Art by Shannon McKinnon. Shannon has an undergraduate degree in painting and drawing from the University of Calgary, and is finishing a psychology degree at Concordia. She hopes to become an art therapist.
by Frank Kuin
Although bullying is a universal problem, cultural circumstances in different
countries may shed light on the extent to which communal values such as
friendship play a role in dealing with the issue, he argued.
Bukowski is a specialist in the impact of peer relations on development.
It ap-pears that kids who are at risk of victimization, such as
withdrawn kids, experience less victimization if they have a friend. The
project we are doing is trying to find out the extent to which friendship
will perform this function.
Bukowski has been working with school children at four elementary schools
in the Montreal area to map their individual and group relations. Through
questionnaires and teacher ratings, he has collected insights into the
extent to which pupils ascribe to communal values or individual ones.
This is a fun question to address, Bukowski said, identifying
as the biggest challenge trying to understand something about the
dynamics of the group and why it results in bullying behaviour.
While victims of bullying may suffer psychosomatic consequences for the
rest of their lives and a bullying problem sours the learning environment
for the entire class, it has turned out to be difficult to deal with the
issue by tackling the bullies directly or by trying to change the victims.
It is probably easier to increase childrens value placed
on friendship than it is to change individual characteristics, Buk-owski
said. The idea is that the importance of friendship as a value could
be heightened through emotional procedures in school.
Most kids already take moral and religious education in school. Having some sort of friendship component to those courses would probably be a good thing.