Lifelong Learning Programme

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We, the Others and Bullysm
Bruno Guglielminotti
Miur – Ufficio Scolastico Provinciale of Biella, with the cooperation of the Chamber of Commerce of Biella.
Biella, Italy June 2008
School bullying
This paper focuses on a sample survey carried out in the town of Biella on the topic of bullying, diversified between middle school students and college students, and is completed with a section devoted to the comparison between the figures in the two types of schools. The survey instrument was a questionnaire handed out in the classrooms and attached to this publication, while the data processing was carried out by the Chamber of Commerce of the same city.
The survey, in both sections dedicated to the two types of institutions, opens with the analysis of the students interviewed (the respondents), divided by area of study and class. The survey gets to the core of the problem with questions concerning the "definition" of bullying and what events are, or are not, considered by the respondents such acts of deviance, with a specific request to indicate the various places where there have been incidents of abuse by young people. The research continues with an analysis of the phenomenon in the school to which the students belong; a series of behaviors are listed: students are then asked to which of them they have personally witnessed, providing indication of the identity of the victim of abuse (foreigner, differently abled, homosexual, etc.)
The reaction of the respondents towards bullying was analyzed by identifying the modes of:
highlighting the gender difference in relation to the distinction between alienation and intervention. With one last question it was tried to verify whether and to what extent the respondents have been victims or to what extent they have shown concern they might become in the future. In this case it should be noted that the data collected show a greater inclination to fear from the girls, and that the same occurs to a lesser extent with the growing of the age of the respondents.
In the appendix to the questionnaire the students, of course protected by anonymity, could describe episodes that concerned them directly or they had witnessed - in the document the most significant ones have been gathered, reported by more than 10% of all respondents .
In the section dedicated to the comparison between the data collected, clearly different perceptions come up, depending on age, of acts of arrogant abuse of power and extortion, perceived as acts of bullying by older students; attention is focused on diversity in its various forms ( different culture, disability, homosexuality) as a preferred target of acts of intolerance and violence, physical or psychological, but also many different shades of a general condition of " weakness" that lead to some arrogant/ violent attitudes due to alleged superiority.
This sample survey provides a detailed picture of the various aspects of the phenomenon of bullying , framed in a specific geographic reality of Northern Italy, not particularly affected by forms of socio-economic decline. My interest in this investigation is motivated by:
- the choice of making the students themselves the protagonists of the investigation through the planning and creation of the draft of the questionnaire
- the wide range of critical analysis of various inferences and relations between the modes detected
- the food for thought offered by the Annex on free replies of the students surveyed.
The data obtained show firstly the perception that hidden forms of bullying exist. They are quite common and no less harmful than the most sensational performances. In the scale of the phenomena attributed to bullying against classmates, three types appear to be particularly meaningful: first, sexual violence, secondly extortion and then, below, various forms of abuse. It must also be emphasized the high percentage of young people who have sought to express a provocatively irreverent attitude towards those acts of abuse to which they were invited to express themselves, not considering them real acts of bullying. For example, the spread of videos or photos of comrades who suffer oppression in this regard. Particularly alarming are the “places” where pupils have witnessed acts of bullying : the class, presented as a privileged stage, shows how this micro-environment , where some of the various expressions of personal and social diversity are shown, is also the land of cultivation of attitudes and behaviors based on abuse. As far as the identity of the victim, the research confirms that school bullying often takes a xenophobic or racist shade, but equally important are the expressions of aggressive attitude against anyone who expresses any form of diversity, or is in a condition of psychological or physical weakness or even just in the absence of approval in the way they dress. But perhaps the most surprising finding concerns a high percentage of this group of students , as much as 19 %, who wanted to emphasize how it was a teacher the target to hit, confirming the identity crisis of authority and legitimacy of the teacher's role in the present social context , sometimes crushed by those who feel the bearers of an alleged power based on arrogance and able to substitute to the authority of culture. The moods and reactions of young people when they found themselves in front of episodes of intolerance have been also investigated. It 's very likely that the responses have been varied depending on the seriousness of the episode, the context and the time when it happened, and other social and psychological factors, but the highest rate was recorded by an attitude of estrangement, rather than intervention - an attitude still more frequent in females than in males. The fact remains that often the students responsible of bullying can play on some sort of impunity, the perception of having the support of others, the fear of most young people to intrude, but also a widespread culture of " mind your own business ".
Particularly meaningful is the comment to the data at the end of the survey, which highlights how school should insist on the need not to run after the approval and to emphasize, instead, the concept of diversity as a richness .
Name of Compiler
Michela Ramacciotti
Name of Institution
Istituto Bianciardi di Grosseto
Role in the institution
Docente di sostegno

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.