A Solution: The Inside-out Approach
"Bullying interventions need to change the conditions
in the social environment that permit bullying to occur."
-Dr. Dorothy L. Espelage, bullying researcher
The Inside-Out Approach focuses on the interpersonal dynamics among the people in the school as the fundamental way to improve safety and climate. It is based on years of research, development and testing, and consists of four core elements:
Relationships - creating opportunities for students, staff, parents, families and the broader community to know one another, to build trust and mutual respect, and to maintain open channels of communication.
Student-Centered - empowering young people by involving them in real problem-solving, decision-making and implementing solutions.
Formative and Restorative Policies - utilizing practices-like peer courts and community service-that help students learn from their mistakes and make amends to those they've wronged, in order to improve future behavior.
Social Norms Change - guiding and changing behavior not through rules and policies but through social norms, which are largely established and can be changed by students.
Positively Impacting School Climate
When leaders commit to the Inside-Out Approach, the result is a more positive school climate. Students experience a sense of safety, have healthy adult and peer relationships, feel respected and empowered, and are more likely to succeed academically and socially.
To successfully implement and institutionalize the Inside-Out Approach requires a commitment to utilizing school climate as the foundation-the 'bricks and mortar'-for building a safe, thriving and high-performing school.