Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Be Proactive

I am reading this article on bullying and how it affects twenty-five percent of high school students. As I read I noticed where it is occurring: hallways, stairwells, locker rooms, bathrooms, cafeteria...all places where there is very little adult supervision.

It seems to me that there is a pretty simple solution to this. Adults need to be present in these places. I remember years ago reading Ruth Charney's book Teaching Children to Care and one of many lines that she wrote has stuck with me for these ten plus years. "I see you. I see everything.". When students know (at any age) that we can see them regardless of where they are there is a feeling of safety. Not to mention that many people become more cognizant of their behavior when they know others are 'watching'.

If this is true for a classroom, playground, or hallway wouldn't it also be true online? If students know that someone, an adult, is there wouldn't they feel safer? Wouldn't they be more likely to be socially responsible? Isn't this why we should be using social networks in our classroom? Encouraging parents to get on social networks? Creating twitter lists of our students to monitor their feed? Creating Facebook groups to do the same?

As adults in a society, global community, it is our responsibility to guide children. And we can only do that if we are there; modeling, monitoring, reinforcing. Some would say children aren't ready for the world wide web. But I say that they are only as ready as we guide them to be.

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