Teachers and bullying Essay
Teachers and bullying
“Bullying poisons the educational environment and affects the learning of every child. ”(Olweus) Some of the common effects of bullying on children include sadness, depression, poor body image and eating disorders, skipping school, bad grades, headaches, stomach aches, sleeping trouble, thoughts and even acts of suicide. The study also looked at relationship between empathy of the teacher and how they handled bullying incidents.
Among the teachers who thought that the incidents were not serious or thought that the victims misperceived the situation, it was found that those teachers who felt empathy for a child at least tried to understand the child’s experiences and factors that shaped his or her behaviours. The teachers who did not show empathy did not try to understand the children. The research also cites two teachers who described some children as crying fake tears while describing their experiences. The teachers did not try to comprehend the children’s experiences or behaviours.
They termed the children as provocative victims who exhibit that both the peers and adults find irritating. When such children report victimisation and bullying experience, the school personnel tend to be unsympathetic and ignores it. This strengthens the findings by researchers such as Craig et al (2000), Eslea and Smith (2000), Kallestad and Olweus (2003) that defies empathy as a key factor in how the teachers characterise and respond to bullying incidents and also how they implement anti-bullying programs.
The research found that even when the individuals are able to articulate a clear definition of bullying, other factors can influence how they characterise and respond to the bullying situation. This can have an affect on the children if they perceive that sufficient action has not been taken by the teachers. Hence it would be beneficial to provide the teachers information on the factors that can influence individual’s decisions about what constitutes bullying and not. Indirect bullying was found to be the most challenging for the teachers to recognise as well as to know whether and how to intervene.
Most often the teachers were unaware that children were bullied and did not consider the child’s case serious. This was also found by researches Craig et al (2000), Hazler et al (2001). Research by Siann et al (1993) found that teachers neglected to consider repetition in most of their definitions. The research found out that the assumption of the teacher about the characteristics displayed by the victims prevented them from recognizing the victimised children when they did not match the assumptions made.
Researches conducted by O’Moore (2000) found that focussing on the individual characteristic of children who bully or who are victimised can minimise the awareness of factors such as social context and can obscure other factors that are central to the bullying such as the victimised child’s experience with distress due to the bullying activity. Researches conducted by Siann et al (1993) and Ireland and Ireland (2000) found that that subjectivity, especially when related to the indirect bullying can severely influence the intervention negatively.
The teachers doubting the child’s view may contribute to the further lack of disclosure to the teachers. This was found to be intertwined with empathy shown by the teacher. Craig et al (2000), Kallestad and Olweus (2003) found the important relationship between empathy and how teachers responded to the bully victims. It was identified that the teachers require assistance to become cognizant of their attitudes also that their views may not correspond to the views of the children.
This helps teachers to understand that sometimes the child’s distress may be greater than that anticipated by the teacher. According to Landau, Milich, Harris and Larson (2001), this understanding can increase the teacher’s ability to recognise and intervene in bullying situation. This assumes greater importance considering that the educators need to protect children who are victimised but who may not recognise or feel that they are being bullied. The research also found out that majority of the teachers was themselves subjected to bullying as children.
According to the teachers, this personal experience influenced how they reacted to the bullying of their students. Kallestad and Olweus (2003) found an association between the teachers who identified as bullied as a child with the responses and interventions they participated in. However a study conducted by Nicolaides et al (2002) indicates that there is no strong influence of bullying during the childhood on the response of the teacher to bullying.
Gibbons, Lichtenbert and van Beusekom (1994) found that it is necessary for the educators and other professionals need to deal with their own feelings that the incidents may evoke in order to respond effectively to the bullying situations. According to the research conducted by Boulton (1997, Craig et al (2000), Townsend-Wiggins (2001), training is essential for the teachers to increase the confidence and competence to respond to the bullying activities. It was found that most of the teachers had not received any training and expressed their desire to undertake this type of training. (Mishna, F. et al, 2005).