Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Learning Style of a Bully

Bullying is a problem in schools worldwide. Whether it has grown since our own schooldays, or is simply only now receiving the attention it deserves, is still being debated. One thing is clear, however: 20 years ago teenagers did not send threatening text messages, they did not post demeaning videos on youtube, nor did they impersonate the victim on social networks. Technology has changed the face of bullying behaviour...

... and yet the face of the bully remained the same.

It is the face of somebody who does not fit in.

While there is no excuse for bullying behaviour, it is a sad reality that once somebody is labelled a bully (or indeed typecast as a victim), it's usually too late. Children yearn to understand themselves and to be understood, and the bully-label is all too neat an excuse for venting their frustrations. "I'm a bully, so I'll just punch your face whenever you annoy me."

The solution is to be proactive...

... and to identify children with bullying tendencies before they get a chance to display bullying behaviour.

Many children become rebellious at school because they feel bored, stifled and misunderstood. The secret to their successful integration into the school system lies in satisfying the needs of their unique Learning Style.

The way in which a bully absorbs new and difficult information might not vary from his non-bullying peers when it comes to the VAK (visual, auditory and kinesthetic-tactile) needs. His or her bullying potential will come out in their non-conformist attitudes, dislike of authority and their non-preference for external motivation.

(To check a student's learning style preferences, you can start here.)

With the Anti-Bullying Week upon us (15-19 November 2010), many people make a point to speak out against the problem. This is fantastic. Four in every five pupils are not involved in bullying incidents, i.e., they are neither the bully not the victim, yet they seldom have the opportunity to do something constructive.

You don't need to analyse a bully's Learning Style to realise they are already a bully. Anybody who hurts another person:
  • through a physical act,
  • with shouting, intimidating gestures, pulling mean faces,
  • by saying hurtful things about them,
is guilty of being a bully and should be reported.

What anti-bullying policies exist at your school? Do they use Learning Style Analysis to identify early warning systems that could imply bullying tendencies?

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