Not according to Izzy Kalman, school psychologist and psychotherapist, who has developed a program to reduce bullying by teaching kids (and adults) not to be victims. "The problem is not bullying. The problem is not knowing how to handle bullying.. The most dangerous people, both to themselves and to others, are people who think like victims. Bullies don't commit suicide or shoot up schools. Victims do these things. If you think like a victim, you will be bullied by people throughout your life. You will be made miserable by your bosses and spouses and children." Click here for the text of Kalman's interview with Education World.
A companion piece from Education World about the worst kind of classroom bullies--teachers. The article reads in part:
"Educators let students know they care.
Bullies let students know who's boss.
Educators teach self-control.
Bullies exert their own control.
Educators set ironclad expectations.
Bullies rule with whims of steel.
Educators diffuse minor disruptions with humor.
Bullies use sarcasm to turn disruptions into confrontations."
The anti-bullying movement in the schools is a piece on the warm fuzzy self-esteem movement. An August 8 piece at CNN.com suggests that the self-esteem movement is just as wrong-headed as the anti-bullying programs. "Rather than imparting self-esteem, some experts believe this gives kids an unhealthy sense of entitlement.
"Self-esteem comes from those feelings you have about yourself for a job well done, for when you have achieved something," says Dr. Georgette Constantinou, administrative director of pediatric psychiatry at Akron Children's Hospital in Ohio. "It's not something you pour into your children."
My thoughts? Kids know when they're given a trophy just for showing up. If they have no incentive to work hard, they don't. So we're training an entire generation to do the bare minimum to get by then to feel entitled to the same rewards as everyone else. Is this really what we intended?