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Bullies and the Bullied: The Nature of Bullying in Schools

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1 Bullies and the Bullied: The Nature of Bullying in Schools
Lisa DeSouza Academic and Professional Tutor, University of Nottingham And Joint Acting Principal Educational Psychologist, Nottingham City February 2007

2 Learning Outcomes Definitions of bullying in schools
Prevalence of bullying in schools Effects of bullying Characteristics of those who bully and those who are bullied Influence of bystander behaviour Homophobic and racist bullying Interventions used in schools to tackle bullying The role of parents The role of educational psychologists

3 What is bullying? No universal definition Direct physical aggression
Direct verbal aggression Indirect aggression/relational bullying

4 What is bullying? “We say a child or young person is being bullied, or picked on when another child or young person, or a group of children or young people, say nasty and unpleasant things to him/her. It is also bullying when a child or a young person is hit, kicked threatened, locked inside a room, sent nasty notes, when no-one ever talks to them and things like that. These things can happen frequently and it is difficult for the child or the young person being bullied to defend himself/herself. It is also bullying when a child or young person is teased repeatedly in a nasty way. But it is not bullying when two children or young people of about the same strength have the odd fight or quarrel.” (From Whitney & Smith, 1993; and Olweus, 1989, 1993, 1999)

5 Prevalence of Bullying in Schools
Rates of bullying vary depending on type of approach used to measure its extent Main measures used: Children’s self report Teacher reports Observational studies Parental reports Peer nominations

6 Prevalence of Bullying in Schools
Physical and verbal bullying in primary schools – estimates range from 8% to 46% (based on self-reports) Lower proportions of pupils reported bullying in secondary schools Reporting less likely in schools perceived as being tolerant of bullying Inaccurate figures due varying definitions of bullying

7 Why Children are Bullied – Potential Risk Factors
Difficulties with social skills/social competence and self-esteem Lack of social support systems Children with special educational needs

8 Effects of Bullying on Victims
Academic achievement Mental Health Physical Health Adverse effects in adulthood

9 Characteristics of Those who Bully
Being victimised/bullied Two groups: socially skilled vs. socially unskilled More aggressive, lack of empathy Home backgrounds-less affection, more violence

10 Effects of Bullying on Bullies
Increased risk of depression Higher risk of criminal activity

11 Responses to Bullying Aggressive response
Passive unconstructive response Passive constructive response Assertive response (From Sharp & Cowie, 1994)

12 Bystander Behaviour Bullying occurs in groups
Bystanders key in either sustaining or preventing bullying Bystanders often afraid of becoming involved

13 Bystander Behaviour “Perhaps the most important factor in combating bullying is the social pressure brought to bear by the peer group rather than the condemnation of individual bullies by someone in authority” (Herbert, 1989; pp79-80)

14 Role of Bystanders Assistants Reinforcers Outsiders Defenders
(Salmivalli, 1996, 1999)

15 Bystander Behaviour 9% - bystanders supported victim
6% - bystanders attempted a resolution 55% - bystanders made no response to help 7% - bystanders smiled/laughed 24% - bystanders supported bully (Tapper & Boulton, 2005) Justification of bullying by onlookers/bullies – see mike boulton presentation

16 Homophobic and Racist Bullying
Little research in this area Higher risk of being bullied if from an ethnic minority Clear relationship between individualised racial bullying and institutional racial bullying

17 Homophobic and Racist Bullying
Homophobia has increased rather than decreased over last 20 years 30%-50% of young people attracted to others of same sex have experienced homophobic bullying in secondary schools (Warwick et al 2004) Bullying long term, systematic and carried out by groups of peers as opposed to individuals

18 Strategies to tackle Homophobic and Racist Bullying
Support by school staff to victims of racist/homophobic bullying Schools open to discuss matters of sexual orientation Staff aware of issues re psychosexual development in childhood and adolescents Training/awareness raising for staff Clear procedures in place to challenge racism and homophobia

19 The Involvement of Parents/Carers
Assisting their children to develop social competence Parental alertness to possibility of bullying Awareness of school’s anti-bullying policy Training workshops for parents/carers

20 Anti-Bullying Interventions
Peer support approaches Co-operative group work Circle Time Befriending/Buddy Schemes Circles of Friends Conflict resolution/mediation Peer Tutoring Peer Counselling Peer mentoring

21 Anti-Bullying Interventions
Pikas Method of Shared Concern Stage 1 – Meeting with group members Stage 2 – Meeting with person who has been bullied Stage 3 – Further Meetings with group members Stage 4 – Further meeting with all the group members (Pikas, 1987)

22 Anti-Bullying Interventions
The No-Blame Approach Interview bullied pupil Arrange a meeting for all pupils who are involved Explain the problem Share responsibility Identify solutions Let pupils take action themselves Meet them again (Maines & Robinson, 1992)

23 Anti-bullying Interventions
Assertiveness Training for bullied pupils Body Language and eye contact Assertive Statements Resisting manipulation and threats Responding to name calling Enlisting support (From Sharp et al, 1994) Assertiveness training for bystanders

24 Anti-Bullying Interventions
Developing a whole-school anti-bullying policy Government initiatives used in schools: “Don’t Suffer in Silence” (DfEE, 1994) Promoting Emotional Health and Wellbeing (Healthy Schools, 2004) SEAL Materials– Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning

25 Role of the Educational Psychologist
Supporting the implementation of anti-bullying interventions Supporting schools in designing appropriate anti-bullying policies Providing training and awareness raising programmes on bullying to staff, pupils and parents

26 Key References DECP (2006) ‘British Psychological Society Submission to the Education and Skills Select Committee Inquiry into Bullying’ Olweus, D. (1993) Bullying at School: What we know and what we can do Blackwell Reid, P., Monsen, J. & Rivers, I. (2004) ‘Psychology’s Contribution to Understanding and Managing Bullying within Schools’ Educational Psychology in Practice Vol 20, No 3 pp

27 Key References Rigby, K. (2002) New Perspectives on Bullying Jessica Kingsley Publishers Smith, P.K. & Sharp, S. (Eds) (1994) School Bullying: Insights and Perspectives London: Routledge

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