Introducing NIOS Bullying Prevention Resources in Spanish

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INTRODUCING NIOS BULLYING PREVENTION RESOURCES IN SPANISH

Republished from NIOT.org

Not In Our School (NIOS) is excited to publish this three-part series of three blogs about bullying in English and Spanish. In this first blog, we give an overview of bullying and share new NIOS Spanish materials. In the second blog, we share important information and useful resources on bullying from Spanish speaking countries. Finally, in our third series, we share the work of a Mexican anti-bullying activist.

Este blog también está disponible en español.

A student taking part in a NIOS workshop in Nicaragua
According to the 2012 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, Spanish is the most widely understood language in the Western Hemisphere, with significant populations of native Spanish speakers ranging from the southern tip of Patagonia to as far north as Canada. And in the United States, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by 38.3 million people aged five or older, a figure more than double that of 1990. So, it is important to share NIOS films and lesson guides with the Spanish speaking world.

At a recent workshop, a principal shared a horrific story of a little 8-year-old girl who was bullied for being different. In this case, she was different because her family was not poor like the families of her classmates. So, they teased her every day. They threw things at her and pushed her. Although she did not tell anyone about what was happening to her, one day she took her parents’ gun out. Her plan was to take it to school and shoot the classmates who were tormenting her. Her parents discovered it and took the gun away, but her peers found out. That day they pelted her with stones and rocks until she had to be taken to the hospital, beaten and bloody.

This took place in a small rainforest village in the region around Rio San Juan, in Nicaragua. Recently, I had the privilege of giving two NIOS bullying prevention presentations there, one to students and another to educators. Although some of the participating schools were one-room schoolhouses, miles from the next town, both the youth and educators who attended were very familiar with bullying behaviors and were seeking solutions.

The kind of bullying that happened to this 8-year-old girl is not unlike some of the torments that happen to children everywhere. The girl’s peers claimed the reason they did it was that she was “stuck up.” Every day, children explain their cruel behavior with similar comments, like actor Christian Bale, bullied in England as a child because he was an actor; Rihanna from Barbados, bullied for her skin color and breasts; or a fifth grader in a California school where I worked as a principal, who nonchalantly told me he bullied a younger child simply because he had been bullied.

In Russia, like Nicaragua, the English word “bullying” is now being used because there is no fully comparable term. I wondered about other languages. After searching, I found a forum discussion about the word for “bully” in other languages. Different forum contributors indicated that Arabic, German, Hebrew, and French do not have exact translations for a specific word that means bullying. That caused the forum conversation participants to ponder if bullying was an American phenomenon and whether the US is making a word become a reality. The story of the Nicaraguan 8-year-old should put that theory to rest.

NIOS Director Becki Cohn-Vargas leads a workshop in Nicaragua
I believe that forms of bullying and intolerance have been around since the beginning of time. The difference now is that people across the world are recognizing it and doing something about it. With the little Nicaraguan girl, the school has gotten involved to not only help the girl and her family (who did end up changing schools), but also to work with her elementary peers.

Not In Our School is reaching out across the globe to share stories and materials in places like Hungary, Australia, Slovakia, and most recently in South Africa. We believe that this effort brings us together to make a difference and strengthens the work we are all doing. Do you have an international story? Please share it. It brings out the humanity in all of us.

As a way to share our materials with Spanish speaking countries and hispanic populations within the US, Not In Our School is now pleased to be translating our most popular films and lesson plans into Spanish. You can find our growing list of Spanish resources by clicking here.

NIOS thanks Vivianne Hiriart for her generous help doing these excellent translations pro bono.

NIOS PRESENTA SUS NUEVOS MATERIALES EN ESPAÑOL
No en Nuestra Escuela (NIOS) se complace en publicar esta serie de tres partes conformada por tres blogs sobre bullying en inglés y en español. En el primer blog damos una visión general sobre el bullying y compartimos nuevos materiales de NIOS en español. En el segundo blog, compartimos información importante y recursos útiles sobre bullying de países de habla hispana. Finalmente, en nuestra tercera serie, compartimos el trabajo contra el bullying de una activista mexicana.

De acuerdo con la Encuesta de la Comunidad Americana de 2012, llevada a cabo por el departamento de Censos de Estados Unidos, el español es la lengua más ampliamente entendida en el hemisferio occidental. Las comunidades de hispanoparlantes se extienden desde la punta más austral en la Patagonia hasta el extremo norte en Canadá. En los Estados Unidos 38.3 millones de personas mayores de 5 años hablan español como lengua principal en sus hogares; más del doble de las que había en 1990. Por eso es importante compartir los videos y actividades de NIOS con el mundo hispanohablante.

