Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Bully's Remorse

Bullying is one of the hot issues in education these days. A master teacher will deal with meanness by going all the way to its source—the very root of the problem: the perpetrator's unresolved hurt.

Watch this video clip as Mr. Toshiro Kanamori takes his class from denial through to acknowledgment of bullying, then on to investigate the roots of the bullying in his class.

So often we find what Mr. Kanamori finds: we've been hurt and we have not grieved. We have not allowed the hurt to wash through us. We haven't received compassion from others for the injuries we've endured. So our injuries fester. And then they flare up to hurt others.

Here, in the eight minutes it takes for this video to unfold, watch as Mr. Kanamori extinguishes the flames of bullying in his class. He creates the conditions for psychological and emotional healing to take place. He's tough, but tender.

First, may I suggest that you go find some more kleenex.


steven said...

hello dan - tomorrow at ten a.m. est, my class will gather 'round the smart board to watch the first clip. i told them a little about you and then also about the clip today. they started notebooks entitled "letters to myself (and anyone else)". it was time. steven

Dan Gurney said...

Steven, I'll be thinking of you... that's about 45 minutes from now as I write this. I wish you and your class every success with the "Letters to Myself (and anyone else)" notebooks. I hope they help bring happiness into the world. Tell your class hello for me!

Jo said...

These profound posts can do much to change the world if we will listen. Many of my friends (and now, their children)are teachers, as is my own son in Las Vegas. I have sent a link to your blog to each one. I hope they all will listen and learn (although several already innately know), that compassion and learning are not mutually exclusive.

Thank you so much for sharing this information, Dan. To call Mr. Kanamori an inspiring teacher is an understatement.

Dan Gurney said...

Thanks, Jo. I have one blogging friend from that district and from what I can gather, it's very difficult to do this kind of teaching there. Sadly, if I understand correctly, they've been taken over by NCLB reforms which pretty much takes over the curriculum and how it's taught.

Margaret Pangert said...

The US has been called one of the most narcissistic countries in the world. We can't--or don't--have empathy for others. This video made mer realize that victims become the offenders. The cycle has to stop. Bravo to this teacher and to you, Dan, for sharing this graphic story.

Dan Gurney said...

Margaret, thank you! I think, in some sense, the most tragic victim in any offense is the perpetrator. For their suffering will fester a long, long, long time mostly under the surface of awareness. When, finally, it does surface healing can begin.

Victims of offenses don't have to wait so long for healing to begin. They, obviously, are hurt too. But at least healing can begin promptly.

Sabio Lantz said...

I was surprised to see the teacher hugging the student -- not a sight common to me when I was in Japan. I loved how he got self-confession with patience over days.
Again, my kids learned too.

Dan Gurney said...

Sabio, me too, with regard to the hugging. Japanese are not too big on hugging. Come to think of it, neither are people in the US. Teachers would be well advised not to touch fourth graders like that here, especially not men hugging girls. But it's clear that Mr. Kanamori's intent was to comfort her in her pain. I was surprised, but not concerned as to his motivation.

What's really rare is the seriousness with which he addressed the bullying. Lesser teachers would be satisfied with the "pretty words" you hear at the beginning of the inquiry. He really persisted and got to the bottom of it. That's really quite unusual these days, and something of a model for what can be done.

Hey, I bet you don't need the subtitles, huh, Sabio.

Sabio Lantz said...

Yeah, I actually corrected the translations for my kids -- like I said, it is my dialect too.

Yeah, his seriousness was as well appreciated here as when he scolded the student and forbid the raft ride. It was the same to me.