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Bullying is physical or psychological harassment that often happens at schools between students. According to UNESCO, about 246 million children around the world experience bullying in the classroom yearly.
The KiVa method intends to eradicate this social problem and is one of the most effective tools to stop bullying in schools.
This program is a plan of action to intervene and prevent harassment in schools. There are three different roles in school bullying: the bully, the victim, and the spectators. Up until now, intervention programs have focused solely on the bully and the victim, however, the KiVa method takes a look at the spectator's role as well.
This method is currently used in 90% of Finnish primary schools. With this in mind, KiVa is so effective that whether a school uses this system or not, is one of the main factors that parents consider when choosing where their children will attend school. Many teachers also consider this in their job searches as well.
The term KiVa comes from the combination of two words in Finnish, Kiusaamista Vastaan, which means 'against bullying.'
So, in 2006, in Finland, the KiVa method came into existence. This Scandinavian country is renowned for its educational system and takes schooling seriously. That's why Finland uses a considerable portion of its budget to make educational improvements.
Finland still faces the international bullying crisis, even though it is ranked second for having one of the best education systems in all of Europe. This is why the University of Turku worked to create the KiVa method, to bring an end to this terrible trend.
After a trial period in schools around the country, a study was done to see how effective this new anti-bullying method really was. Finnish schools that used this program saw bullying reduced by 80% after starting this program.
In the long-term, researchers found that the number of students affected by harassment in schools was reduced by 41%. Besides, this method also had other unexpected impacts on the lives of children and adolescents. KiVa, actually increased self-confidence and self-motivation in students and their grades actually went up as a result.
Unlike other programs, this one focuses on the spectator in bullying cases. Children and adolescents that witness bullying, indirectly contribute to the impact of this event by laughing or egging the bully on.
This is why KiVa puts the spectators in the spotlight in addition to the bully and the victim. So, here, the goal is to get the spectators to stop supporting the bully. If this happens, the bully will likely stop the behavior that is having a negative impact on the victim.
Students are trained using this method for approximately 20 classes at 7, 10, and 13 years old since these ages are crucial in childhood development. The primary goal here is to identify the main forms of bullying and the impact that this type of harassment in schools has on students.
Ten different topics are covered throughout this period. A few examples of these are empathy, ethics, moral values, and respect for others. The KiVa method is taught using resources like video games, talks, watching movies, etc. Teachers are also given a virtual mailbox where students can anonymously report any cases of bullying without any witnesses.
At KiVa method centers, there need to be three specialists with prior training. These three adults are the ones that are responsible for watching out for, detecting, and investigating any possible cases of bullying.
So, first, these professionals need to determine if this harassment occurs occasionally or regularly. Then, they need to speak with the bully to work on empathy and with the victims to calm them down. Finally, this person needs to intervene with the spectators, since they are the nucleus of this problem.
Harassment in schools is a real issue that everyone is responsible for reporting and working to eradicate. With this in mind, KiVa is a useful tool when it comes to preventing and stopping bullying directly.
Finally, this method can also be used outside of the educational context since it is also relevant for other kinds of centers where there are children and adolescents. Besides, this system promotes positive social and interpersonal interactions between young people.