En un taller reciente, la directora de una escuela compartió la historia espeluznante de una niña de 8 años que fue víctima de bullying por ser diferente. En este caso, ella era diferente porque su familia no era pobre como lo eran las del resto de sus compañeros. Así que la molestaban todos los días. Le arrojaban cosas y la empujaban. Aunque no le dijo a nadie lo que le estaba pasando, un día tomó la pistola de sus padres. Su plan era llevarla a la escuela y dispararle a los compañeros que la atormentaban. Sus papás la descubrieron y le quitaron la pistola, pero sus compañeros se enteraron. Ese día la bombardearon con piedras y rocas hasta que tuvieron que llevarla al hospital, golpeada y ensangrentada.

Esto sucedió en un pequeño pueblo en la selva en una región cercana a Río San Juan, en Nicaragua. Recientemente tuve el privilegio de dar dos presentaciones sobre prevención de bullying en ese pueblo, una con estudiantes y la otra con docentes. Aunque algunas de las escuelas participantes se encontraban a millas de distancia del siguiente pueblo y contaban sólo con un salón de clases, tanto los jóvenes como los docentes conocían bien el bullying y estaban buscando soluciones.

El tipo de bullying que vivió esta niña de 8 años no es diferente a algunos tormentos que viven otros niños en muchas partes. Los compañeros de esta niña de 8 años afirmaban que habían actuado así porque ella era “estirada”. Todos los días los niños explican sus comportamientos crueles con afirmaciones similares, como el actor Christian Bale, quien fue víctima de bullying durante su niñez en Inglaterra por ser actor; Rhiannon, de Barbados, a quien molestaban por su color de piel y sus pechos o como un alumno de 5º grado en una escuela en California donde trabajé como directora, quien con total indiferencia me dijo que molestaba a un niño menor simplemente porque él había sido víctima de bullying.

En Rusia como en Nicaragua se utiliza la palabra inglesa “bullying” porque no existe un término que describa su significado de la misma manera. Me pregunté qué sucedía con otros idiomas. Tras buscar, encontré un foro de discusión sobre el equivalente de la palabra “bully[VH1] ” en otros idiomas. Diferentes participantes del foro indicaron que en árabe, alemán, hebreo y francés no existe un término que describa de manera exacta lo que significa bullying. Esto llevó a los participantes a plantearse si el bullying era un fenómeno estadunidense y si acaso Estados Unidos está haciendo que la palabra se transforme en una realidad. La historia de la niña nicaragüense de 8 años rebate esa teoría.

Creo que desde el inicio de los tiempos han existido formas de bullying e intolerancia. La diferencia es que ahora alrededor del mundo hay gente que lo está reconociendo y haciendo algo al respecto. Con la pequeña nicaragüense de 8 años, la escuela se involucró no sólo ayudando a la niña y su familia (quien finalmente se cambió de escuela), si no también trabajando con sus compañeros de la misma edad.

No en Nuestra Escuela (NIOS) está extendiendo sus contactos alrededor del mundo para compartir historias y materiales en lugares como Hungría, Australia, Eslovaquia, y más recientemente en Sudáfrica. Creemos que este esfuerzo nos une para hacer la diferencia y fortalece el trabajo que todos estamos haciendo. ¿Tienes alguna historia internacional? Por favor compártela. Sacan el lado humano en cada uno de nosotros.

No En Nuestra Escuela se complace a anunciar que se han empezado a traducir nuestras películas y lecciones más popularoes a español. Pulse aquí para encontrar la lista de recursos que se ofrecen en español.

Mil gracias a Vivianne Hiriart por traducir este serie sin cobrar para Not In Our Town.

HATE is a Four-Letter Word

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Reposted from Edutopia 9/29/14
When I was a district administrator, a parent called me, very distressed that a TIME for Kids article about 9-11 was being read in her fourth-grade child’s classroom. She told me that she was sheltering her child from all news media. I responded that children need help making sense of tragedies, and that we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking we can forever shelter them. Yet many educators prefer not to speak about hate. After all, it is sheer ugliness and not something we want to draw attention to in our schools. But hate needs to be examined. Why? Because it exists, and because it is especially prevalent among youth.

