Bullying is the invisible menace in our society. It’s a pervasive problem that takes hold in schools and on playgrounds, through social media, and at work. We know the effects are detrimental and long-lasting, often causing self-esteem issues and feelings of worthlessness that can accompany people well into adulthood. But it’s not so easy to spot.
Recognizing the Negative Effects of Bullying
Bullying can create a caustic environment in our schools, eroding self-esteem and hampering efforts for personal growth. Bullying victims don’t always come forward. And the abuse can happen in subtle ways that make it hard to monitor and police. Schools must practice vigilance in our fight against bullying.
As educators, we know that social pressure plays a big part in bullying at school. Both isolated individuals and well-liked students can be targets. Students who feel isolated from their peers may seem different. Even popular students can become targets of social rivals who want to take them down a few pegs to increase their standing among group members.
But just as we are beginning to understand the causes and effects of bullying, we’re also shaping better ways to deal with bullying and its effects on students. Educators are starting to adopt a new and more inclusive approach to academics and the nature of teen learning. The hallmark of some small private schools is their commitment to small class sizes where students can learn and practice respect for each other and themselves.
Small Schools Know How to Prevent Bullying
The small classroom experience helps fight against aggressive behaviors by creating a sense of belonging among the students and faculty. Students with strong senses of self and high measures of self-esteem are less likely to bully, more liable to stop bullying when they see it and are affected less by bullying.
Small classes can also help to reduce the type of social climate that can lead to bullying. At its core, bullying amounts to a recurring kind of aggression. Children and teens who feel left out or passed over can resort to aggressive behaviors as an attempt to “correct” their perceived understanding of the social order. A community is built through empathy. As students interact with peers in small classes, they will come to understand and appreciate the differences among them.