Civility Online

I agree that we absolutely need to support new teachers in their quest to become better practitioners of TPRS and deliverers of CI. I felt very badly that people were called bullies on this list serve, and it’s been sitting in my craw for a few days now–and I wondered why it was bothering me so much. Still working that out for myself. Not here to judge–just curious about the use of the term.

My thoughts:

I have seen zero evidence of bullying on this listserve. 

I have seen difference of opinion.

I have seen disagreement.

I have seen the usual human difficulty in interpreting people’s intentions when using the written word to communicate ideas in an online format.

I’m not even certain I’ve seen rudeness, much less bullying.

I have noticed very distinct communication styles between men and women on this list–that’s a whole other topic.

Perhaps clarifying the definitions of a some terms might help.

Here are some comments culled from an article on the subject of bullying by Inge Whitson, psychotherapist. The full article can be read here: Rude vs. Mean vs. Bullying: Defining the Differences

Rude = inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts someone else. Incidents of rudeness are usually spontaneous, unplanned inconsideration, based on thoughtlessness, poor manners or narcissism, but not meant to actually hurt someone.

Mean =  involves “purposefully saying or doing something to hurt someone once (or maybe twice).” Unlike unthinking rudeness, “mean behavior very much aims to hurt or depreciate someone….Very often, mean behavior is motivated by angry feelings and/or the misguided goal of propping themselves up in comparison to the person they are putting down.”

Rudeness and meanness are different from bullying in important ways that should be understood and differentiated when it comes to intervention.

Bullying = “intentionally aggressive behavior, repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power. People who bully say or do something intentionally hurtful to others and they keep doing it, with no sense of regret or remorse — even when targets of bullying show or express their hurt or tell the aggressors to stop.”  Here are some examples: social exclusion, hazing, or rumor spreading, and cyberbullying. The key aspect to all of them is the ongoing nature of the behavior, which leaves the victims feeling powerless and fearful.


2 thoughts on “Civility Online

  1. I think that when Susie and Teri and Deb from IN were actively posting there was patience and acceptance in the comments. The new culture of the list is different. It is ok that we disagree on how to read the comments. I have since unsubscribed so the culture that bothers me doesn’t have to bother me!

  2. I so appreciate your distinctions here, Jody. Sometimes we develop a progressively thicker skin to deal with what is first rude, then mean, then suddenly fees like bullying that we have allowed to make life easier–I have done this in my teacher life. Or we have something going on that makes us react badly to rudeness–I have responded on occasion to thoughtless rudeness in a way that wasn’t appropriate for the behavior. Either way, it’s not what I want to be doing, and it’s nice to read the “definitions” here to keep real.

    Like Carrie, I don’t read the Yahoo list any more (except when I’m deep into procrastination). I think that the reason I stopped making it a daily stop is that the general mood changed. Whether it was simple rudeness or bullying doesn’t matter; it didn’t feel welcoming any more. Thinking about that feeling is a good way to remember how it feels in a school. I want to welcome kids in and make them feel safe in my room, if not in the halls.

    Thanks for your blog, thanks for being your thoughtful self! Hugs for the holidays. Hope you’re celebrating every one, from silly to sacred.

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