THE class and has no friends around him apparently.

THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG

FACULTY OF EDUCATION

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BBED4002 Understanding and Guiding

Whole-Person Development

Video Case Analysis

 

 

The video
“This is Not a Game” is about an adolescent called Lee Wai Ho being physically
and verbally bullied during recess and lunch time in school. This video shows
the phenomenon of bullying among adolescents in school. Therefore, to attain an
in-depth understanding on school bullying, this essay will focus on analysing
the developmental problems faced by the students and suggest intervention
strategies that can be applied to the issue of school bullying.

 

In order
to understand the bully’s behavior, Erikson’s (1968) psychoanalytic approach in
analysing the stages of psychosocial development is suitable. The students in
the video are experiencing the fifth stage of Erikson’s stages of psychosocial
development, which is Identity versus Role Confusion (Erikson, 1968). According to Erikson (1968), adolescents may
start to be confused or insecure about themselves and how to be accepted by the
society, so in the process of pondering and establishing a sense of self;
adolescents may attempt to experiment with different roles, behaviours, and
activities. During this changing phase of human development, they are apt to
confuse the roles and their behaviours may be impulsive and unpredictable. The video shows three parties of students who were
directly or indirectly involved in the bullying; they are the victim, the
bullies, and the witnesses respectively. The “bullying triangle”, suggested by
Sullivan, Cleary, and Sullivan (2004), which represents the bully, victim, and
witness on each peak of an equilateral triangle. The meaning behind this
triangle is that each party shares equal standing in a school bullying case. The
following part is to discuss how each party’s developmental problems caused an
incident of bullying and vice versa.

 

Lee, the
victim of the school bullying, may lack social and interpersonal skills, which
along with low Emotional Intelligence leads to his friendless school life. In
the video, he doesn’t fit into the class and has no friends around him
apparently. He is always sitting alone in his own seat during recess and lunchtime
whereas other students were playing in groups. When Lee was bullied, he did not
choose to avoid confronting the group of bullies and his verbal attack against
the bullies just triggered the outbreak of bullying. He is also emotionally
unstable and bad tempered since he threw his book away and thumped his fist on
the table after the bullies had left. Moreover, there are no classmates
stepping forward to help Lee because Lee is not recognised as a friend of
theirs, but an acquaintance at most. Lee is the victim because his poor
interpersonal and social skills unfortunately lead him to be an easy target for
those bullies in the class. During this stage, adolescents’ social
relationships will take a particularly important part in shaping their identity
(Erikson, 1968). However, Lee cannot develop a sense of self or healthy
self-esteem because he does not have any proper and adequate interactions with
his peers due to experiencing social rejection during class. Apart from his
psychological development, Lee’s cognitive development might be affected too
because Vygotsky (1978) stated that the fundamental importance of social
interaction in the development of cognition in a sociocultural approach. In
this social environment, Lee will just be more and more unsociable and eccentric
because of social isolation and bully, and it will finally become a vicious cycle.

The weaker attributes Lee gets, the easier Lee gets bullied (Juvonen and
Graham, 2001).

 

The bullies
also face developmental problems during the adolescence stage of psychosocial development that
cause their bullying behaviour. They represent
the negative outcomes of this stage; displaying characteristics such as a lack of social skills, negative
self-esteem, and role confusion. In fact, some adolescents become bullies in
school because of the negative influence from their family social environment.

According to Newman, Horne, and Bartolomucci (2000), if an adolescent is raised
by neglectful or abusive parents, he/she might have low level of cognitive and
behavioral development. These kinds of families will cause the adolescents to have role confusion because
their parents never guide them to explore the roles they will play in the adult
world and correct their misbehaviours when they are figuring out existential questions
such as “Who Am I” and “What Can I Be”. Thus, those adolescents will become
bullies because they are eager to gain self-esteem and attention so try to fill
a powerful role by dominating or manipulating others in schools which is
another major social environment for adolescents. (Ross, 1996). Moreover, some
students in the video call one of the bullies “Master Hei” in the video, it
shows that some students in the group of the bullies bullied Lee because of
peer pressure and obtaining social approval from the powerful student in the
class. It can be assumed that some students become bullies because they want to
avoid falling victim to bullying.

