Peermediation is defined as a negotiation-based strategic solution thattrains students’ mediators with alternative strategies to assistthem in solving conflicts that arise among their peers. Students inpeer mediation are trained to act as conflict managers to work onproblem-solving strategies in order to help their peers settle theirdisputes in a way that is satisfying to all the parties. With such astrategy, it helps the students keep away from minor incidents thatescalate over a period of time. Of importance is that peer mediationequips students with alternative set of skills, which can assist themto apply in conflicting situations (Katz, 2012). Over a period oftime, students with effective programs on peer mediation learn thatthere has to be alternatives for solving personal issues or resolvinginterpersonal problems. With peer mediation, there has been apersistent problem in this field that keeps on influencing the wholeprocess. Such persistent problem is bullying, especially in schools.This purpose of this paper therefore is to discuss this persistentproblem as part of a peer mediation, and give reasons on how asolution to the problem could be arrived at by application ofempirical studies, backed up with positivistic orientation theory byuse of experimental research design. In addition, the paper willanalyze causal relationship between experimental/quantitativeresearch, positivistic theory, and problem-solving appliances. Themanner in which key variables in a relationship affect such kind ofapplication in peer mediation will also be examined.
Bullyingis defined as the use of threat, coercion, or force to dominate,abuse, or aggressively intimidate others. Such a behavior is known tobe habitual and repeated. From this, one vital prerequisite is otherpeople’s perception or bullying of social imbalance or physicalpower. Such behaviors, which involve bullying aims to assert thatkind of domination including threat, verbal harassment (Cowie &Wallace, 2000), coercion, or physical assault, and these acts couldbe directed incessantly towards specific targets. At times, bullyingrationalizations may include gender differences, social class, sexualorientation, race, behavior, personality, strength, lineage,reputation, appearance, ability or size. Mobbing is when bullying isdone by more than two people (Gunnar, 2003).
Theact could be defined in a number of ways. In United Kingdom forexample, has no particular definition of bullying, while on the otherhand, the United States came up with laws against the act. Accordingto Harris et al. (2014), bullying has four basic parts of abuse:Emotional, which is sometimes known as rational, physical, verbal,and cyber bullying. All the four types of bullying involve all mannerof coercion, for example, intimidation. Such act ranges from a minorone-on-one altercation to more complex forms of intimidations,whereby the bully may have more than one individual ready to assistto intimidate others with his or her activities. In workplace andschools, such an act is known as peer abuse. In this particular case,a bullying culture could emerge in any contextual manner, wherebypeople interact with one another. This could happen in schools,workplace, family, neighborhoods, and home.
Accordingto Katz (2012), persistent problem to peer mediation is as a resultof resentment and envy which makes a prerequisite to bullyingactivities. While research studies carried out on bullies’self-esteem have since trigger equivocal results, some bullies areknown to be narcissistic and arrogant. This is because they usebullying as a means of concealing anxiety and shame, or as aself-esteem booster. They do this by demeaning other “inferior”beings so that they could feel more empowered. In addition, they maybully due to fear, jealousy, or it may be due to being bullied byothers. From this, a number of researchers have identified some riskfactors, which includes personality disorders and depression, as wellas easily angered individuals and use of force, mistaking otherpeople’s actions as hostile, addition to certain aggressions,insecurity to keeping certain image, and getting involved with rigidor obsessive actions. Merdin & Ahn (2005) noted that combinationof depression and that kind of anti-social traits has been found tobe the reason behind predictions of violence, at the same time, theynoted that exposure to television and game violence were not theactual predictors of such a behavior.
Masterpasqua& Perna (1997) argued that bullying result from brain abnormalityor genetic predisposition. For instance, parents may assist a toddlerto grow emotional control and manage restrictions to aggressivebehavior, but some children may fail to grow with these skills due toinsecurity from their families’ attachment, environmental factors,and ineffective disciplinary actions, for example, stressful andhostile family members. Moreover, according to Pasjak & Pirc(2014), majority of bullies are inclined towards the negativity andfailure in their academic work. On the contrary, some critics suggestthat bullies are very strong psychologically and that they havestrong social standing among their peer friends, while their victimsare distressed emotionally and marginalized socially. Bully’sactions are often promoted by these peer groups. Members of such peergroups get involved in behaviors, for example, mocking, punching,insulting, and excluding each other as a means of entertainment. Itis also argued that a small number of bullies, those that have notbeen bullied, like to go to school, and are less likely to missschools.
