Barbadian education specialist Dr Kenneth Williams has joined in the battle to rid our school system, and others places where children play, of bullyism.
The effort by Williams, who holds a doctorate in management and education, is in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, and he has been going to a number of primary schools conducting training and research sessions with adults.
Taking time out to speak to the media at the St Paul’s Primary School’s Parent-Teacher Association meeting last evening, he said the work was done mainly at primary schools because that was where children first showed signs of bullying.
“We are doing research now in several schools and we are trying to understand some factors that contribute to bullying,” he said.
He observed that children practised bullying at school only because it was a different, and in some cases, more free environment.
“Some of the schools do not have the kind of boundaries at home as they should. And these boundaries are around things like being able to come in at certain times, complete your homework on time, complete your homework. And also too their attitude towards teachers, etcetera.”
Williams, a professor at the School for International Training in Vermouth, United States, and a former Queen’s College teacher, said that some said parents must take some of the blame for the antics an attitudes of their children, who on many occasions only copied what they
saw done by adults.
“And we have some of the parents who actually come to school with attitudes. Lots of factors that contribute to this,” he said.
“So what we are trying to do today here today at St Paul’s is look at the role of parents in building a respective environment where we can actually reduce bullying. And we recognize that some parents do not have the skills. We have some parents who are turning up to PTAs, being involved in their children’s life, some parents who are constantly giving, but we have a lot of parents who are not doing what they should do.”
The PTA meeting yesterday has just over 30 parents and a few teachers, and Williams said the number has been growing. The challenge, however, is to get more of the adults out to the sessions so the message that bully prevention starts in the home can be passed on, and they understand the major parents play in taking away this scourge from Barbadian society.
“What we are trying to do is we are trying to outreach the parents so we could help [them] recognize that we have to work together. Because if some kids are not bullying, and the others are misbehaving, it’s going to impact all the school community.
“So we are trying our best to see if we can work with as many parents as possible. Today we have a much larger number of parents than we normally have. And they have been pushing to find ways to get a lot more parents to come to these meetings at St Paul’s”.