Bad School Experience

Bullying

  • Ensure that the organisation's policy on bullying is clear and all students are made aware of it at induction
  • Ensure that it is easy to report bullying and that students know where, how and to whom they should make a report.
  • Ensure that action is taken on reports
  • Prevention is better than cure - a good class climate will prevent altercations and harassment
  • Good bonds between student groups are preventative
  • Discuss the concept of bullying in various contexts - global, local and individual
  • Students may identify bullying behaviour in others but not in themselves; the use of wider contexts should help them draw comparisons
  • Develop as many channels of communication as you can practically use. This aids the reporting of problems
  • Consider the use of other students as peer buddies
  • Use learning techniques that raise self esteem in both the bully and the bullied
  • Examine your institution at all levels. Are you leading by example or do you allow bullying to happen to yourself or others? Do you engage in any forms of bullying? Remember that we are all very good at legitimising and excusing our own behaviour!

Authority

  • Sometimes a student finds it hard to follow instructions due to previous abuses of authority
  • Consider examining with the students the forms of authority and where they are or are not appropriate
  • Link to workplace and employability
  • Co-operative learning will enhance student experience of fluid leadership

Labelling

  • Sometimes students are given labels by others
  • The response to this is sometimes to act out what the label says they are
  • This is akin to the idea of 'deviancy amplification'
  • Operate a clean sheet environment and ensure staff so not engage in labelling of individuals or groups
  • Don't:
    • engage in stereotypes 'All xxxxx are good at maths'
    • compare people to others 'Your sister was a brilliant student'
    • make assumptions 'Their parents won't let them'
    • assume their past is similar to their future
  • Do:
    • use the intercultural approach to classroom diversity
    • see diversity as a benefit
    • see all as individuals
    • see all with lots of potential

Failing to reach goals

  • Ensure that the student knows that a history of failure does not always lead to future failure
  • Use examples of role models who failed in the past
  • Discuss the need to learn lessons and move on
  • Discuss how failure does not define us
  • Discuss the nature of failure in relation to subject, i.e. fail to build a wall that stands, a cake that rises, an essay or test that does not reach the pass mark

General

  • The type of bad school experiences could be many
  • Some could be related to the behaviour and attitude of the individual, some to that of the school or staff or peers in the school
  • Use induction events to underline the 'fresh start'

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