Bullyingactivities often occur in the presence of large number of people thatare relatively termed as unconcerned bystanders. More often, Rigby(2012) noted that it is the ability of the bully to develop anillusion that the majority could easily support, and as a result, itinstills anxiety and fear of presenting grievances during the protestof bullying activities, which are observed by the bystanders, unlessthe bully mentality is not challenged effectively by concernedbystanders or individuals in a groups at its initial stages. Moreoften than not, it results to a supported or acceptable norm within aspecific group. Bullying culture, unless it is not stopped, couldcontinue for ages. Successfully established bystanders have their ownfriendships or support groups, and that they have been identified tobe more outspoken against certain acts of bullying than theindividuals that have not. In addition, communications frombystanders should be intervened for self-efficacy of individualismsince a certain research suggests that interventions must be built onfoundations that advocate bullying as a morally wrong behavior(Harris et al. 2012).
BullyingSolution and Analysis Based on Empirical Study Results
Socialscientists are known to study complex and diverse phenomenon: fromin-depth analysis of an individual’s social life to census datathat is derived from hundreds of thousands of individual beings frommonitoring street happenings to historical analysis of what happenedlong time ago. For better understanding of this social scenario,researchers are also known to use different forms of researchmethodologies that can easily but generally be subdivided intoqualitative and quantitative research methodology. However, Bohart(2001) cautioned that there are various compelling reasons as to themethod of selection within the arena of social science. In this case,the solution to bullying, as a form of peer mediation is obtainedthrough application of empirical study results coupled withpositivistic orientation to theory by incorporating experimentaldesign in research.
Thefollowing empirical study involves a whole-school approach thatshould function as a system to combat the act of bullying. In thisregard, the decision process, procedures, functional operations, andinformation flow of operations should be observed as components thatwork towards achieving a certain goal. Rachel was a new fifth-gradestudent. She became involved with a group of popular girls at her newschool. All the girls enjoyed each other’s company. Betty, one ofthe girls, who was their leader, was away during the first threeweeks of school. When she returned, she found out that her clique hadbefriended Rachel. She became threatened by the new girl’sincreasing popularity within her group and some other girls. After awhile, the girls began to snub Rachel. Rachel could not fathom whathad happened or what had offended the girls. During lunch in one ofthe days, Rachel learnt about the negative rumors that were spreadabout her. She was distraught since she didn’t know how to correctthe situation.
Theabove vignette is an example of an empirical study that happens inmajority of the schools. In such a case, the scenario presents arelational act as an example of bullying that is normally experienceevery day. Rachel depicts common bullying attributes. Such a casereveals peer aggression, where peer identity is regarded to beimportant to their cognitive and socio-emotional development. To dealwith such a case, positivism theory should be applied, which iscoupled with applying the results that comes up from such as case byusing experimental design on orientation (O’Moore, 1997).
Tobegin with, the use of school-based approach is the most effectiveway in combating such a bullying case. Again, Katz (2012) claims thatit is very broad, multi-dimensional, and complex to counter bullyingbehavior and its consequences. A number of strategies can beidentified in this case in order to combat such form of bullying byusing whole-school approach. Rachel and Betty situation warrantsanti-bullying policy, which means that the school management, in thefirst place, has all the responsibility to come up with anti-bullyingpolicy in collaboration to stakeholders’ regard. Adler & Adler(1998) cautioned that for such an approach to function effectively,all members of the school community, which include theadministration, teachers and students should corporate to offer acomprehensive, systematic anti-bullying policy.
Inaddition to the above approach, it is evident that such an empiricalstudy can be used to effectively intervene to reduce bullying, forinstance to that of Rachel and Betty, by creation of supportive andsafe school climate. First, to deal with such a situation, possibleways and information about this bullying issue should be dealt withby making it available to the students via regular programmes, whichinvolves caution and awareness (Cowie & Wallace, 2000). Students,parents and school personnel should be encouraged to actively beinvolved in such awareness. In addition, the latter should involvefocus groups discussions and information sessions, or a conferenceaimed at identification of possible methods to deal with bullying.
Secondly,results of the empirical study demands that every school must come upwith an anti-bullying policy that should be understood by all theparties involved especially the students, for example, Rachel andBetty. Demarco & Johnston Institute (1998) advised that thepolicy should place bullying policy forms, or categories, and liststhe examples. The policy should ensure that bullying forms are alsoplaced under the relevant misconduct categories. The probablesanctions that are applicable to every form must be indicated, andfinally, the contact-person responsible for keeping and handlingcomplaints or records must be designated.
