Teacher attitudes towards three types of bullying
Kinan, Elizabeth L.
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School bullying has come to the forefront of challenging behaviors, as nearly 30% of youth are estimated to experience frequent involvement in bullying related issues (Bradshaw, Sawyer, & O’Brennan, 2007). Teachers are often unaware of bullying problems. Twenty-five percent of teachers see nothing wrong with bullying or putdowns, and consequently intervene in only 4% of bullying incidents (Cohn & Canter, 2002). Teacher perceptions toward bullying may impact their involvement in intervening. Leaders in the field argue that changing the dynamic of bullying requires increasing adult awareness and intervention, developing clear school policies, and coordinating procedures to track and respond to bullying reports (O’Connell, Pepler, & Craig, 1999). The purpose of this study is to examine teacher attitudes towards three types of bullying behaviors (physical, verbal, and social exclusion). One hundred and thirty-eight (138) subjects participated in the study. Participants were asked to answer hypothetical scenarios in order to measure the teachers’ perceived level toward seriousness of bullying, their empathy toward the victim, and likelihood of intervening, as well as the method in which they intervene. Overall, teachers perceived physical bullying to be more serious, had more empathy toward the victim, were more likely to intervene, and used stronger forms of intervention when compared to the other two forms of bullying (verbal and social exclusion). Furthermore, teachers perceived bullying by social exclusion as less serious, had less empathy toward the victim, and were less likely to intervene in bullying by social exclusion, and used less aggressive methods of intervention when compared to verbal and physical bullying. In this study, the results indicated no significant difference between teacher attitudes across the three forms of bullying and school location, gender, and previous bullying training.