Sharing a text about bullying prevention, by de Norma Viscardi

Norma Viscardi, pesquisadora na área de educação bilíngue, compartilhou conosco seu trabalho sobre prevenção de Bullying em escolas na Finlândia. Como o tema é pertinente a educadores, pais e alunos, vale a pena compartilhá-lo aqui no blog.

Segue abaixo a versão em inglês, e no próximo post, a versão em português.

Boa leitura!


Norma Viscardi


Education Counselor at  Escola Internacional de Alphaville

Member of NASL – Harvard Graduate School of Education


Este artigo descreve o programa anti-bullying da Universidade de Turku, desenvolvido por pesquisadores da instituição finlandesa para as escolas públicas do país. O projeto de prevenção e controle do bullying nas escolas foi inicialmente pilotado em 200 escolas voluntárias em 2007 e 2008 e oficialmente adotado pelo Conselho Nacional de Educação da Finlândia em 2009. Liderado por Christina Salmivalli e Elisa Poskiparta, o programa é dirigido a toda a população escolar e à comunidade, como um instrumento que valoriza o respeito e a dignidade. Considerando-se o valor indiscutível da difusão das boas práticas na área da Educação, este estudo de caso e pesquisa de campo ocorrido em Lohja, na Finlândia em outubro de 2010, tem o objetivo de tornar-se um instrumento de inspiração para que especialistas de nosso país produzam e implantem programas anti-bullying eficazes  nas escolas brasileiras.

Palavras-chaves: bullying, estratégias de prevenção, programa sistêmico, respeito, dignidade.


Bullying – one of the most destructive practices among children and adults – is a behavior problem which affects the lives of thousands of people all over the world and more effective anti-bullying tools are urgently needed at schools where the incidents are more frequent.

Scientific evidence from studies at the University of Turku in Finland and Trinity College, in Ireland – countries that have been leading the researches on this subject in Europe  – has shown that bullying has no boundaries of culture, sex or socio-economic grounds. In every country this threatening social phenomenon takes similar forms which,in the long run, can affect the whole school, the families and consequently the society.


1.1 Why bullying?

As the Ph.D. Mona O’ Moore (2006) from Trinity College Anti –Bullying Center ¹

in Ireland points out, constitutional factors play an important part in aggressive behavior, however, home, school  and other  social factors seem to have a stronger influence upon the personality features, mainly aggressiveness. For the researcher, if aggressive behavior is not challenged in childhood, there is a danger it might become habitual and put the child at risk of domestic violence and criminal behavior in the adulthood.

Some of the factors pointed out by the Irish scientist are:

. At home: lack of attention, lack of love and care, physical punishment, adult violent outburst, inconsistent discipline, too much freedom, permissiveness.

.At school: poor staff morale, inadequate supervision, inconsistent and inflexible rules, abusive and humiliating punishment, curriculum that affords few feelings of success and achievement.

.Other social factors: violence portrayed on the cinema, TV and Video and magazines can also lead to aggressive tendencies.

In Brazil, IBGE researches carried out in public and private schools in 2009  showed that 30,8% of the interviewed students had already been victims of bullying .The typical aggressive actions are more frequent in the 5th and 6th grades and despite the fact that most educators are already aware of this serious behavior issue, it still remains largely unchallenged. The fact is that most Brazilian schools are not prepared to turn their bullying occurrences into valuable opportunities to shape the society in terms of respect and dignity. Maybe learning from other countries’ successful experiences could inspire us to create our anti-bullying programs and tackle the problem with our own intellectual and technological resources.

This article, based on the University of Turku’s anti-bullying initiatives is a field study which describes a systemic prevention program of a primary Finnish school located in Lohja, a few miles from Helsinki.

The University of Turku, an internationally acknowledged, multidisciplinary scientific university located in the southwest coast of Finland has developed a program of easy application that  reduced bullying by one-half in Finnish primary schools in two years.The results have also been successful  internationally in the  schools that adopted and implemented the program outside Finland both to control and prevent the harmful consequences of bullying as social isolation, frustration, loss of self- esteem, depression, learning difficulties, mental health problems, absenteeism, personality changes, even crime and suicide.

Christina Salmivalli(2007), professor of Psychology and leader of the “KiVa”(Nice School)² program at the Finnish University points out that to address the problem appropriately, it is necessary to capacitate the whole school staff, providing adequate  prevention and control strategies. The program consists of theoretical lessons, simulations (role-play) , video sessions, group discussions and extensive reading on the mechanisms of bullying and works with materials such as a teacher’s guide , posters, computer exercises and games, attention vests and a parent’s guide. It is intended to school leaders , supervisors, teachers, school supporting staff, families and local communities. The idea is to make all the school staff , students and parents comprehensively understand the nature of the phenomenon , its types and phases.