 

The bystanders
in the video are some female classmates and they did not attach any importance
to the bullying incident. Some of them are sympathetic and criticise those
bullies secretly; some furtively laugh at Lee instead; however, no one stands
up for Lee. From the video, it can be seen that the classroom atmosphere is
slightly threatening because those bullies are physically stronger and act like
gangsters. It is inevitable for those girls to passively accept the bullying
incident because they want to protect themselves as well as fit into the
classroom environment, but the bullies will just abuse others more blatantly.

The bystanders will also suffer negative consequences themselves. For example,
they might feel overwhelmingly guilty because they did not intervene the
bullying; besides, they might also be overly afraid of being the next victims.

The bystanders might eventually either choose to associate with those bullies
or avoid any social events because of fear and it brings damaging impacts to
their psychological and cognitive development during the adolescence stage.

 

If I were the
class teacher in the class shown in the video, I would use both remedial and preventive
intervention strategies to help those adolescents in school bullying.

 

Firstly, if I
found out Lee was bullied by others, I would make sure he is not physically injured,
and immediate remedial actions should be taken. As Lee is already being
isolated in the class, I would not bring up the bullying incidents in front of
the whole class. It would just put Lee in a more dangerous situation because
the bullies might think that Lee had reported to me. Since Lee has poor
self-esteem and little trust of other people, I would offer him individual
counselling to make him feel cared about and first establish the trust between
us. Further, I would ensure him to believe that I have the authority to
intervene the bullying incident. In the regular counselling sessions later on,
I would help him build up self-esteem which he urgently needs in this
adolescence stage and deal with his negative emotions caused by being bullied. Plus,
if necessary, I might have to seek for more professional counselling advice
from school-based social workers.

 

Remedial programmes
are not only for victims; individual counselling should be offered to the
bullies as well. As mentioned before, the bullies might grew up in a poor family
social environment, so teachers should be understanding and empathetic because bullies
are also the victims in the family. They need attention and guidance from
adults so that they can get back on the right track in psychological and
cognitive development.

 

In Lee’s case,
more than one bully was involved in bullying behaviour, as suggested by Garrett
(2012), teachers should talk to each bully in quick succession separately
because they might minimise and limit their behaviour. The more serious
implication is that these bullies share the same value that violence is
entertaining also a tool to solve problems. Therefore, teachers need to discern
why the bullying happened, educate them to be more empathetic for the victims,
and foster correct values during the counselling sessions for the bullies.

Teachers should uphold a serious attitude towards those bullies by telling them
zero tolerance for school bullying and let them bear the consequences for
bullying behaviour.

 

Apart from
counselling for the students, the immediate remedial work at the classroom
level is also important. It can be speculated from the video that the teachers
in Lee’s school are negligent and irresponsible since there are no teachers
intervening during the bullying. This is due to insufficient supervision in the
classroom; the area where most bullying occurs. Moreover, those bullies paint
Lee’s book, but what makes him most concerned is to be blamed by teachers. Therefore,
I would kindly ask school prefects to patrol more frequently in Lee’s classroom
during recess and lunch time and report to me if they suspect a bullying
incident (Ma, 2005). I would increase teacher’s supervision as well, such as
paying more unannounced visits to the classroom to check on Lee. Under adult
and student prefects’ supervision, the bullies would not easily demonstrate
bully behaviour since they clearly know any bullying behaviours of theirs will
be exposed easily.

 

Nevertheless,
the intervention strategies mentioned above can only be temporarily effective
to prevent the instances of bullying in a short term. Long-term preventive
intervention strategies aim to assist and educate all students to develop high
self-efficacy, strong interpersonal skills, and bonding with classmates,
teachers and parents, or in a larger scale, change the classroom atmosphere to
be more positive and caring (Wong, 2000). According to Vygotsky (1978), he
stated that how a person thinks and what a person thinks about are influenced
by the environment he/she grew up in. Thus, the interventions are for the whole
class or even the whole school, especially for the bystanders. At a classroom
level, creating a safe and engaging learning environment for adolescents is a
must. Whether teachers observe bullying behaviour or not, they always should
make clear guidance and classroom rules to warn the bullies, reassure the
victims and empower the bystanders to bravely stop any bullying behaviours.