Thirdly,Algozzine et al. (2005) noted that with such an approach, victims andother concerned parties must be encouraged to report such behaviorsof bullying to ensure that bullies are made aware of theinappropriateness of their actions. Again, the students, for example,Betty and Rachel, must be adequately cautioned at the same timeadvised during every counselling session by their educators.Subsequently, the school policy must stipulate clearly the immediateconsequences of behavioral aggressions.
Thereare other strategies to this approach that are obtained when suchapproaches are applied. Such approaches include generous praises forhelpful and pro-social behavior by the students, class meetings onbullying, outlining specific rules against bully’s actions,teaching social skills, and council of educators’ information forimplementation of the above strategies (Kanhai, 2003).
Byuse of positivistic theoretical orientation, Berne (2005) recommendedthat curriculum is a vehicle for creation of the students’ values,behavior and beliefs. As such, this theoretical orientation offers abetter understanding of the act of bullying as well as academicprowess that can help to reduce such behavioral aggression. Thistheoretical orientation is also able to provide better social skillsthat help to assist to raise issues on bullying in meetings, classdiscussions, and assemblies. With such an approach, one is able todevelop skills to assists in responding effectively to the acts ofbullying, which involves reading texts, getting involved in dramas,and role plays on anti-bullying (Kahnai, 2003).
Withpositivistic theoretical orientation, Algozzine et al. (2005)stresses the need for training on in-service for every school staffto raise their awareness on the probable chances of bullying in thestyles of their teaching. Rachel and Betty, for example, were got inbetween personal and social situations. If the approach had playedits part, which could have been based on co-operative values,creation of bullying context could likely not have flourished betweenthe two friends. With such a positivistic theory, awareness couldhave been raised in order to facilitate understanding of sharingsocial procedures. The theoretical orientation also initiatesdiscussions and understanding among students on the nature ofbullying. In addition, such discussion and understanding assist Berne(2005) to stresses that such an orientation should emphasis on theneed for schools to integrate bullying as an issue within thesyllabus, whereby such a need could not only provide figures andtechniques, but also values in reducing instances of bullying.
Positivistictheory touches on some of the areas where bullying is more likely tooccur, for example, the playground. In addition, the positivisticorientation advices on the need to supervise and monitor studentsduring playing times to ensure that such playing areas should becreative, save, and constructive. Physical and social environment,according to Demarco & Johnston Institute (1998), should beseparated in terms of age, smooth and rough games. Young studentswill neither be bullied nor loved however, they probably could havethe right to strive in a more nurturing environment.
CausalRelationship: Positivistic Theory, Quantitative Research, and ProblemSolving Application
Thecausal relationships between quantitative and positivism research canbe found in recent application of peer mediation. Cowie & Wallace(2000) identifies that quantitative research is incorporated withpositivistic approach. In positivistic approach, the knowledge gainedthrough experimental and scientific research is quantifiable andobjective, especially on the topic of bullying in schools, forexample. From the positivism perspective, one could think that orbegin to imagine students hypothesis engaging in bullying, while someof them cite cases of low self-esteem. Positivism approach helps todesign an intervention program that raises student risks on bullyingand self-esteem. To determine the level of bullying in a particularschool, one has to approach such scenario with positivism, and thenfollowed by setting up of experimental control for many variables,and finally the results are measured. According to Adler & Adler(1998), there are comparisons that are grounded in misunderstandingthe differences between quantitative research and positivistictheory. Quantitative researchers for instance use grounded theory tocreate categories, which could fit datum before these categoriessaturate.
Suchprocess is said to be an abstraction on the datum produced.Similarly, quantitative researchers adapt factor analysis onexploratory factor for constructs in all the dimensions that emerge,which can be properly loaded into abstracted dimensions. Katz (2012)suggested that such misunderstanding stems from association ofquantitative methods and one-way endorsed reductionism, which assumesstatic reality, is attributed to myth that says that positivists arerealists.
Tobegin with, quantitative research is the investigative observablephenomena through mathematical, statistical, or computationaltechniques. In this regard, causal relationship as far as bullying isconcerned, is the belief that certain events are bound to occur in aparticular way, and that a single event could result into another.O’Moore (1997) pointed out that if for example the relationshipbetween two people is non-spurious, chances are there is temporalcausal order that is in line with permanency, and that it can bededuced to have causal relationship. In this case, bullying occursthrough causal relationships, whereby one party knows that bullyingwill have to happen in particular way and the other party (victim) isnot aware.
