How to Stop Bullying in Classrooms and Schools: Using Social Architecture to Prevent, Lessen, and End Bullying

Image of How to Stop Bullying in Classrooms and Schools: Using Social Architecture to Prevent, Lessen, and End Bullying
Release Date: 
November 24, 2012
Publisher/Imprint: 
Routledge
Pages: 
240
Reviewed by: 

“. . . will shake up the educational establishment and change the way classrooms are managed and how students are taught.”

In the preface to How to Stop Bullying in Classrooms and Schools Phyllis Kaufman Goodstein is “up front” with a discouraging note: the meta-analysis of bullying intervention studies has found that in the “majority of outcomes evidenced, no meaningful change, positive or negative” was found; that most studies suggest that bullying is not decreasing; and according to bullying researcher, expert, and professor Dorothy L. Espelage there are 67 bullying prevention programs in the U.S. “none of which are working.”

In the grim face of the failure of most bullying prevention programs in the United States, Ms. Goodstein has written a book whose precepts if implemented chapter and verse in our schools, will shake up the educational establishment and change the way classrooms are managed and how students are taught.

Included in any effective bullying prevention curriculum, will be the three “R’s:” respect, relationships, and responsibility.

Once upon a time, teachers could take for granted that children came to their classrooms already “schooled” at home to be respectful, to know how to form social relationships and to accept responsibility for themselves and others.

No more.

A back-to-basics approach will have to incorporate lessons to teach children how to make friends, how to respect themselves and others, and the need to take responsibility for themselves and others.

Ms. Goodstein argues that the lack of these basic skills are reason for the failure of most bullying prevention programs.

In a book bursting with good ideas, the author shows how to construct social scaffolding in the classroom to teach and reinforce the vital skills children need to succeed socially so that they might be able to succeed academically.

Ms. Goodstein’s ideal classroom is a social laboratory in which the teacher is the central role model of respectful and responsible behavior. Teachers must not allow a single act of bullying to happen without appropriate consequences. Discipline does not consist of punishment but quiet and clear lessons on how to behave appropriately.

According to the author, too many bullying prevention programs fail because the bully is told he/she is wrong without teaching him the right way to behave.

Ms. Goodstein’s book is clear, concise, and full of practical advice and ideas for classroom teachers. Section headings are designed for easy reference with just enough recent research citations to validate the suggestions.

How to Stop Bullying in Classrooms and Schools is more than an instructional book about bullying prevention; it’s about compassionate and respectful education, giving teachers their rightful place as society’s most important social engineers. This book deserves to be read by everyone involved in childhood education including parents, the often overlooked partners in the important enterprise of teaching our future citizens.