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The Forum > Article Comments > Home education can help prevent bullying > Comments

Home education can help prevent bullying : Comments

By Susan Wight, published 29/12/2005

Susan Wight argues home education is an answer to bullying

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Bullying amongst school students is a vital educational issue and home schooling may be a good alternative, at least temporarily. I am also interested in the more recently expressed notion that extends this concept to include bullying which often occurs in schools, towards teachers from students.

As a well-experienced teacher I have experienced this type of bullying. I am well aware that many other teachers have suffered similarly. Student bullying has also caused teacher suicide.

This concept must be discussed in its wider context as an unacceptable form of social aggression. It probably underpins such negative behaviour as 'road rage', workplace harassment and violent 'street gang' demonstrations.

The focus of bullying has been mostly directed towards children and their school peers. This focus must be widened. Teachers and others need protection from bullies too. The law does attempt to protect citizens and workers in adult employment and public situations, but teachers within their classrooms are often left powerless against child bullies. They are too often expected to 'deal with aggression' from such children in their care. Their professional credibility and authority is often questioned if they appear unable to 'deal' successfully with this problem on their own. They have few tools available to 'deal' with bully behaviour successfully. Senior school staff very often cannot or do not want to 'deal' with the problem either. Teachers are loathe to admit defeat and to speak out.

Some schools are now using video surveillance in all classrooms to monitor classroom behaviour. This strategy should be used in all school classrooms. This is not a 'big brother'tactic so much as a potentially protective measure for all people engaged in the education environment, if and when unacceptable behaviour occurs.

Classroom bullies could be 'caught on film' and if necessary, their parents could be shown clearly how their children are behaving in class. The onus could be returned to parents, to also 'deal' with their own child's antisocial behaviour. Too often a bully will attempt to emotionally destroy his peers as well as his teachers. Teachers need to be included in the bullying equation too! Urgently!
Posted by banpokies1, Thursday, 29 December 2005 11:05:44 AM
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Although homeschooling could sometimes be appropriate in most cases it would surely be better to sort out the problem. Teaching our children to basically run away from bullies neither provides them with the skills needed in adult life nor helps remediate the bully. Child bullies are likely to end up as adult bullies either in gangs or in the workplace. They are also most likely to bully another child once the victim has moved on. The majority of children are not bullies and it is in the childs interest to learn how to interact socially with their peers. Bullies generally carry out their intimidation in groups and it would be more successful to separate them from their mates than just remove the victim.
Posted by sajo, Thursday, 29 December 2005 1:34:51 PM
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Why is it that schools seem to generate the sort of environments that foster bullying. Even with the best intentions, bullying still goes on, every single day. Many schools do have their bullying policies, and claim that there is no bullying in the school because they have a policy to deal with it. However, despite the policies, bullying is rarely addressed properly, and when parents complain, the issues are rarely dealt with and the bullying often intensifies. I too have heard that home education is the best way out for many families suffering from unaddressed bullying. It is interesting with bullying on the rise, that the State Government would now seem to be legislating to stop this avenue of escape for many families. By making it harder for families to leave the system, and remove their children from a dangerous environment, the State Government is actually putting bullied children at greater risk. Also I have been reading lately that the new Education Act, will have children attending school all the hours it is open for instruction, which means that parents will not be able to give their children even a days respite from the daily torment of bullying.
Posted by Nicola, Thursday, 29 December 2005 3:07:28 PM
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Sajos comment that; "it in most cases it would surely be better to sort out the problem. Teaching our children to basically run away from bullies neither provides them with the skills needed in adult life nor helps to remediate the bully", belongs in an Enid Blyton book. It is this sort of nave, antiquated and reactionary type of thinking that perpetuates the bullying problem in our schools. Susan Wight and the other home educators should be congratulated for looking for a better way for their children.
It is sad that there are some in our society so bound by the convention of mass education, (which is only a 200 year young tradition), that they are unable to appreciate those who have the courage of their convictions to try a different way.
Posted by TonyC, Thursday, 29 December 2005 6:05:05 PM
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The Bayswater Primary School principal states that - bullying is openly repeated behaviour designed to have a negitive affect on those you are bullying. Some of the signs of bullying he mentions are social isalation, school refusal, low academic achievment, and depression. These signs are not a problen in home educated children, in fact research suggests the opposite. HSLDA America states 74% of home educated students complete college education compared with 46% of general students. 71% of home educated adults are involved in their community compared to 37% of traditionally educated adults. L.E. Shyers(1992 A comparision of social adjustment between home and traditionally educated children) states home educated children demonstated higher assertiveness and self concept, and less problem behaviour as a means of resolving social issues than traditionally educated children. M.M Ddelahooke ( Home educated children's social and emotional adjustment 1986) says home educated children are well adjusted and less peer dependant. Thomas Asserton (1995 Home education - Distance education without the distance) states - home educated children are socially advantaged,demonstate strong self concept, good social adjustment, are less peer dependant and can interact with all age groups confidently. Professor Roger Hunter from Griffith University in Queensland ( 1994 ) notes the resurgence of home schooling and its significant growth. He estimates in 1994 there were approx 10,000 homeschoolers with an annual increase of 20%. It seems that a lot of parents think that homeschooling is a stable,safe and more socially aware way to educate their children. Perhaps the Victorian government should look at following home educators examples rather than trying to bring in new legislation that will bring home education under their laws and rules that have proven themselves to be an inefficent way to educate children. The 2005 - 2006 budget report states - that in year 10 alone 19% of victorian state school students can't read, 18% of victorian state school students can't write ( how is this possible ) 27% of victorian state school students can't do maths. These are not the results that parents expect when they entrust their children to the government state schools.
Posted by lilian, Thursday, 29 December 2005 6:39:07 PM
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Home schooling is an alternative solution that should be available to any parent. There are solutions that would greatly reduce bullying. Teachers cannot do it alone, they must have the support of administraters and parents. Administraters must have the support and help of the community and parents. Solutions begin with bystanders becoming involved (they must be taught how) and with having strong leadership who will handle the incidents without having the concern of losing their job.

At www.stoppingschoolviolence.com there is a resource to help parents and teachers. I do agree with the teacher who claimed bullying of teachers is a concern. It is getting out of hand and they're being bullied by students and parents. Unless all adults work together solving this epidemic will take a long time.
Posted by Randel, Thursday, 29 December 2005 11:22:29 PM
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