Onthe other hand, causal relationship can be analyzed by looking at thepositivism approach which examines the experience acquired frompositive proof of observable experiences for instance the case ofbullying. There is a specific way in which research should beconducted, which suggests certain social sciences should be carriedout similarly to those in natural sciences: This is known aspositivistic approach. According to Bohart (2001), positivism ischaracterized by central component of paradigm all through itsmanifestations, which can be observed through cause and effect. Forinstance, when bullying occurs, there is always a cause and an effectthat triggers its initial cause: The cause, in that, it is whatcauses the act of bullying, and effect in that, it is what resultsafter the act. In the case of positivist social approach, similarcauses are identifying that are similar to causal relationships.
Analyzingcausal relationships between positivism and quantitative approachtriggers questions that appear to be fundamentally incompatible sinceboth imply very different perspectives between objective reality andthe truth. Harris et al., (2012) analyzes that the positivistapproach remain with the belief that a true reason or cause of asocial pattern or an event can be identified and tested by usingscientific methods of verification. On the other hand, thequantitative approach does not look for an objective truth to a pointof unraveling subjective patterns of understanding. This approachassumes that all the truth versions are molded by the perceptions of,for example, the bystanders.
Inregard to this account, interpretative analysis of both thepositivistic approach and quantitative approach could not be held tovalidate empirical tests across such cases as bullying since it istied by nature through particular systems (Rigby, 2012). Constructionof patterns and causal laws, which are generalized across the casesautomatically divorces the interpretation of what happens in suchparticular cases, in this case, bullying.
Thirdly,when problem-solving application is put in line with positivism andquantitative approach, it outlines Pacjak & Pirc (2014)suggestion that such application be evaluated in terms of theirrelativity and effectiveness in generation and creation ofsignificant and cognitive problems. On this view, the application isrationally persuaded to an extent that the current approaches, thepositivism and quantitative approach, within is maximized duringproblem-solving and minimized during anomalous problems frequency. Itis no simple task to incorporate positivism and quantitativeapproaches to problem-solving application (Masterpasqua & Perna,1997).
Thisperspective means that when these approaches are interpreted, theobjectivity and reality phenomena could be simultaneously examined,and that could further be important in understanding connectionbetween the approaches. Medin & Ahn (2005) reiterated that thefact that there is a difference between subjective and objectivecontext which both differs may influence subjectivity meanings.Therefore, compatibility approaches are found between problem-solvingapplications with positivism. The approaches focus on how and whyindividuals observe and perceive events the way they do yet they arealso able to recognize objective reality influences. This could behard to discern but it is potentially known.
KeyVariables in the Relationship
Allthe research approaches are based on variables, which can be definedas the attribute or characteristic of a group or an individual, whichis of importance in a research study. Key variables include gender,course of study, or age. Some variables are more complicated, forexample, academic achievement or socioeconomic status. Such variablescan affect the field of mediation at some point. For example, peermediator could be or not in a position to handle conflicts such asbullying that arises in a particular setting because of the variationin the age or gender of the individuals involved.
Gunnaret al. (2003) wrote that such key variables have an impact during thedesign of research. He examined how these key variables couldinfluence problem-solving application by studying the relationshipbetween causal relationship and peer mediation. To begin with,research design examines the causal comparative and correlation in arelationship.
Causalcomparative examines the effects of one variable, which cannot bemanipulated in any other variables. An example to this is gendereffects on examination malpractices. Peer mediators would notmanipulate gender Cropanzano et al., 2011). Since it is hard forvariables interests to be manipulated, these comparative studies arecompared on two groups that differ. Therefore, the key identificationfactor to this causal study compares to two groups with a differentvariable.
Onthe other hand, correlational describes the relationships of thesevariables by examining these continuous values. For example in a peermediation context, correlational study examines relationships betweenthe two students, both of which represent continuous variables. Notethat peer educators, for example, must study how the group ofstudents interacts within themselves through motivation, academic andachievement, and in extreme cases, bullying.
Inconclusion, bullying basically plays a role as part of peer mediationprocess. Part of the solution involves the use of empirical studiesresults, which integrates the use of school-based approach results ofthe empirical study demands that every school must come up with ananti-bullying policy that should be understood by all the partiesinvolved to counter this social problem. The paper presents anexample of bullying, and when examined intensively. The approachedused assists in solving their case. In addition, the paper alsoexamines different perspectives of causal relationship, which includeproblem-solving application, quantitative research, and positivismtheory. The use of these approaches provides possible remedies thatwhen applied in a school setting, could reduce the act of bullying. Finally, the paper also examines key variables, which include age,course of study, and gender by looking at how such variables plays arole in causal variables. It is understood that such key variablescould influence problem-solving application, quantitative approach,and positivism theory by studying the causal relationship, and thatas far as these approaches are integrated to deal with these socialproblem, it is believed that certain social problem is bound to occurin a particular way, and that the problem could result into another.
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