Lifelong Learning Programme

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Teachers Experiences

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“The school positive influence”
Elisabetta Bacci
10 years
School bullying
Aspects to consider:
The Vocational Secondary School where I've been teaching for about 10 years, is mostly attended by students coming from a poor social context and a problematic or even absent family environment. During the 5 high school years (sometimes more), pupils and teachers inevitably build a deep relationship. As a teacher, I can state that I frequently assist at different episodes of our students' violent manifestations which often are expression of their deep suffering, call for help and lack of reference points. A clear evidence of that is given by the experience I lived last school year with the student I was following as a special education teacher (a support teacher). He was an 18 year Romanian boy attending class 4 who suffered from a mild psychiatric disorder and an underprivileged social and family background. He had significant problems in interpersonal relationships. His parents worked with the rides at a funfair and preferred to make him work with them at home rather than send him to school. Besides, last year the guy began to show a certain lack of enthusiasm in coming to school. I was very sorry about this because during the past school years, I had noticed a considerable improvement in the boy's attitude towards his teachers and classmates. He was able to control his emotions and violent demonstrations (launch of rucksacks in the classroom, struggles with classmates, bad language etc. ..) were decreased.
Lately, however, I had noticed a worsening both in the student's behaviour and language: irregular attendance, disciplinary notes, suspicious requests to leave the classroom during lessons ...... I had tried to talk to him but with no noticeable results. One morning I was called by the headmaster who told me of a serious incident of bullying occurred at school which my pupil had been the protagonist of. The parents of a young student, attending class1, had complained to the headmaster because their son had been the victim for a couple of months of intimidations by the student I was following. He had forced the younger boy to give him some money under threat. The younger student no longer wanted to attend school and finally had told everything to his parents. So my colleagues and I decided to make another attempt trying to talk to the boy again. After an initial defence, he eventually told us of its economic difficulties, especially in winter when the activity of his parents was inactive and then, he told us he wanted to stop coming to school. So we thought how to engage the student in a useful way and finally we suggested him to take part in a combined school – work project. The result was satisfactory. He began to work as assistant cook and waiter at lunchtime in a pizzeria three times a week. After this short experience during last spring, the boy went on working in the same pizzeria during the following summer , with great motivation. Unfortunately, in September he decided not to come back to school. However, to my great surprise, a few weeks ago he came to school again expressing his intention to finish his schooling by enrolling in evening classes next year.

Comments on this Teachers Experience

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Date: 2014.08.18

Posted by Murat Demirbaş (Turkey)

Message: I believe that majority of the students’ fierce acts which happen inside the school environment are in fact caused by problems which arise from families and students won’t be able to change if the school does not propose solution options in order to come over their individual problems. For example, some parents have low level of education, use alcohol, source difficulties and they take part in groups who violates environment. Harsh language and transgression are two different varieties of violence which take place in social groups like schools. When we look at how old students are, that police involve and that possible approval could be visible but it may not be the most influential solution. School intervention resulted in determining some socio-economical reasons which have been attacked in response to identifying various respectable materials of financial gain. Schools had better cogitate this sort of engagement because they have the ability to invent acts related to crime that are not easy supposing it is possible to improve. Furthermore, technical and professional schools have founded relationships with financial agents who have identical profile, and professional schools have the ability to set up unique proposition so as to provide the students who come across with harsh economical problems with part-time works in order that they will go on their acitivities and elude taking part in such events. But, nothing including financial can affirm any sort of transgression or violence. The student’s taking place in an education related to his job and management of the school curriculum which is gaining money as a cook assistant and server during lunch in a restaurant which sells pizza and studying during the rest of the time provided the student with some sorts of working abilities he required. Those abilities permit him to make contribution to the family monetary fund. The active role of the teacher and the school are worthy. The students should not underestimate these students. They educate those students from the beginning. Their friends have main role in this process. This experience is a good example of this process.

Date: 2014.06.02

Posted by Beatriz Blesa (Spain)

Message: Her name is Serafina and she started in a high school in Patras. She was left alone in the city, under the supervision of her grandmother. Being without family, she abandoned before starting 10th grade because of bad habits.
After a year pause her family brought her in our school. Her previous background, her history, followed her and when she arrived the other students in class took her according to what they knew. Her try to have a new, fresh start failed. She isolated herself, started to be late for classes and I noticed she was very sad all the time. Step by step I started to talk to her about various things until she got confidence in me and told me what happens. Together we started to work with her classmates. It was a tough grade but eventually it came to a better end than the one she imagined before we started talking (she had moments when she thought to abandon again). When all the students in my class returned after the summer vacation their attitude towards their classmate was significantly changed to a better one.
During the last two high school years she started to get better marks improving her learning curve and gained her classmates confidence that she changed, leaving totally behind what happened before her arrival in our class. She got involved in a few projects meant to help other students with various problems considering that is only fair to give back something by helping in any way she could.
In 12th grade her classmates designated her to be their leader showing not only that they finally accepted her but they considered her to be a skilled leader worthy to represent them.

