Verbal abuse can be defined as a kind of abuse that mainly use language as a tool of inflicting psychological harm to the victim. While verbal abuse is generally perceived as a way of abusing somebody through oral communication, the definition has been broadened to include written texts. While verbal abuse may not show physical signs and its impact vary from individual to individual, it is bound to affect the individuals self esteem, emotional status as well as his physical state as time passes by.
The abuser may be a person who is faced with issues He or she cannot deal with and thus is faced with a status of feeling down and to a large extent will try to ensure that the victim feels the same way to free his conscience. It may also be brought about by a feeling of superiority and thus trying to explore every available avenue to assert his authority. While verbal abuse has been reported to be more rampant in schools, the vice has been finding place in learning institutions. While verbal abuse can be addressed legally, the situation is different when we are dealing with a school setting unless the abuse is very serious (Anderson, Para.
4). In schools verbal abuse has largely taken the form of bullying. Bullying in this concept incorporates name calling, fighting and also sarcastic comments by a student directed to the other with an objective of harming his self esteem. This paper is basically going to try to explore the means of addressing the menace of bullying in schools. While it is the responsibility of the teacher to ensure the safety and wellbeing of his students, he also has an obligation of ensuring that the self esteem and emotions of the students are not hurt by other students or by anybody within the institution.
My interest in finding a way of dealing with this menace stems from the fact that, I am bound to be a middle school teacher yet I realize that my postgraduate education has not equipped me with means and strategies of curbing verbal abusive behavior in a classroom setting. I am going to explore in a stepwise manner, the possible ways and means of identifying and conclusively addressing this issue. It is now an undisputed fact that bullying in schools has hit an all time high and equally worrying levels.
Bullying cannot be tolerated in a learning institution as it is bound to hamper the main objective of the institution, which is academic progress. Authorities have been exerting pressure on schools to contain the situation. This has generated the need for action from the teaching fraternity. First and foremost we need to agree on what bullying entails. While bullying is bound to have certain similarities with aggression, they are not one and the same thing. Bullying is regarded as a behavior that is bound to hurt the victim and is usually directed by powerful individuals to their less privileged counterparts.
The difference in the powers of these individuals is great and as such it cannot be synonymous with the quarreling that takes place between people of almost equal strength. The stronger party is normally referred to as the bully. Bullying takes the form of oppression (Davis, Para. 6). A teacher has to be well aware of the various forms the act of bullying can exist. This may range from physical to psychological harm. It may also assume a direct form such as hitting or name calling or still acquire an indirect form such as exclusion or spreading rumors about somebody.
While the form bullying takes is bound to vary from school to school, a teacher should know the kind of bullying that can probably take place in their institution. Since we have seen that bullying normally takes place where there are power imbalances, it is the responsibility of the teacher to identify the possible areas that such imbalances are. The teacher is also supposed to justify himself by stating the reasons why he thinks these actions are unjustified (Ruthrauff, Para. 10). The teacher needs to be keen on the institution to establish the manner in which their school community interacts.
This can be done by observing students when they are playing, observing the manner in which teachers treat one another, the way teachers treat students and the manner in which they interact with the parents. Basically the aim of such observations may be to determine where power excesses exist and the manner in which they are exercised and possibly abused. Such observations can also be complemented with the administration of questionnaires to students, teachers and parents. This will help in understanding how these people perceive bullying and the manner in which they think the issue can be addressed (Davis, Para.
9). It is at this point that an all-encompassing action plan can be formulated. This may take the form of drafting a policy that is aimed at combating bullying. The formulation of such a policy requires the participation of representatives of the parents and teachers. This is necessary to bring out the sense of belonging of everybody in the making of such a policy. This sense of belonging will aid in adherence to the policy. Such a policy has to take a certain form. It should declare the stand of the institution towards bullying out rightly.
