressive personality as they interact with their peers or even with teachers. This would be seen in the manner in which they react to situations. If, for instance, a friend accidentally stepped on him or her, they would respond by kicking, pinching or even slapping them.
Besides, bullies are said to be usually violent. This would be seen when they sometimes hit, beat, push or drag their friends without any reason. They tend to derive joy and satisfaction from hurting others. At the same time, this violence goes hand in hand with abuses. Most bullies who are violent are also quick to say something slanderous, obscene and vulgar to add to the physical pain that they would have inflicted on their victims (Carrera, DePalma, & Lameiras, 2011).
Bullying is done for a number of reasons and in a number of ways. A child can be said to be a bully when he or she teases others, inflicting physical and emotional injuries on them. They might do this for fun or due to certain forces driving them, but the fact remains that such behaviors really irritate and usually have far-reaching effects, especially on the victims of circumstance. In most cases, bullies manifest themselves in school environments because that is where they easily identify targets which are unlikely to retaliate.
This article tells me how the school environment can sometimes favor bullying behavior, especially if I am not quite vigilant to notice the peculiarities in the traits of students. This means that many cases of bullying would therefore go unreported and subsequently unpunished.
The article illustrates the inevitable dire consequences for both the victim and the perpetrators, which are ensued forthwith or later in their lives. This means that as a teacher, I ought to take necessary measures to deal with this menace before it becomes chronic.
These articles in general depict the extent to which bullying is regarded as an unacceptable practice that should be eradicated from the schools by all means. As a teacher, I should adopt and embrace varied systems to approach this problem from the causal point. This can only be effective if it is adopted and applied when children are still in their tender age. Research has proven such system as PUBS provided more positive results when applied to children under ten years old than teenagers. This is because by the time children become teenagers, their behavior is already formed, and it is difficult to instill into them new forms of behavior. Furthermore, they may also grapple with mixed feelings and emotions, which are associated with adolescence.
The researches portrayed in the aforementioned articles reveal the worrying trend in the consequences of bullying among the school-age children. Although the overall outlook reveals that the cases of bullying have in the recent past declined, there is likelihood that with the current technology, bullying is likely to take a different direction and get entrenched much through social media.
Technology is dynamic, and children of school age are the ones who are more attracted to it because there is a myriad of applications that are children-targeted. This calls for much vigilance again and further strategies that incorporate the technological means of tackling the problem of bullying. Otherwise, the underlying concern from all the articles is that the lasting solution to bullying should only be sought through focusing on the causal effects and as a collective responsibility of all the concerned parties in the society. Teachers are only of the receiving end of the consequences and may not be able to do much alone.