 

Students must
be guided how to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence or hurtful
forms of verbal bullying. In the video, the students are just running and
chasing each other in the classroom and the corridors. However, since the root
causes of school bullying are that students lack life skills and low
self-esteem, teachers should encourage both the victims, bullies, and other
students to instead join some activities or workshops that emphasise conflict
resolution, assertiveness, problem-solving skills, emotion management,
teamwork, and career planning during lunch time or after school (Ma, 2005). Once
they have more opportunities and guidance to identify themselves and achieve in
gender roles and occupation, incidences of bullying in schools will be reduced
because they successfully get through their identity crisis that suggested by
Erikson (1968).

 

Furthermore,
long-term intervention programmes for Lee and any other victims or the students
who likely fall victim to bullying are necessary. For example, teachers should
select and train some peer facilitators in each class. A peer facilitator is an
emotionally mature student leader who is able to recognise and intervene in school
bullying. Therefore, I would assign one to two relatively trustworthy and mature
students to try to accompany Lee as much as possible. The bullies targeted Lee
because he is a lone student in the class, so they can sense that no one would
likely help him if they bully him. According to Erikson (1968), adolescents are
in the process of developing the virtue of “Fidelity” which is known to be a
sincere, genuine and responsible role in relationships with other people. When victims
are with their “buddies”, they are not only being protected from bullying but
also acquire “Fidelity” and rebuild positive solid self-esteem from social
interactions with the student mentors and vice versa. In addition, these
student facilitators help create a caring and peaceful classroom environment.

 

To conclude, this
essay demonstrated different practical intervention strategies that can be
categorised into remedial and preventive strategies. Remedial intervention
strategies should be put into action promptly when bullying occurred, but what
is more important and proactive is to help all adolescents in school to develop
different life skills and healthy self-esteem in their transition from
adolescence to adulthood. Furthermore, another long-term preventive
intervention strategy is cultivating caring and harmonious classroom atmosphere
by setting up clear rules and guidance that school has zero tolerance towards
violence. Bullying is undeniably prevalent in most of the schools in Hong Kong
(Wong, 2004 Ma, 2005); however, it can be stopped and prevented as long as intervention
strategies are implemented.

Word Count:
2075

 

 

 

References:

Erikson,
E.H. (1968). Identity: Youth and Crisis.

New York: Norton.

 

Juvonen,
J. & Graham S. (Eds.). (2001). Peer Harassment in School: The Plight of the
Vulnerable and Victimized. New York: The Guilford Press

 

Ma, H.

K. (2005) How to prevent and reduce
school bullying: a whole-person education proposal in From Bullying to Caring.

Hong Kong: Educational Publisher.

 

Newman,
D. A., Horne, A. M., & Bartolomucci, C. L. (2000). Bully Busters: A Teacher’s Manual for Helping Bullies, Victims, and
Bystanders. Illinois: Research Press.

 

Ross,
D. M. (1996). Childhood bullying and
teasing: What school personnel, other professionals, and parents can do.

Alexandria. VA: American Counselling Association.

 

Sullivan,
K., Cleary, M., & Sullivan, G. (2004). Bullying
in Secondary Schools: What it looks like and How to manage it. London: Paul
Chapman Publishing.

 

Wong,
D. S. (2004) School bullying and tackling strategies in Hong Kong. International Journal of Offender Therapy
and Comparative Criminology, 48(5),
537–553.

 

Vygotsky,
L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological
processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

 

Vygotsky,
L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological
processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

 

Ross,
D. M. (1996). Childhood bullying and
teasing: What school personnel, other professionals, and parents can do.

Alexandria. VA: American Counselling Association.