This experience seems very interesting. First, because the starting point is particularly difficult: a student who comes to the center for the first time but with serious difficulties, not only academic but personal. Secondly because it only occurs in a transformation but throughout the group. The change is even more significant, since initially the group class in which this student was integrated was not exactly an easy group.
I note that the essential factor of change is the approach to this student, enter your interests, to make you feel valued and accepted by an adult or an adult, the lecturer. But also see it as essential to work with colleagues to go to the person hosting is your companion, without being influenced by prejudice or by attitudes that are annoying them.
The transformation ends up producing is absolutely admirable, even more than the student arrives to become the leader of the class in the final year of studies. My experiences in this regard are two totally different.
In the first case , a student from a shelter returning with his mother ( single parent very problematic ) and thus arrive at our college . Although the monitoring and support of student and mother , who refuses to cooperate, two years after leaving study ends .
In the other case , a student comes from another center with serious academic and behavioral problems that the family does not want set limits. After a course, the student leaves the center without having achieved satisfactory results. After a year at another school, with the same results , return to us and that has gradually achieved an acceptance by the group and improved their academic performance . The girl goes to a continued absence of fairly regular attendance, attitude towards peers and teachers team is improving and getting them to continue their studies to raise college.

Date: 2014.06.02

Posted by Ana Amo (Spain)

Message: The case of the writing as well resolved. Was recoverable and fell into good hands. Possibly useful feel entering a work environment could influence. It is not always the case unfortunately. I had a sick student leukemia and sentenced to leave this life in no time. His dream was to go to the Institute as children their age. His parents told the problem confidentially to the head teacher and teachers this class we took in that group. His illness was missing a lot of school and yielded little, what we had in mind and encouraged them, also their peers. I even opened an email, just for him, which sent her tasks. We spoil and wanted. He ended that year the disease but was happy to feel the atmosphere he desired. The school, in a way, it was positive. I think it is always.

Date: 2014.06.01

Posted by Pilar Alamillo Ruiz (Spain)

Message: I had a student in primary , Pedrito , who had gotten his tutor was derecognised by depression. Destroyed the material from their peers, assaulted , insulted , was hyperactive ... He was expelled temporarily from the center on several occasions and each time was more rebellious and isolated .
              When I received as a student I proposed a challenge : Get a change of attitude ,
he liked to go to school , his teammates appreciate a change in him and accept him 'as one more, in working groups , sports , games ...
              I was his tutor for two courses . The first year I got , with little praise, I approach him , he liked to asist class , interact with peers and speak tenderly to her teachers .
              The second year , following an educational program , I got the rest . He was applauded for his often compañeros.Se proud and at ease with himself.

I had a student in primary , Pedrito, who had gotten his tutor was derecognised by depression . Destroyed the item from Their peers , assaulted , insulted , was hyperactive ... I was temporarily Expelled from the center on several occasions and each time was more rebellious and isolated .
               When I received as a student I Proposed to challenge : Get a change of attitude ,
I liked to go to school , his teammates appreciate a change in him and accept him ' as one more , in working groups , sports, games.
 I was his tutor for two courses . The first year I got , with little praise , I approach him , I liked to asist class , not interact with peers and speak tenderly to her teachers .
               The second year , Following an educational program , I got the rest. It was applauded by Often Their peers . I was proud and at ease with himself .

Date: 2014.05.30

Posted by FOLTEA NICOLETA, "Alexandru cel Bun" High School, Botosani, (Romania)

Message: From my point of view, many of the pupils' violent behaviors taking place within the school environment are indeed triggered by familial problems, and pupils will not achieve change unless school offers alternatives to solve their personal problems, such as parents' low level of education, drinking problems, material difficulties and belonging to crime groups. Coarse language and blackmail are two forms of violence that occur within social groups such as schools. Given pupils' age, an obvious but not the most effective solution would have been police's intervention, and penal sanction. Pupils might have seen punishment could have been seen as yet another reason to rebel. School intervention led to identifying some socio-economical causes that in turn have been counter-attacked by determining some decent sources of income. Schools should multiply this kind of interventions, all the more as they can help avoiding criminal behaviors that are difficult if not impossible to remedy. Moreover, technical and professional schools have established partnerships with economic agents with the same profile, and the latter can establish special provisions in order to offer part-time jobs to those pupils that face severe financial problems so that they can continue their studies and avoid getting involved in such manifestations. However, nothing, poverty included, can justify any kind of blackmail or violence.

Date: 2014.05.26

Posted by Ana Luisa Pinho (Portugal)

Message: The teacher’s experience is about a 18-year-old Romanian boy who goes to school to classes below his age level. This boy not only had been left behind in his school progression, he also had some psychiatric imbalance and lived in poor social and familial conditions. He was negatively discriminated against by his peers and he also showed aggressive behavior towards one of his colleagues, who he assaulted and robbed money from.
The integration of this student in a vocational professional course and the reorganization of the school curriculum – working as cook assistant and waiter during lunch time in a pizza restaurant and studying during the remaining time – gave the student the working skills he needed. They also allowed him to contribute to the family budget. The active role of the teacher and the school are laudable.

Date: 2014.05.19

Posted by Cidália de Jesus Cordeiro (Portugal)

Message: Hi, my name is Cidália Cordeiro and I am a Philosophy teacher at the Bonfim school cluster in Portalegre, Portugal.
When I was reading about this experience I recalled some students I have taught who also became notorious in school for the worst reasons: they were rough, aggressive, uninterested in school or in its subject matters. They showed indifference and lack of respect towards their peers and they chose to get together with students who behaved similarly. The weakest students were their favourite prey. When we analysed the behaviour of those students with the help of the school psychologist, we found out that the majority came from broken families and that they themselves were victims of violent behaviour or neglect. Thus, the school should never give up on these students; on the contrary, it should reeducate these students. Thier peers are key in order to do this. The experience you described was a good exanple of this.

20 December 2014

Final Partners’ meeting

The fourth partners’ meeting took place in Florence (IT) on 15 December 2014. The meeting had the objective to check the activities carried out since the third meeting of the project and share and assess the in progress results. A special focus has been dedicated to the presentation of the strategies to solve the case scenarios.