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Why School Anti-Bullying Programs Don't Work [Kindle Edition]

Stuart W. Twemlow
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This book serves as a guide for readers interested in improving school climate. Using 15 years of consultation and research in a variety of United States and foreign schools, the authors strip down the elements needed to create a healthy and productive school climate. The book challenges many commonly held notions about violence prevention and outlines a simple and inexpensive formula for creating sustained change in any school. The book stresses understanding of the underlying processes involved in the bully-victim-bystander power dynamics, the value of altruism, and the use of natural leaders to begin and sustain change in a school climate.

A note on the book's cover: Positive vibrations is taken from a Bob Marley song: "Rastaman vibration positive, you can't live that negative way." The song rallies people to be positive and strong, and to speak honestly and stand up for their rights, while taking care of themselves. Although jamaican in origin, it has universal application to be a gentle warrior in one's personal life for the good of self and others.


Editorial Reviews

Review

This is an important book. Building on years of K-12 school-based research and school improvement efforts, the authors describe a framework and a series of linked goals that are both wise and practical. In fact, Twemlow and Sacco were two of the first people in America to focus on the critical role that bystanders play in bully-victim behavior . If you truly care about promoting safe, caring and responsible schools, read this book. (Jonathan Cohen Ph.D., National School Climate Center, Teachers College, Columbia University)

Stuart Twemlow and Frank Sacco have devoted decades to understanding conscious and unconscious individual and group processes that lead to aggressive behavior and tragedy in schools. In this book they send us a clear message: It is not any one violence prevention method that is important; it is how people-students, parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders-implement it that matters. They suggest no quick-fix, but delve deeper, exploring how emotional attitudes and actions of persons or groups dovetail to set the stage for either tragic outbreaks or an atmosphere of safety in schools. What makes this book powerful and refreshing is the authors' outspoken discussion of issues that are usually denied. These topics range from an examination of the consequences of shame and humiliation, to the fallacy of the "zero tolerance concept," to the role of the internet in changing today's youth culture...Not only should this book be read by anyone who is concerned with school safety, it has value for anyone who wishes to understand how destructive human behavior can be inflamed or tamed. (Vamik D. Volkan M.D., professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA and the author of Killing in the Name of Identity: Stories of Bloody Conflicts.)

Preventing school violence and bullying is one of the most important priorities for educational systems in the developed countries. This book sets out interesting viewpoints, and practical steps, focussing strongly on the kinds of relationships involved in bullying behaviours. It will be useful for all concerned with taking action in this area. (Peter K Smith, PhD, head, Unit for School and Family Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, U.K.)

Representing a decade and a half of conscientious bully prevention research and program development, Twemlow presents an excellent overview of their Peaceful School Program intervention and impact. They illustrate myths and fallacies of bullying and explain in detail how to develop effective connections and collaboration with schools - program buy-in - that is essential for any program to have an impact. They provide an overview of understanding the process of creating school climate change and teacher engagement including approaching the problem by understanding power struggles and how the entire social climate must change to impact the problem. They explain the concept of mentalization and how important this construct is for impacting bullying, and methods to engage in indentifying, evaluating, and acting to reduce the problem of bullying in classrooms and schools. Their specific steps for establishing a game plan of clear, easy to follow, and well-studied processes guide educators through the course ofaction for effective change. They also describe how to discuss undiscussables - those touchy subjects, such as teacher or administrator bullying, that maintain the problem and have to be understood for comprehensive change to occur. Their review of mea (Arthur Horne, PhD, interim dean, College of Education, University of Georgia)

Drs. Twemlow and Sacco cogently and provocatively address the "undiscussables" in the bullying intervention literature. This book challenges us to think about the complexity of bullying behaviors and not to over-simplify the challenges facing educators, students, and parents. To truly stop bullying, we have to embrace a cultural shift where compassion, respect, and altruism are the solid underpinnings of every school climate, and all adults and students collectively "live" these ideals. Under these conditions, bullying simply will not exist. (Dr. Susan M. Swearer, associate professor of School Psychology, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, co-editor: Bullying in American Schools: A Social-Ec)

