An important topic that came up in this weeks readings was aggression. Aggression is at times the crux of human interaction. It is the protector, it is the defender, it is the punisher. However it is not needed as much anymore. Aggression as a tool has no place in certain areas of life, and one of those areas is in the educational system. Yet time and time again we see horrific acts of violence sensationalized in the media when they occur in our most sacred establishments of learning. So what does all this violence in schools mean? Should teachers be armed? Should students be homeschooled? Should everything move to online learning? There are many questions and many answers, however a solution that is right in front of us is thus: education. We have these institutions in place for a reason. Our children spend over half of their days in schools. This is where they learn everything from socialization to reasoning and behavioral expectations. Of course the base of these things are learned at home, but in application, school is where these students go to really learn all that they need in terms of social context.
So what does this have to do with the educational system. Well in terms put lightly, a lot of bad things have happened in schools throughout the last few years. One of the most obvious solutions to this is to really educate students about the negative affects of violence and aggression starting at a young age through in school programs. One such program is the GREAT program, or the Guiding Responsibility and Expectations for Adolescents for Today and Tomorrow. This program was created to help deter acts of violence and aggression in schools (Orpinas & Homes, 2004). Orpinas and Holmes (2004) took a simple idea and implemented it; they created a program that educated teachers about different types of aggression, risk factors for such behavior, taught them how to develop methods of preventing aggression, and how to assist students who have become targets of aggression. This is such a simple thing to be taught, and all it takes is a little bit of specialization and a few weeks of time on the part of the teacher. By educating the teachers, students can then be further taught how to deal with aggression from all angles whether it be from external or internal sources.
While the GREAT program is a good example of what can be done to mitigate aggression, it is not the only thing to be done. But it does have the right idea. Many people place the blame on the students, but like we learned in the reading, the students tend to behave based on what they feel are the expectations. If they see abuse and violence as a normalized thing then they will act as such and that can create a whole host of problems. This means placing a lot of the responsibility on the teachers instead of the students and ensuring they know how to create a proper environment to decrease aggression and foster a positive learning environment for their students.
So while many say that educational system is the problem, in fact, it is the solution. It is simply an exercise in using the right resources and implementing effective ideas in order to foster a positive environment for both the students and the teachers so that aggression can be dealt with in any number of ways so that the educational system can do what it was meant to do.
Orpinas, P., Horne, A. M., Multisite Violence Prevention Project (2004). A teacher-focused approach to prevent and reduce students’ aggressive behavior: the GREAT Teacher Program. American journal of preventive medicine, 26(1 Suppl), 29-38.