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, youth ages 15-24 commit half of all hate crimes in the United States. In a recent New York Times op-ed, “White, Bigoted and Young: The Data of Hate,” economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz explored the demographics of Stormfront, the most popular U.S. white supremacist website. His findings revealed that the most common age of Stormfront members is 19. He also found that the most venomous hate was displayed against African Americans and Jews, often with tremendous ignorance about those targeted groups.

Educators are in a unique position to address these issues. To open the dialogue with young people about diversity and compassion, we must not be afraid to talk about hate.

When and How to Start Facing Hate
By fifth grade, children study Native Americans and the Civil War and must make meaning out of horrific historic events. Unlike the child above, who was sheltered, some have witnessed or directly experienced hateful acts, while others have seen them on the news, in movies, and video games.

Adults need to help youth make sense of these frightening things. Although there is often no other way to explain it than as hate, adults can balance brutal reality with a sensitivity to developmental levels, taking care not to raise anxiety. Explanations can actually calm fears by talking in understandable terms about how people can be mean to others while assuring children that many people are working to make a more accepting and safer world.

The focus can be on helping students become empathetic and compassionate while learning to appreciate differences. They can also work to create identity safe classroom environments, places where children of all backgrounds feel accepted and valued, and treat one another respectfully. Rather than sugar-coating history or ignoring hate, by naming it and explaining to children in a responsible way, we can guide young people toward engaging in efforts to make their community a place free of hate and bigotry.

Middle School and Beyond: Stop Hate Together
By sixth grade, students have become fully aware of history and the devastating power of hate that led to tragedies like the massacre of Native Americans, the brutality of slavery, and the genocide of the Holocaust. They now need even more support to analyze not only history, but also current events, whether it is a police officer killing an unarmed teenager and subsequent riots in Ferguson, Missouri or Christians crucified by terrorists in Iraq. Rather than ignoring these horrific scenes, educators can help students understand the roots of hate and bigotry and become proactive about preventing them in their own world. When exploring these issues, students have an opportunity to discuss provocative questions:

What can people do when hate rears its ugly head in a community?
What can schools do?
Is there room for a forgiving attitude?
What can be done to be proactive about avoiding hate?
Older students can dive deeper into these subjects by:

Learning skills of discourse with those who hold different opinions
Developing an understanding of different cultures and belief systems
Generating ways to spread kindness and respect.
Well-facilitated dialogue about news reports, films, and literature can open these conversations. Not In Our School, a program of Not In Our Town (NIOT), is dedicated to combat hate, bullying, and intolerance with over 70 free films and lesson plans featuring students taking action to address hate and bridge differences.

The new NIOT documentary Waking In Oak Creek (30 minutes, free to schools and communities) provides a powerful example of a how a community came together after six worshippers at a Sikh Temple were killed by a white supremacist. The accompanying lesson plan can also be used as a tool to explore identity safety, help students learn about Sikh culture and their attitude of forgiveness, or launch an anti-bullying campaign.

Engaging Parents in the Process
While recognizing parents’ reluctance to teach about hate, educators can help them understand that avoiding all references to hate will not erase it from their children’s lives. With the rare exception of the parent who attempted to totally shelter her children, in most cases it is not the schools that are exposing young people to the hate and violence in the world. Violence and hate are readily viewed on television, the internet, and movies everywhere, even in hotel and airport lobbies. Parents need to be invited into the conversation about the importance of addressing hate and all forms of intolerance, and join the school to take action in spreading kindness, compassion, and empathy.

As educators, it is incumbent upon us to prepare young people for the world that they are inheriting and give them tools to combat hate and work for a democratic and civil society. To start, we can open the conversation about forgiveness, compassion, and the importance of standing up.

BECKI COHN-VARGAS’S PROFILE
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Becki Cohn-Vargas
Director, Not In Our School at Not In Our Town

Creating a Welcoming and Intellectually Challenging Classroom: Edutopia Article by Suzie Boss about our book “Identity Safe Classrooms, Places to Belong and Learn”

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Creating a Welcoming and Intellectually Challenging Classroom
AUGUST 29, 2014
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As you set up your classroom for the new school year, try spending a few minutes in your students’ chairs. Are you comfortable? Now look closer: Will the seating arrangement invite conversations between students, or keep them isolated? What do you notice about what’s on display around the room? Will students see themselves and their families reflected in the diversity of images and books?