We learned that what you [do] to change a school [is] secondary to how you [do] it, and that the most powerful tool in changing a school is the 'buy in' of teachers." Society has to 'buy in' too. This book is eye opening and gives a stark view of social systems where, in large sectors of our youth, violence is power and power dynamics govern the behaviors of many among them. The authors emphasize that the actions of crime-perpetrators and victims are facilitated and contained, even while they are mentalized, by its bystanders. Bystanders at all levels of social groups are, passive or not, participants of crime. While the authors do not say so, it leads one to ask if the bystander is nearly as much responsible for a crime as the perpetrator. The study on which this book reports addressed "ways of changing a school's climate using a randomized, controlled study …[which involved] nine schools and thousands of children." The book, dedicated to "Educators all over the planet…," is rich in powerful insights into what really makes for a safe school and an unsafe school. For those who think they know, this is a wake-up call. Things are not always what they look like from a surface sweep. Twemlow and Sacco deserve society's attention and psychoanalysis' praise. Educational administrators, educators at all levels - principals, teachers and coaches - , as well as social scientists - sociologists, socially concerned psychiatrists, psychologists and psychoanalysts -, social historians, clergy and others have to read this book. And, oh yes, State Governors and City Mayors would be wizened by it. (Henri Parens, MD)

Representing a decade and a half of conscientious bully prevention research and program development, Twemlow presents an excellent overview of their Peaceful School Program intervention and impact. They illustrate myths and fallacies of bullying and explain in detail how to develop effective connections and collaboration with schools - program buy-in - that is essential for any program to have an impact. They provide an overview of understanding the process of creating school climate change and teacher engagement including approaching the problem by understanding power struggles and how the entire social climate must change to impact the problem. They explain the concept of mentalization and how important this construct is for impacting bullying, and methods to engage in indentifying, evaluating, and acting to reduce the problem of bullying in classrooms and schools. Their specific steps for establishing a game plan of clear, easy to follow, and well-studied processes guide educators through the course of action for effective change. They also describe how to discuss "undiscussables" - those touchy subjects, such as teacher or administrator bullying, that maintain the problem and have to be understood for comprehensive change to occur. Their review of measures of bullying, and the examples of surveys, are very informative and user-friendly. In short, this is a book for all people interested in reducing bullying in schools and communities.The authors' use of clear examples from their work in schools ranging from kindergarten to high school, combined with their focus on changing the school climate through respectful and conscientious engagement with teachers, and a program carefully constructed to address the concerns of the specific school, provides the reader with an excellent understanding of the current state of bullying in schools as well as hands-on methods for engaging schools and communities to effectively address the problem. This is an excellent engagement in the bully prevention process and one (Arthur Horne, PhD, interim dean, College of Education, University of Georgia)

It is by now widely recognized that bullying is both a major form of school violence, and a major cause of even more violent responses on the part of the victims, from suicides to homicides. Traditional attempts to minimize how damaging bullying is have ranged from one extreme to the other — from "It never happens here" to "Bullying occurs universally and always has, so it can't be too bad." Fortunately, thanks in part to the work reported over the past several years by the authors of this book, most of us now realize how badly both of those rationalizations distort reality. This new book by some of the leading experts and pioneers in the field of bullying prevention...is a welcome addition to the literature on this subject: it is the product of extensive experience, perceptive observation and wise reflection, and should be of immense practical help to everyone concerned with this problem, which ultimately includes all of us — parents, teachers, school boards, administrators, and most of all, our children — who are, after all, our future. I commend this book to everyone who cares about the future of this country and, indeed, every country. (James Gilligan, MD, professor, New York University; author, Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic and Preventing Violence)

[This book] is a comprehensive look at the myths related to past programs, and it presents a new, radically different program....With an academic tone, each chapter tackles a challenging aspect of understanding bullying and violence....Drawing on numerous international studies, this book's universal appeal is both provocative and in-depth....a rich resource for addressing both the dynamics and the personal nature of bullying. (Foreword Reviews, October 2008)

About the Author

Stuart W. Twemlow is professor of psychiatry at Baylor College Medicine.

Frank C. Sacco is president of the Community Services Institute, Agawam & Boston (MA).

Product Details

  • File Size: 1448 KB
  • Print Length: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (August 15, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00260GAJM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,208,941 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
it debunks myths and false beliefs, describes the complexity, and gives effective and equally complex solutions wise, compassionate, articulate and very meaningful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another in the series of must reads re children February 6, 2014
By Budster
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have implemented many programs and efforts to deal with Bullying. None is clearer than this book. If used along with The Essential Social Curriculum by Tom Grove, Bye Bye bullying, hello a value driven kind caring joyful school for all.
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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This Book Has Limitations August 12, 2012
Format:Hardcover
This book has limitations because it does not take the powerful influence of violent media and combat video games into account. My book, "School Violence - Crisis and Opportunity," takes these influences into account and goes one step further. It includes a chapter about brain response to violent video games, which neuroscientists call "systematic desensitization machines." The book's website is [...]
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