|Would you like to discover the causes of
bullying? – Try interactive action research!
Action research follows the idea: "If you want to know how things hang together, start by changing them." All the methodical traits in SCm (as e.g. constructive ignorance) have emerged in action research. The interesting thing now is that a therapeutic mediator obtains insight into the causes of bullying by the process of and in addition to listening to both parties. After the shared solution has been reached we can, in a relaxed mood together, ask non-accusing questions "How did the whole thing begin?". A verified view about the causes emerges. The information we get is, of course, in some respect valid only for the particular case being dealt with.
If a therapeutic mediator believes that general laws for the causes of bullying could be helpful for general prevention, he or she would assemble the information they found from a great number of treatments. It would mean a "reversed research of causes", i.e. achieve first the aim – the cessation of bullying – and then in a relaxed mood ask how the conflict or bullying started. Such post-treatment interviews are in SCm validated under best possible circumstances: (1) in dialogues about events that happened really and recently (2) the actors are persons who do not feel accused. If we get a representative number of such post-treatment dialogues we can see whether there appears some general laws of nature that we did not know before and that could help prevention of bullying.
All theories about the driving force behind bullying have to my knowledge so far been based on interviews and observations independently of creative treatment and prevention. The variables that the unadorned research of causes of bullying are very simple. The most common issue is whether the bullies openly aggressive or are the bullies students whose aggression is clandestine? The dominant researcher in this field, Dan Olweus, presents with figures from questionnaires a reason in a circle: those whom we perceive as aggressive bullies are openly aggressive bullies. The researcher satisfies here a demand of the market to be entertained by enemy images. The consumers get absorbed so highly about the Evil that no energy is left to carry on with methods of treatment.
As we know, the whole-school-programmes intend to intensify rejection of bullies while at the same time to some extent also promote patterns of friendly communication between students. This is reasonable. The question is: Why do books on bullying in school start off by descriptions of bullying and continue by presenting "scientific evidence" about causes that are already evident? Apparently, it satisfies a need to maintain enemy images.
Does observation of aggression, where the observing researcher is dwelling in the corridors (where pupils’ aggression may occur), contribute new knowledge for treatment? So far hardly anything compared with action research, i.e. observations during treatment in order to change undesired behaviour (preferably in interaction with the pupils contributing to a solution). The need in human beings to observe the evil is so strong that researchers, relying on their scientific status, assure, without referring to control groups watched by surveillance cameras, that "after a while the pupils omit the presence of the observer".
I would focus to the motives of the violence researchers. Comparative studies between the countries would be interesting. I have so far no quantitative evidence but just personal observation that the discussion of bullying is more ardent in Great Britain, Norway and Sweden. Instead of testing this hypothesis I would make a practical suggestion: let us use your resources on action research concerning methods that involve the approval of the pupils! If there should be any problems with SCm or ACBM (All in the Class Become Mediators), let us discuss them!
All in the Class Become Mediators – ACBM – an extension of SCm
Please observe that SCm and ACBM are firstly aimed at completing those attitude-forming measures found in the market. Secondly they are useful for discovering the bullying behind the backs of teachers that whole-school-programmes abandon. Training of teachers and dealing with pupils are based on learning-by-doing. In accordance with well-tried scientific evidence the effects of pupils’ own doing persist longer than lectures supported by audiovisual materials and declarations to condemn the evil.