Education Literature Review Whenever the Disturbing News Literature Review

Excerpt from Literature Review :

Education Literature Review

Whenever the disturbing news of yet another school shooting shatters the adolescence of innocent teenagers, the national media, concerned parents and strained educators alike once again focus their collective attention on the epidemic of bullying which is crippling American schools. In the wake of the Columbine High School massacre which claimed 13 lives and the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings that killed 32 students and faculty, recent tragedies like that which occurred at Sandy Hook elementary bring the consequences of rampant bullying in schools back to the forefront of the national consciousness. Although the loss of life associated with these terrible incidents, and the erosion of self-confidence that results from unchecked bullying, are tragedies that cause society to collectively mourn, it is possible that the diminished safety of our nation's schools has also reduced the ability of modern students to achieve academic excellence. While a causal link between the symptoms of bullying -- including teasing, tormenting, social ostracism and physical intimidation -- and the outbreak of premeditated school shootings has not been definitively established, I believe that an objective review of prevailing literature on the subject may reveal sufficient evidence to warrant further empirical examination.

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Numerous studies have already concluded that victims of frequent bullying are more susceptible to a litany of mental and cognitive health problems, ranging from clinical depression to increased anxiety and suicidal tendencies, so the supposition that an unsafe school environment can be correlated to lower test scores is well founded. Indeed, a comprehensive study published by Kenneth Stichter of the California State University at Fullerton identified school safety as a key indicator of student attainment (2008). Another study published by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences found that "an estimated one-third of students fail to learn because of psychosocial problems that interfere with their ability to fully attend to and engage in instructional activities" (Eipstein, et al., 2008), and clearly an unsafe school environment only serves to exacerbate a student's existing psychosocial issues. When one considers just how strongly an elementary school student's perception of their own surroundings -- including their teacher's competency and their classmate's sense of empathy -- affects their ability to learn, the notion that increasingly pervasive school shootings and bullying could result in lowered test scores is not altogether surprising (Cuero & Crim, 2008).

According to Betsy Gunzelmann's research on the role of hidden dangers within schools, in which she "defines school climate as a unique combination of intellectual, behavioral, social, ethical, and physical characteristics within a setting & #8230; (that) not only affect learning outcomes, but also impact the essential safety needs of our children" (2004), the rising rate of school violence is directly linked to the increase in diagnoses of learning disabilities within student populations. Researcher James Noonan echoes this sentiment in his own study, observing that "the climate of a school has always been & #8230; essential to a school's success in educating its children and preparing them for a life beyond its corridors & #8230; (and) a school that acknowledges the complexity inherent in its climate, and takes clear steps toward creating one conducive to learning, is a school that will inevitably become a safer school" (2005). The concept of proactive safeguarding of a school climate, rather than the typical pattern of response and reaction to crises, is relatively novel within the field of educational research, but Noonan's…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Cuero, K.K., & Crim, C.L. (2008). You Wish It Could Speak for Itself. Issues in Teacher

Education, 17, 117-140. Retrieved from www.eric.edu.gov.

Eipstein, M., Atkins, M., Cullinan, D., Kutash, K., & Weaver, R. (2008). Reducing Behavior

Problems in the Elementary School Classroom. IES Practice Guide. What Works

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