Design for Child-Friendly Environment in Primary and Secondary Schools Aims at Safe Society

Design for Child-Friendly Environment in Primary and Secondary Schools Aims at Safe Society

Yu Zhang (Harbin Institute of Technology, China) and Ziguang Chen (Heilongjiang University, China)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4183-7.ch008

Abstract

School bullying has plagued schools with violence for quite some time and exerts a serious negative impact on society. Primary and secondary school can be looked at like a micro-society composed of students, teachers, and staff where students can suffer serious injury, physically and mentally, at the hands of school bullies. It is therefore urgent to reduce the prevalence of school bullying in hopes of eliminating it altogether. The present research aims to encourage social safety promotion through the study of crime prevention through environmental design theory and an exploration of characteristics of school bullying in primary and secondary schools. From there, environmental design strategies such as improved spatial interaction, a sense of safe territory, dedicated space for various activities, and positive emotions in child-friendly spaces are proposed. The outcome of this research hopes to improve campus security and reduce and prevent school bullying while guiding architectural design for primary and secondary school campus design.
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1. Introduction

Bullying is a major problem that has pervaded society for years. In elementary and secondary schools where children tend to stay inside, bullying including fighting and brawling, extorting, and harming continues to spread and casts a cloud over the student body, negatively affecting students’ mental state. Children are the future and hope of society. Although the level of youth violence is relatively low compared with adult crime, without sufficient attention or preventive measures, school bullying is likely to have enormous impacts in terms of psychosocial unrest. These issues will only become more serious as crime becomes more diverse and pernicious.

School bullying is a common problem in schools around the world. Norwegian professor Dan Olweus was the first researcher to examine school bullies and victims. He launched a large-scale project that is now generally regarded as the first scientific study of bullying problems, published as a book in Scandinavia in 1973 and in the United States in 1978 entitled Aggression in the Schools: Bullies and Whipping Boys (Olweus, 1978). In 1983, the topic of school bullying became an important point in the fields of psychology and pedagogy (Ttofi et al., 2011). Bullying, one of the most typical forms of violence in schools, is defined as power asymmetry associated with differences in age, gender, or race that are exploited by one or more individuals with the intention of hurting or humiliating another (Olweus, 1994a). More broadly, bullying can be classified as direct or indirect (Lopes Neto, 2005). Direct, face-to-face bullying often draws more attention because it involves open aggression, including public verbal abuse, intentional exclusion from groups, punching or pushing, or other types of physical aggression. Indirect bullying involves spreading negative rumors or accusations about a person who is not present to defend him- or herself, or making indirect negative comments in the presence of the target (Lopes Neto, 2005). In primary and secondary schools, direct bullying can result in serious physical injury, while indirect bullying can cause indelible psychological harm to all students in this micro society. Either form of bullying can also increase the risk for certain problems in society over the long term. The built environment in schools greatly influences children’s development, and the safety of the space is essential to students’ growth and protection.

In 1978, Professor Olweus defined bullying among students: the victim is exposed to negative behaviors intentionally, repeatedly, and persistently by one or more of his schoolmates, which causes poor adjustment or injury to mind or body. Negative behaviors can be enacted through body contact, language, or other means such as making faces or threatening gestures and intentionally rejecting the victim from a social group. Currently, the definition of bullying widely used by researchers at home and abroad is as follows: the behavior that the party with greater strength repeatedly attacks a weaker party, physiologically or psychologically, over a long period of time. English scholars have also defined bullying as the systematic, repeated, and intentional abuse of power, which is common in social organizations with explicit power relations and clear role assignments, such as at school, in the army, and in prison (Olweus, 1994b). Although different scholars across diverse disciplines have proposed unique definitions of bullying, they all stress repeatability and the disparity between the bully’s and victim’s physiological or psychological strength.

In the same time, environment would effects on human’s psychology and behavior. The theory of CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) is a multi-disciplinary approach to deterring criminal behavior through environmental design. Within CPTED theory, environment in primary and secondary schools would be improved by architectural strategy in the aim of safety promotion.

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