A majority of students in learning institutions are involved in bullying either as the bullies, victims, or witnesses. Therefore, it is vital that intervention strategies aimed at stopping/reducing bullying include the whole school population (Hunt, 2007). This paper will focus on anti-bullying intervention programs executed by trained teachers in the classroom context within a period of one year. The aim of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of an anti-bullying educational program on attitudes towards bullying. The hypothesis of the research is that the program will result in a shift in attitudes of students with regards to bullying, particularly, a relatively more sympathetic attitude towards those who are bullied, as well as an increased student understanding of the conducts that make up bullying and the strategies for discouraging the vice. In addition, the program is expected to significantly decrease the incidences of reported bullying. This section discusses the planning of the evaluation design of the study, the location of the sources of information for the study, as well as data collection.
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Planning the Evaluation Design for the Study
The evaluation design will be composed of both a pre-test and a post-test design. The sample will consist of 900 pupils randomly selected from form 1 to form 4 in three public secondary schools in Chicago, U.S.A. Prior to the commencement of the anti-bullying program, all the 900 students will be given self-report questionnaires to assess their knowledge regarding bullying. Below are some of the questions that will be asked in the questionnaires:
- What does bullying mean?
- Has someone bullied you? If so, what actions did you take?
- Have you witnessed your friend being bullied? If so, what was your reaction? Tick one of the following options: a) I ignored, b) I walked away, c) I stopped the bully and d) I called for help.
- What bullying behaviors have you witnessed?
- Between bullies and victims of bullying, who do you support and why?
- How many cases of bullying have you witnessed?
The students will be given a full day to fill the questionnaires, which will be collected gathered at the end of that day. To effectively evaluate what effect the anti-bullying program has on the students’ attitudes, the sample will be divided into three equal groups of 300 students each i.e. 2 experimental groups (Group 1 & 2) and the control group (Group 3). Only the students in the experimental groups will undergo the one-year training on the anti-bullying educational program. As part of the program, all the three schools from which the research sample will be drawn will be expected to exercise vivid and stringent disciplinary measures throughout the research period and after, for those students who will be found/ or reported to engage in bullying fellow students. In the course of the period of implementing the program, students in group 2 will be shown a thirty-minute play with a message on bullying and how to avoid it. Through the use of three puppets (hand and rod), puppeteers will stage a scene involving both direct and indirect bullying and a successful conflict resolution strategy (Stevens, De Bourdeaudhuij & Van Oost, 2000). This is intended to enhance their awareness of bullying. The show will be staged to them four times at an interval of one month to ensure they get the message. At the end of the four months, group 2 students will be asked to fill in the questionnaires asking them to identify the bullying behaviors and ways of dealing with bullying they have watched in the play. They will be given a full day to fill the questionnaires just like at the beginning of the program.
At the end of the one-year program, questionnaires with questions listed above (page 2-3) will be given to all the 900 students to evaluate the impact of the anti-bullying program on them i.e. whether the program will have increased their knowledge and changed their attitudes towards bullying. The pre-test and post-test responses of students in groups 1 and 2 will compared against each other and to the control group 3, to determine if there are significant differences in the attitudes and responses of the three groups regarding bullying.
Location of the Sources of Information
The sources of information for the study will be located by researching the past related studies from my University library to have a good understanding of how the effects of anti-bullying intervention programs on the attitudes of students are evaluated. In addition, I will locate information from primary sources such as the responses of the students from the questionnaires.
Information Collection for the Study
Information will be collected by constructing questionnaires which both open and closed ended questions to assess the knowledge of the students regarding various aspects of bulling (see the questions listed above). Since, the aim of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of the anti-bullying program, a comparison of the knowledge of the students regarding bullying before and after the program will be necessary. Questionnaires will be given to the students in three stages: at the beginning of the study, in the course of the program, and at the end of the one-year program. Note that all the nine hundred students will be assessed at the beginning and the end of the research, but only students who watched the thirty-minute play (Group 2) will be assessed in the course of the study. Once all the data is collected, the responses of the two groups (Groups 1 & 2) will be compared against one another, and to the control group (Group 3) to find out if the anti-bullying program positively affected the attitudes of the students regarding bullying.
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