Are whiteboards, laptops, and other tools for learning within reach for students, or reserved for the teacher? Any other clues that you’re entering a space where all learners will feel welcome, safe, trusted, and curious about their world?

Veteran educators Dorothy M. Steele and Becki Cohn-Vargas offer this simple but powerful suggestion to build a more inclusive, equitable environment for learning: “Look at life in the classroom every day from the perspective of each of the students.” They have coined the term “identity safe classroom” to describe learning environments where every child feels welcome and eager to learn. This isn’t just feel-good talk. Building an identify safe classroom offers a deliberate strategy to reach students who feel alienated from school because of repeated failure, heavy-handed discipline, or negative stereotypes.

Their book, Identity Safe Classrooms: Places to Belong and Learn (Corwin, 2013), offers thoughtful advice, grounded in research and practice, that’s worth considering throughout the school year. Steele, an early childhood educator, is former executive director of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. Cohn-Vargas, currently director of Not In Our School, has been both teacher and principal during her 35 years in education.

The authors’ field-tested suggestions deserve special attention early in the year when you and your students have a fresh start on building a positive classroom culture.

Supporting Student Voice and Collaboration
If you’re planning to give project-based learning (PBL) a try this year, you’ll benefit from their suggestions to encourage student voice and collaboration — key ingredients for effective PBL. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Aim high: Warm and safe doesn’t mean easy. Set high expectations for all learners, the authors advise, and then provide necessary scaffolding to ensure that each student is working toward mastery.

Foster collaboration: Encourage collaboration rather than competition so that students benefit from peer feedback and help each other improve. If students are new to teamwork, start by having them work in pairs. Model what it means to be an active, respectful listener. Reinforce norms about resolving conflicts respectfully. That’s different from expecting your classroom to be a conflict-free zone.

Cultivate diversity as a resource: Cultivating diversity is not the same as taking a colorblind approach to teaching. The authors suggest drawing on students’ diverse backgrounds through music, literature, language, and current events. Foster critical thinking to help students analyze negative and stereotypical messages, in school and in the wider world. Don’t shy away from hard conversations about race and culture. Avoid what the authors call a “tourist” curriculum, which reduces multiculturalism to a tour of holidays. Invest time early in the year to learn about students’ diverse interests, talents, and backgrounds, and then incorporate this information as you plan projects. This will reinforce the message that students’ diverse experiences are classroom assets.

Listen for student voice: To develop their confidence as learners, students need regular opportunities to share their thoughts, make decisions, and reflect on their classroom experiences. That’s why the authors suggest strategies to amplify student voice. With regular opportunities to formulate ideas, explain their point of view, and elaborate on the ideas of others, students “feel the importance of their participation,” according to Steele and Cohn-Vargas. Peer feedback, common in PBL, is one of many ways to amplify student voice in the learning experience.

The authors also suggest rotating classroom roles, such as a “greeter” who welcomes visitors, or giving students a say when it comes to managing their own behavior. They share an example of a girl who learned to manage her restlessness by taking two-minute relaxation breaks in the library, whenever she needed them.

Promote autonomy: A classroom that promotes autonomy gives students room to make choices and take responsibility for their learning. Encourage autonomy by involving students in setting norms and reflecting on their progress. Use class meetings as opportunities for students to solve problems for themselves. As you gradually release responsibility to students, they will see themselves as capable people who can “make something happen,” the authors report. This goes hand-in-hand with PBL practices. At the end of a successful project, teachers often say they see students “standing a little taller.” It’s an apt metaphor for students developing autonomy and growing as learners.

What steps are you planning to ensure that your students feel welcome, safe, and intellectually challenged in your classroom this year? Please share your strategies in the comments.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AUGUST 29, 2014

SUZIE BOSS’S PROFILE

Youth Leaders Spread NIOS Message to PTAs Nationwide

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Youth Leaders Spread NIOS Message to PTAs Nationwide

Submitted by Sanders on July 10, 2013 – 2:45pm

Education Secretary Arne Duncan (center) with youth presenters and Becki Cohn-Vargas (far right).
 
By Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director
 
Youth leadership is a key part of Not In Our School anti-bullying initiatives, an aspect of our work that is showcased in our films and impressed the National PTA, who invited us to share promising practices for standing up to bullying at their National Youth Leadership Summit in June. We invited two Ohio students who appeared in our films to join us at the summit in Cincinnati.
 
