Contributed by Domenic Urso (Teacher Candidate)
Today, the Comprehensive School Health cohort had the pleasure of attending another wonderful workshop. The presentation, given by Dr. David Smith, focused on a subject area that affects each and every person in the education system: bullying.
Bullying can be defined as unprovoked aggression repeatedly directed at a weaker victim. However, as Dr. Smith pointed out, there is much more behind this simple definition. In order to set the tone of the discussion, we were introduced to the topic through a video called “To This Day”. This short clip was powerful to say the least. I believe that students, parents, teachers, principals, and anyone else linked to the education system should be exposed to this video because it transmits a real, emotional message about the serious problem that is known as bullying.
Take a look for yourself. Here is the link to “To This Day”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltun92DfnPY
As we dug deeper into this problem, Dr. Smith showed us that bullying is essentially a relationship problem. Think about it: our lives are made up of so many diverse relationships which we carry around with us day after day. Whether it is with a relationship with our parents, our romantic partners, our peers, our colleagues – or in this case, with bullies – they always remain present in our lives and they strongly affect us in various ways. Consequently, any relationship problem that we face can be detrimental to our health.
As a teacher candidate, it is important to realize that having a good relationship with students can be a great way to diminish the presence and the effects of bullying. As Dr. Smith pointed out, “warm, secure attachments with teachers help children develop positive peer relationships”. Although we probably cannot stop this problematic entirely, being a trustworthy and caring teacher is a great first step towards helping children that need to reach out to in times of need.
The final aspect that was touched upon in the workshop was the significance of school climate, which is ultimately characterized by relationships: student to student, student to teacher, teacher to teacher. The four components of school climate – safety, relationships, teaching and learning, and physical environment – play a big role in everyone’s relationship within the school. Therefore, it is important to ensure that these components are addressed with positivity in order to reflect proper values.
Due to time constraints, Dr. Smith could not get through his entire presentation; however, it was an interesting and enriching experience nonetheless. I believe that everyone who attended the workshop was able to take away some valuable information. I would strongly recommend this informative workshop to other schools in order to learn more about this subject. What we learned today will definitely be useful in our future endeavors as teachers, as we aim to prevent this ever-present problem known as bullying.
For more information on the subject, visit http://www.prevnet.ca/, where you can find plenty of resources and other interesting material.