Does your school/organisation have an Acceptable Use policy? Is it effective? Are there any issues with it?
There is one P – 12 college in the rural town where I live, so I have chosen to investigate their Acceptable Use Policy which is available for anyone to view on their school website. They have developed a social media policy based on recommendations from the Victorian Department of Education and Training and provide links to a step by step guide when responding to online incidents.
I have no teaching experience to provide insight into the policy’s effectiveness however I notice that step 1 in the guide is to identify incidents of misconduct, indicating that cyberbullying and breaches of policy have already occurred. I think step 1 should include a preventative measure by developing awareness, explicitly teaching digital citizenship/responsibility and fostering a sense of empathy of others.
I also notice that the school restricts use of mobile devices in some contexts. This could prove difficult when trying to develop students 21st-century skills across the web. I think the affordances of technology are too great to dismiss in the classroom, and perhaps if misconduct and distraction are common problems, more time needs to be spent explicitly teaching and explaining what constitutes acceptable use.
Post your thoughts and ideas about how you will deal with cyberbullying in your teaching context.
Bullying and cyberbullying are significant issues that need to be addressed whether they occur online or not. Everyone has the right to feel safe and teachers must acknowledge the power of their interactions with students by providing support to those most vulnerable. Wentzel and Asher argue that warm relationships between teachers and students can insulate the feeling of isolation that often stems from bullying (Wentzel & Asher, 1995). I align my views of classroom behaviour with egalitarian principles thus believe that creating positive, supportive and collaborative school environments across a school, home and community context can work best as a prevention mechanism when it comes to bullying (Porter, 2006). This can be achieved by promoting awareness, explicitly developing feelings of empathy and fostering connections between peers. Research indicates that students who experience a positive school climate are at lower risk of bullying and cyberbullying (Hinduja & Patchin, 2015). However, I do acknowledge that this is a pre-service view of teaching and the reality would be vastly different. I think we need to create teachable moments by opening the lines of communication, develop relationships and provide mechanisms that set up a framework of accountability. This is where cyberbullying and digital citizenship go hand in hand.
I would love to hear the insight of those who have completed a practical component of this course, or from those already in the teaching profession that can provide an alternative view to further my understanding.
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. (2015). Developing a positive school climate to prevent bullying and cyberbullying. Retrieved from Cyberbullying Research Centre: http://cyberbullying.org/developing-a-positive-school-climate-to-prevent-bullying-and-cyberbullying
Payne, A., & Gottfredson, D. (2004). Schools and bullying: school factors related to bullying and school-based bullying interventions. In C. Sanders, & G. Phye (Eds.), Bullying: Implications for the Classroom (pp. 159-176). San Diego, CA: Elsevier.
Porter, L. (2006). Student Behaviour: Theory and Practice for Teachers. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Intergrating Educational Technology into Teaching (6th ed.). Essex, UK: Pearson Education Limited.
State of Victoria Department of Education and Training. (2013). Acceptable Use Policy. Retrieved from http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/health/Pages/lolsocialmediaaup.aspx.
Wentzel, K., & Asher, S. (1995). The academic lives of neglected, rejected, popular and controversial children. Child Development, 66(3), 754-763.