Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2012 Issue »

    Rules of the Culture and Personal Needs

    Witnesses’ Decision-Making Processes to Deal with Situations of Bullying in Middle School

    Silvia Diazgranados Ferráns, Robert L. Selman, and Luba Falk Feigenberg
    This article explores the decision-making processes by which early adolescents choose a strategy to upstand, bystand, or join the perpetrators when they witness situations of physical and relational bullying in their schools. Authors Silvia Diazgranados Ferráns, Robert L. Selman, and Luba Falk Feigenberg analyze data from twenty-three interviews conducted with eighth graders in four middle schools using a grounded theory approach and propose an emerging theoretical framework to guide future research on bullying. Their framework includes a multilevel model that identifies nested sources of influence on students’ responses to bullying and a decision-making tree that hypothesizes different choice paths that student witnesses’ decision-making processes might follow in situations of bullying as predicted by the students’ positions along a set of “key social-relational indices.” Finally, the authors connect their findings with current debates in the field of moral decision making and discuss the implications for re-searchers, practitioners, and policy makers.

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    Silvia Diazgranados Ferráns is a New Civics Early Career Spencer Scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she focuses on the study of the development and promotion of citizenship competencies and the evaluation of programs that help children at risk of victimization and perpetration to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to live as constructive members of a democratic society. She is the founder of Juegos de Paz in Colombia—an education-for-peace program that works in alliance with the U.S.-based organization Peace First—which so far has been implemented in thirty-five schools in rural areas highly affected by violence. Prior to working in the field of prevention science and citizenship education, Diazgranados Ferráns conducted clinical and research work with victims from war who suffered PTSD and studied the process of reintegration of former child soldiers, paramilitary, and guerrilla members to civil society.

    Robert L. Selman is the Roy E. Larsen Professor of Human Development and Education and the founder (in 1992) of the Prevention Science and Practice Program within the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His courses draw from ongoing research into the developmental and cultural antecedents of children’s capacity to form and maintain positive social relationships, as well as ways to prevent negative psychological, social, and health outcomes in high-risk environments. Currently, Selman studies the relationship of children’s developing social awareness to their literacy skills—as described in The Promotion of Social Awareness (Russell Sage Foundation, 2007), awarded best book by the Moral Education division of the American Educational Research Association—and to history, social studies, civic, and literature courses for adolescents across middle and high school.

    Luba Falk Feigenberg is the assistant program director for the Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships, the community mental health program of the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on the impact of school-based mental health services on children, teachers, and school settings. Previously, she conducted research on school climate and students’ responses to situations of bullying and social exclusion. Feigenberg also teaches graduate-level courses on child mental health, research methods, and program evaluation and is a licensed school adjustment counselor in Massachusetts.
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    Winter 2012 Issue

    Abstracts

    Rules of the Culture and Personal Needs
    Witnesses’ Decision-Making Processes to Deal with Situations of Bullying in Middle School
    Silvia Diazgranados Ferráns, Robert L. Selman, and Luba Falk Feigenberg
    Transforming Teaching and Learning Through Social Movement in Mexican Public Middle Schools
    Santiago Rincón-Gallardo and Richard F. Elmore
    “Coming into Presence” as Mentally Ill in Academia
    A New Logic of Emancipation
    Rochelle Skogen

    Book Notes

    Postsecondary Education for American Indian and Alaska Natives
    Edited by Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy, Amy J. Fann, Angelina E. Castagno, and Jessica A. Solyom

    Asian American Education—Identities, Racial Issues, and Languages
    Edited by Xue Lan Rong and Russell Endo