This will provide the justification for some of the measures adopted in the policy. The document should clearly define what the institution considers as bullying. This can be accompanied with illustrations. The document should also declare that it is the right of every member of the school community not to be bullied. It should go ahead to suggest the possible action each of the individuals in the school community should take to prevent such kind of occurrence. The policy should also state the possible measures the institution is bound to take upon the perpetrators of such acts.
The policy can be concluded by undertaking to ensure that the policy is evaluated in future to incorporate and modify measures that are not conclusively addressed in the document (Anderson, Para. 7). The teacher is then expected to hold discussions at classroom level to find the way forward. The discussion can be carried out with individual students, in groups or both. It is also clear that bullies are not very popular among students. This makes the work even easier as one is sure of cooperation once the teacher convinces the students that they can help come up with ways of overcoming these people.
The teacher should convince the students not restrict their feelings on bullying but should turn them into actions that are aimed to shun bullying whenever it is bound to occur. In this process they will be able to help a potential victim of bullying. The students should be encouraged to befriend and play with students who are victims of bullying. A sense of togetherness should be fostered between the students and the teachers with the aim of fighting the menace (Piotrowski & Hoot, p. 12). This can be achieved by creating role plays about a bullying incidence and in the process educating the students on the right course of action.
Students can be told to come up with an essay on the conflicts they have witnessed within the institution. There are also videos that are commercially available and show incidences of bullying. The students can be shown such videos as demonstrations. Problems about cases of bullying can be presented to students and be required to come up with solutions. Discussion forums can be organized within the learning institutions, such forums are supposed to bring together like minded student and teachers in their quest to eradicate bullying.
The members of such groups can thus provide the missing link between the teachers and the students. By virtue of the fact that such students are much closer to the other students than the staff members, they are bound to know exactly how bullying is rampant within the institution and also the perpetrators of such acts (Rigby, Para. 9). Students are always in the process of learning and by virtue of this fact; it is worth demonstrating to them behaviors that are worth emulating. The way the staff behaves will form the basis of interaction between the students.
The teachers should not bully the students; they should monitor the behaviors of students to eradicate bullying culture before it grows. They should offer moral support to students who have been bullied. A teacher is also supposed to engage other members of staff in the event that bullying cases are reported. The manner in which a teacher deals with a bullying incident goes a long way into dictating whether this vice is going to persist or if it is going to be eradicated. While the gravity of such incidences always vary with some being very serious, no case should be left unattended to if we have an objective to uproot the vice.
The perpetrators should be engaged in dialogues without threatening them. The teacher shows the perpetrator how he is concerned for the victim and agrees with the bully to act in a manner that will be a remedy for the damage that has been done. This method is usually referred to the Method of Shared Concern; it was formulated by Anatol Pikas. The method has been reported to be very successful provided the subsequent actions of the bully are monitored. Incase no positive change is witnessed, then non-physical sanctions should be used (Rigby, Para. 4).
Students who are victims of such kind of abuse should be assisted but above all they should be trained to have solutions to their problems on their own. The teachers are supposed to work hand in hand with the parents, especially the students who are perpetrators of such acts. Such students should also be dealt with by the school authority.
Anderson, Kerby. Verbal Abuse. Retrieved on 8th February, 2010. From: http://www. leaderu. com/orgs/probe/docs/verbalabuse. html Davis, Stan. Best practices in bullying prevention- helping youth change aggressive behavior.Retrieved on 8th February, 2010. From: http://www. stopbullyingnow. com Piotrowski, Debra and Hoot, James. Bullying and Violence in Schools: What Teachers Should Know and Do. Childhood Education, Vol. 84, 2008. Rigby, Ken. Bullying in school: guidelines for effective action. Retrieved on 8th February, 2010. From: http://www. kenrigby. net/bguide2. htm Ruthrauff, Pauline, D. How to Manage Verbal Abuse. Retrieved on 8th February, 2010 from: http://library. adoption. com/articles/how-to-manage-verbal-abuse. html
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