One of the things I’ll use this blog for is to track my personal professional development. I do this both so that I can keep accurate records, and so that I can share my thoughts on the material I’m reading (beyond the web articles I usually share) with whoever out there might find it useful and/or interesting.

I’m currently working toward professional certifications both as a Bully Prevention Specialist and as a Legal and Ethical Specialist. These are offered through ASCA’s “ASCA U” program, and are very reasonably priced. In that vein, here’s some of the (book) reading I’ve done so far.

Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon –  I found this book to be both well-written and en pointe. In it, Ms. Bazelon gives deep background on several bullying cases, shows how much more complex they are than what the media has presented on the surface, and discusses some of the driving factors that made each case go in the direction it did. In the second half of the book, she talks about approaches to dealing with and preventing bullying, emphasizing character development and empathy training over disciplinary action. She also addresses the history of PBIS, a relatively new, data-based approach to improving school climate. Well worth the read.

The ABCs of Bullying Prevention by Kenneth Shore – This little book (110 pages) is a quick read and provides some good, concrete suggestions for adults who witness or are made aware of bullying situations. While not particularly in depth, it gives a good overview and has a chapter’s worth of resources that the over-taxed school counselor will find useful.

Cyber Kids, Cyber Bullying, Cyber Balance by Barbara Trolley and Constance Hanel – I’ll be honest and admit that I’m having some trouble getting through this one. It’s required for my certification and does have good information, but it’s clearly targeted toward people who aren’t particularly Internet savvy. Since I don’t really fall into that category the tone feels just condescending enough to be off putting.

Bullies & Victims, Helping Your Child Through the Schoolyard Battlefield by Suellen Fried and Paula Fried – This is an older book (copyright 1996) that I tracked down through a journal article citation. Some of the information is dated. For example, there’s a cringe-worthy suggestion that parents get the bully and the bullied to confront each other and their problems in a “safe space” supervised by a caring adult. This only serves to re-victimize the bullied and, in reality, should never be done. It also, at one point, suggests peer mediation as a possible solution to bullying problems, another approach that doesn’t work. However, the book does include some excellent discussions of the types of bullying that make it merit a read.

Stop the Bullying: A Handbook for Teachers by Ken Rigby – This is mainly a book of lists (copyright 2001), but they’re good lists. It also has some assessment tools that counselors might find useful to have on hand. 

The Bullying Prevention Handbook: A Guide for Principals, Teachers, and Counselors by John H. Hoover and Ronald Oliver – This is the only book I’ve read so far that mentions the Common Concern Method as an approach to working with bullies. I’ll need to do more research before I can determine whether that’s because the method is too time-consuming for school counselors or if maybe it’s just never gained favor as an intervention tool. That said, the method is intriguing if it works. This book also has an extensive resource/reproducible section at the back. I rather wish the book focused more on character education and empathy training as a means toward preventing and/or mitigating bullying, since its approach seems more situationally specific. Still, it’s one to keep on the resource bookshelf.