A new paradigm to end bullying

…In a now famous experiement, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson told elementary school teachers that a group students had been tested and were on the verge of tremendous intellectual growth. Two years later, many of those students performed better on intelligence tests than other similar students. The two groups of children were actually no different. The only difference between the higher and lower performing students was the teachers’ expectations…

expectations about children’s behavior and social success is subject to the same phenomenon. A nurturing teacher who connects with and understands a child creates a very different experience of school than does a teacher who is often frustrated or annoyed by that child…

…Children who are mistreated at school suffer both emotionally and academically as they increasingly need to pull their attention away from learning in order to focus on merely surviving the painful ordeal of school…

…To put a fine point on it, aggressors, not targets, are the cause of aggressive behavior. Interestingly, as if by magic, when aggressive behavior is eliminated often “overreactions” are, too.

…Spending the necessary time supporting the child who is struggling socially not only mitigates the potential damage done to that target of aggression, it also models compassionate behavior, and creates an environment in which bullying tends to decrease…

Successful models for creating a culture of kindness start with responding to every instance of unkindness. (Yes, you read that correctly. EVERY instance of unkindness.) Researchers at The Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center have found that small, disrespectful and derisive behaviors that teachers tend to write off as not worth their time (such as children laughing at a child, whispering, or rolling their eyes) are “gateway behaviors” that lead to more aggressive behaviors and bullying….

The approach is so successful in eliminating not only bullying, but even name-calling and small unkindnesses, that a new fifth-grade student at a Responsive School asked, “Why is everyone so nice here?”  …

Source: When to Sweat the Small Stuff | Psychology Today