Lifelong Learning Programme

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Teachers Experiences

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A game boy
Georgia Lazari
Primary School
School bullying
At the time this story took place, Nikos was attending the 1st grade of the Primary School, was an average boy with no ‘fitting’ issues (had always managed to have close friends and came from a stable family environment). In the classroom he was concentrated enough, he never caused me any problems and seemed to be quite happy in the school environment. He usually brought to school small toys that he liked to show to his friends and kept in his pocket (but that is not unusual for kids of his age). One month after Christmas I had a visit from his mother who told me that she had noticed a change in her son’s mood, he was rather frown and a bit distant and was reluctant to talk. She had no idea what was the cause of it and wanted to know if I had noticed the change and whether something was going on during school hours. I have to admit that I hadn’t noticed anything particular, towards me Nikos had not changed but I promised to look more closely.
In the next few days I started to notice that his mother was right. There were many signs that this boy had troubles in his little head. And then I decided to watch him during the breaks. After 2-3 days it was obvious that Nikos was avoiding Andrew, a boy 2 years older that would approach him once or twice a day and talk to him at close distance. I asked the other boy’s teacher about him and found out that he was an immigrants’ child whose father and mother were separated. Andrew had a rather difficult upbringing, the family faced financial problems and his older brothers were already working and had dropped out of school.
To me it was obvious that something was going on between them and contacted Nikos' mother to ask about money he probably lost, or any missing objects he had been complaining about but I was convinced that Nikos would not be willing to talk. After a lot of effort on his mother’s part we realized that Nikos had been convinced to voluntarily exchange his brand new game boy with 5 plastic cards Andrew offered him. The next day that Nikos asked Andrew to give him back the game boy Andrew threatened him, refused to return it told Nikos that he could buy the game boy back if he wanted, for 150 Euros. Nikos came at a dead end and was afraid to tell his parents because he had realized that he shouldn’t have agreed to this deal in the first place and also had no money to buy the game boy back. He kept asking Andrew to return the game boy but Andrew started mocking him with his friends and the situation became worse and worse by the day. Andrew gradually started taking money out of Nikos’ bag or asked him for money during the breaks. When one day Nikos' mother noticed that it had been a while since she saw Nikos play the game boy she asked why and then the truth came out… a liberating process no matter how hard it is. Fear of disclosure has always been a great place to hide the truth and keep wounds open.
The next day Andrew was called to the headmaster’s office along with Nikos and both their mothers and an end was put to the situation. Andrew’s mother was quite concerned, as she had no idea of her son’s behavior. Andrew returned the game boy to Nikos, apologized to him and was also made to apologize in public as the headmaster informed all student about the situation in an effort to make other potential similar problem come to the surface.

Comments on this Teachers Experience

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Date: 2014.08.19

Posted by Erdi Erdoğan (Turkey)

Message: The story is always close friends; in the case of a compatible family of a student going to class 1 was examined. The problem is the teacher who has decided to observe students. After 2-3 days the children's Nicos, Andrew began to flee. Andrew when he spoke with the teacher learns that his parents were separate. Andrew's family had financial problems. The problems described here, Nicos and Andrew, and the principal's approach to emerging issues are discussed.

Date: 2014.08.19

Posted by Volkan Akkurt (Turkey)

Message: We see another example of experience. It is related to two children who are good, smart and polite and good at their classes but still keen on playing with toys (in fact it is normal for those children in that age.) They share their toys but the boy does not give his toy back. He threatens his friend with money. That is to say, if the child does not give money, he won’t give it back. But fortunately again the teacher’s role has a great impact on the phase of solving problem. On the other hand, we should not underestimate the parents’ supervision at home. In this experience, we can see how important it is for a family member to supervise the little member of their family. As it can be seen in this story, a cooperation among the tutors, the parent and the manager of the school is necessary in order that the problem can be solved. If the mother didn’t inform the teacher that his child had some differences at home, the teacher wouldn’t realize the change on him. He wouldn’t be able to put any effort to solve the problem. From my point of view, they need one another because each group can have the information which is essential for the solution. They share the essential information which can contribute to solve the problem so much. I also think that this experience highlights what kind of responsibilities parents, headmasters and teachers have and how important they are. I can say that a parent always has an open eye on his/her child. When he/she realizes that something goes wrong in his/her child’s life, the teacher should be informed immediately so that the problem won’t become bigger and can be solved easily. There should be a good communication, in other words, a good cooperation between the teacher and the parent. We see another participant in the experience story, the headmaster. I believe that he definitely does the most appropriate thing. He talks to the mothers, the victim and the bully and the teachers. He also warns other students about the situation in order that another similar problem will not arise.

Date: 2014.05.31

Posted by Pilar Gómez Trujillo (Spain)

Message: In my opinion , it is a situation that may not live every day,
but that is very common in Spanish schools .
I think the most important in this situation and all
situations that are related to our students, is the work
teamwork between families and teachers. Together forever
We will build a more complete picture of the person to
help them grow , to live ... that 's what it is .
I have lived my life like master situations and is
essential to resolve these situations together, in the most
realistically as possible and also , so that learning involving
each of the parties. This example can recognize clear
the intervention process .
Sometimes we believe that children are too young or innocent to
venture into situations that threaten, abuse
power ... no one is free from it; and not be scared when
they arrive.
It is important to teach from very small , where the boundaries are ,
I can belong and what not ; How are my relationships with
others and how they should be ...
It is essential , and I think increasingly, be aware games
recess, signals that the family can recognize the
small details ... all part of their overall education , everything is
important and we believe it to help them grow as
persons and citizens.

Date: 2014.05.28

Posted by SORIN AIONESEI, "Alexandru cel Bun" High School, Botosani, [email protected] (Romania)

Message: Psychopaths are able to identify potential victims only by noticing how they walk. Using a simple nonverbal cue they can assess the vulnerability of a person and if they feel somebody is unsecured, they will take advantage of it.
Andrew is arguably not a psychopath, it would be a far-fetched comparison. But the basic psychology of a school bully is similar: spot the potential victim and use it in your own benefit, without showing any remorse. A bully is well aware of any sign of weakness and he divides his peers in two categories: people who can or who cannot be dominated, the victims and the rest.
The abilities a teacher has in monitoring the interactions which take place out of the classroom are paramount in preventing the escalation of bullying. Many of the disruptive behaviors of the little social predators who are lurking can be deterred, if the school has an active presence.
Last but not least, an “Andrew” appears and because a “Nikos” exists. In a bullying prevention strategy we should learn our students not to play the part of the victim.

Date: 2014.05.19

Posted by ANA ISABEL MATEUS SILVA (Portugal)

Message: I am very glad to read thatthe mother was aware enough to acknowledge the reactions in the child and took the problem to the teacher.
This situation happens often, but many parents do not observe early changes in the behavior of children.

Date: 2014.05.16

Posted by Christine CLOES (Belgium)

Message: This situation is really characteristic of the bullying phenomenon we can observe in all countries and at different education levels, from primary to secondary school.
The positive resolution of the story is due to various factors that have jointly worked to solve the situation: the awareness of the victim’s mother, the involvement of the teacher and the decision of the headmaster.
It is crucial not to authorize the “banalisation” of bullying events and to perceive the first signs both from the victim and the bully.

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.