The University of Turku project focuses on five different types of bullying:

Physical: direct and indirect physical attacks, usually contextualized in games written off as “pretend we are” that usually preceed vicious physical attacks.

Face and Gesture Bullying: face expressions or gestures that convey intimidating and frightening messages.

Social Isolation : it excludes the child from his or her group, affecting self-confidence and self- image.

Threats: strong demands for money, snacks or other objects, usually forcing the child to steal, therefore becoming open to further intimidation.

Humiliating: vicious jokes, making fun of someone’s physical or personality features, hobbies, family, friends, school difficulties, cultural or social background.

e-Bullying: the use of web pages, e-mails and text messages to attack, threat or intimidate or even spread bad rumors about someone.

The  Lohjan  Lukio is a primary school for 7 to 12 years old children. The school population is around 1,300 students, most of them of a Finnish origin. However there are students from  Sweden , other countries in Eastern Europe and Asia. According to the Finnish National Board of Education, formal education in the country has to be equal and compulsory for all children from the age of 7 to  the age of 15 ( ), and a tutorial system is provided for a better adaptation and development of all the school children, despite their age , language and nationality. Each school has a team of tutors in charge of supervising the educational process of each child and responsible for providing teachers and parents with systematic reports on students behaviors, needs and school progress.

Since  the institution has decided to become a “KiVa” school, there are supervisors wearing attention vests in the corridors, cafeteria,gymnasium ,the toilets and in the playground where bullying occurs more frequently. Signs of bullying such as cuts or damaged clothes, anxiety, distress, mood swings, attention seeking, erratic attention, stealing objects or money, loss of personal belongings or expressions of inner turmoil are immediately registered and shared by the whole school staff for prevention actions to take place.

In the case of a bullying registration, both the aggressor and the victim, as well as their parents or caretakers are engaged in a “treatment” at least for three months, involving teachers, supervisors and the school psychologists in regular meetings.

The students also have information about the signs and effects of bullying in the compulsory Ethics classes, during video sessions or by playing tailor made computer games available in the school’s library. By becoming aware of the negative effects of bullying – stress, lack of concentration, poor school work, loss of confidence and self esteem, lack of appetite or comfort eating, use of alcohol or drugs, nightmares, sweats, stomack disorders, panic attacks, nervous breakdown, among others, the students learn about the importance of saying “NO TO BULLYING”.

“KiVa” features general awareness public actions and precise control measures to be implemented when necessary. It is a program funded by the Ministry of Education and now – after covering over 300,000 students successfully in Finland – bears great significance for international researches.

Bullying is a serious global social disorder that can be very harmful to the society and its prevention and control programs at schools should be a systemic and permanent tool, causing impact in the outlookers and appealing to the common sense of social responsibility of all the school population.

The  Finnish “ KiVa” Anti -Bullying Project received the first-prize in the European Crime Prevention Award (ECPA) from the Swedish Ministry of Justice Beatrice Ask , in Stockholm, on December 17, 2009.

Since the educational reform in 1970, aiming at “good education for all”, the Finnish school  standards have been growing considerably and today, as registered on the OECD’s³ ranking lists,this Scandinavian educational system is considered the best in the world. I would say that rather than its comprehensive curriculum, what really makes the difference is the way the Finnish approach the human beings issues through Education, their love and care for their children and adolescents, the enormous sense of responsibility of their teachers, and last but not least, their great respect for the whole school staff. Projects such as the University of Turku anti-bullying program is an example.




1. Anti-bullying Center – Trinity College, Dublin . Authors:

2. KiVa is the trade mark of the University of Turku anti-bullying program used by the schools that have adopted the  university’s systemic program. In Finnish the word Kiva means “well-being” therefore a “Kiva Koulu” School” is a “Nice School”.

3. OECD – Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development


1.  O’Moore, M.(2006). Silent Witnesses. Trinity College. C.O Dublin, Ireland

2. Salmivalli, C.(2007). Reactive but not proactive aggression predicts victimization.

Developmental Psychology,43, 869-900.University of Turku,Finland.


I would like to thank Tuula Kairi, Mathematics teacher at Lohjan Yhteislyseon Lukio and Erna Huhtala, school principal at Lohjan Lukio for the valuable collaboration and also Johanna Kairi, Professor Matti Kairi, Jussi and Laurinete Kairi for the warm welcome in Finland.


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