A transformational change approach to bullying

Problems associated with bullying are often more significant at the middle school level where peer orientation increases and status is often achieved through acts of bullying and aggression. The purpose of this study is to examine the transforming power of the introduction and practice of the theory of reciprocal altruism on the behavior of middle school students in relation to acts of bullying/aggression and cooperation. Data were collected through the Olweus Student Bullying Survey (1996), a teacher survey, observational notes, anonymous discipline records and anonymous personal communications and then analyzed to determine the possible effects of this approach. This transformational change approach to bullying positively influenced one middle school classroom, creating a safe, healthy environment and social climate that supported the achievement of all students. A school-wide bullying program, which included a component involving a transformational change in the desire of a bully to engage in acts of bullying and aggression, could positively influence the environment and social climate of middle school. Key Words: aggression, bullying, cooperation, middle school, reciprocal altruism, transformational change