Alana Garrett is a former high school student who led astudent mentoring program in a local elementary school in an East Cleveland, OH inner city school district. Shawyawn Sekhavat is a student from Pepper Pike, OH who led a mapping activity at his school, which helped him gain confidence to speak up and stop bullying.
 
Both had been filmed in 2009 and I had never met them, nor did I know if I would even find them. The good news is that I found both Alana, a sociology major at Baldwin Wallace University, and Shawyawn, studying pre-med at Ohio University, and both were very enthusiastic about participating.
 
The Town Hall
 
The summit was part of the National PTA Annual Conference, which began with the filming of a Discovery Town Hall about bullying, the second of a four-part series that will be posted on the Discovery Channel Website.
 
The Town Hall featured a panel with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Kari Byron, co-host of MythBusters, together with Alana, Shawyawn, youth leader Tharon Trujillo from California, and Brent Burnham, a school counselor from Utah. Kari Byron outlined some of the myths of bullying and the youth shared their perspectives.
 
The final word was offered to Secretary Duncan, who turned and passed the opportunity to Alana. She made an eloquent plea to not approach bullying from a legalistic or punitive perspective, which would lead to stigmatizing and labeling students. Zero tolerance policies will not end bullying, she explained, but would instead lead to negative consequences particularly for black and brown students. She called for an approach that helps students learn from their mistakes and promotes love and creates empathy.
 
The Summit
 
Youth participants came from many states and varied backgrounds. During the four-day summit, they heard a motivational speaker, and engaged in leadership skill-building. As part of the Summit, we conducted a workshop where attendees  viewed Alana and Shawyawn on film, interacted with them in person, and learned about the activities and impact of NIOS campaigns.
 
The summit attendees worked in small groups to design and present a model anti-bullying campaign for their schools. It was inspiring to see how, in such a short time, the youth were able to absorb and innovate, drawing from what they experienced. A team of judges selected the top two groups to present to the National PTA Board.
 
Ideas from all the youth presentations will be used to develop models and planning guides that will be shared with PTAs across the country, who can move them into action.
 
It was an honor for NIOS to participate in this effort that highlighted our principles of student-led initiatives working with the whole community to address both bullying and intolerance in sustained efforts. It was also wonderful to meet Alana and Shawyawn who are both continuing to grow as individuals and leaders, committed to making the world a safer and better place.
 

Bullying: PTAs as Catalyst for Change

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This article, written by Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas, originally appeared in the June/July 2012 California State PTA newsletter. Not In Our Town has partnered with CAPTA to work together to address bullying and intolerance in schools throughout California. Dr. Cohn-Vargas is the director of Not In Our School and an experienced educator.

We hear a lot about bullying, but do we ever stop to really think about what it is and the consequences of bullying? After all, isn’t just kids being kids, a part of growing up? Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully among others may have serious, lasting problems.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Bullying can affect people in many ways. Some may lose sleep or feel sick. Students may want to skip school. Some may even be thinking about suicide.

The impact that bullying has on students, chronicled in the recent film Bully, demands a bold response. The emotional trauma and poor academic performance documented in the film is experienced by millions of children every day, and sometimes even leads to suicide. The PBS documentary Not In Our Town: Class Actions showcases an award-winning student-led Not In Our School (NIOS) anti-bullying program that reached 50,000 students in Lancaster, California. After two teen suicides occurred within 50 miles of Lancaster, bullying was not something school leaders could ignore.

The story shows how an entire community unified to say “Not In Our School.” PTAs can be the catalyst for partnerships of students, parents and educators to create real change.

Not In Our School is more than a program; it is a movement that tackles both bullying andintolerance. While bullying is a behavior that must be curtailed, intolerance is like a virulent infection, spread through the influence of peers, family, teachers, and coaches, but also through the media, music, and the Internet. To address this effectively, a sustained community-wide campaign is needed that will:

  • Recognize, respond, and educate about bullying and intolerance;
  • Create opportunities for open dialogue;
  • Encourage bystanders to become “upstanders,” speaking up to safeguard themselves and others; and
  • Foster welcoming environments that take the concept of a “safe” school to a new level where all students’ voices, identities, and backgrounds are valued.

The stakes are enormous. California has passed anti-bullying legislation, but only a system-wide plan to address bullying and intolerance will affect lasting change. PTA is poised to actively engage in this anti-bullying movement and reach millions of children in ways that will influence their entire lives.

Reprinted from Niot.org http://www.niot.org/blog/bullying-ptas-catalyst-change