Consequences of bullying Essay
Consequences of bullying
As the bully and the victim are embedded in their particular social and environmental contexts, multiple factors influence the social behavioural patterns including individual characteristics, social interactions, cultural and ecological conditions. However teachers form a major influence in the bullying activities. Teachers play a major role in determining whether the children disclose their victimisation. Researches such as done by Atlas and Pepler (1998) have also indicated that students report that teachers do not consistently intervene to stop bullying.
A study found that 25 percentage of students reported that their teachers intervened, while 75 percentages of their teachers reported that they usually intervened in the bullying to stop the activities. Most of the teachers who did not intervene gave the reason as uncertainty about how to respond, especially when there are no witnesses to the incidents and categorisation of the bullying as typical childhood behaviour without serious ramifications. Some of the teachers found it difficult to recognise bullying behaviour because of complex dynamics involved in the situation.
There has been limited research to study the teachers’ understanding and reaction to bullying and the factors that determine their views and intervention characteristics. Some of the factors that can influence the teacher’s ability to identify and intervene in bullying. According to researchers such as Leff, Kupersmidt, Petterson and Power (1999), some of these factors include age of the students, frequency of contact with the students, and nature of bullying behaviour.
Kallestad and Olweus found several factors that influenced the degree to which the teachers implemented the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program to intervene and prevent bullying. Some of the factors that were found to determine the level of implementation of the program included the amount of information they read about the program, their views on the importance of staff in addressing the bullying, their perception on the amount of bullying happening in their classroom, their own experiences of victimisation of bullying as a child, and their emotional responsiveness to the children and empathy towards the children who are bullied.
In the research carried out by Siann, Callgan, Lockhart and Rawson (1993), it was found that ambiguity and teacher’s own subjective responses to incidents are inherent aspects of bullying. According to Boulton who conducted research on the teacher’s attitude towards bullying and thief beliefs in their ability to deal with bullying, it was found that most of the teachers considered physical assaults and treats as bullying, but a significant percentage of the teachers did not view behaviours such as exclusion or name-calling as bullying.
A research conducted by Townsend-Wiggins (2001) found that teacher’s understanding of bullying, particularly relational bullying was limited, which in turn affected their ability to intervene. Researchers Craig, Henderson and Murphy (2000) examined the effects of contextual factors such as forms of bullying and the characteristics such as gender of the teacher candidates on thief attitudes towards bullying and the amount of intervention they did. Most of the teacher candidates considered physical aggression as serious and deserving intervention than verbal aggression and exclusion.
In case the candidates did not directly witness verbal bullying, they were less likely to consider the bullying activity. The research also found out that teacher candidates who expressed empathy for others were more likely to identify bullying and report that they would intervene. Researchers Nicolaides, Toda and Smith (2002) conducted a study on the teacher candidate’s knowledge and attitudes regarding bullying, the views of the candidates on the significance of bullying and their confidence in dealing with it.
The candidates were informed about the prevalence of bullying but not about other aspects of the phenomenon. The respondents described the bullies as having low self-esteem and lacking social skills. This contradicts emerging evidence that some bullies have good social skills and are adept in manipulating the social environment for their benefit. The study conducted by Mishna et al examined the teacher’s understanding of bullying and their views. It also looked into the situations involving students who self-identified as victimised.
The study found out that many teachers were unaware that their students were involved in bullying. One of the main reasons for this was the inability to differentiate bullying from other activities. This caused many teachers not to intervene in bullying. There was a difference in definition of bullying as provided by the different teachers and how they depicted situations of bullying. All the teachers were found to include indirect behaviours in their list of bullying behaviours. However, they often considered physical bullying more seriously than the indirect incidents.
This also meant that they intervened less in the indirect incidents. This was also found by Astor et al (1999) and Smith et al (2002). It was found that there is a high amount of subjectivity in defining bullying and how teachers characterise the incidents. This was also identified by Craig et al (2000). Many teachers were found to doubt the children’s subjective responses especially when it is related to indirect bullying. Sometimes the teachers did not view certain incidents as bullying although the children felt upset and felt bullied.
Several teachers were found to view that children were misperceiving situations and believed that their perceptions reflected the reality. These responses are significant because conclusions that adults draw can influence their response and how they intervene in the bullying. Not understanding the harm caused by forms of bullying such as non-violent victimisation may lead to an inappropriate response which may lead to further victimisation of the bully. Clarke and Kiselica (1997) found that the effects of bulling carry into the adulthood.
When the school, teachers and adults ignore, trivialise or tolerate bullying incidents, the victims internalise the message that the adults have discounted their worth as individuals and they carry this message forward into their adulthood. When the research looked at the context of bullying at school, it was found that the teachers are under considerable pressure from the curriculum and the ambiguities around bullying response. It was found that the teachers consider student misbehaviour as a significant source of their stress.
Many teachers indicated that they themselves were not capable of handling both the curriculum and dealing with recurrent bullying that occurred regularly in the school. The teachers often found it difficult to distinguish normal behaviour from bullying behaviours and hence they did not have a clear idea of how to respond to this. Also the teachers indicated that the school policies for dealing with the physical aggression existed, but such guidelines did not exist for addressing non-physical bullying.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 5 June 2017
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