Pre-Service Teachers' Knowledge and Attitudes regarding School-Based Bullying

Article excerpt

Abstract

Pre-service teachers responded to two questionnaires exploring perceptions of school violence. Responses to the "Teachers' Attitudes about Bullying" and "Trainee Teachers' Bullying Attitudes" questionnaires suggest that teachers across all academic divisions view bullying as a serious concern with implications for their role within the profession. There were considerable differences regarding what was defined as bullying, with variability related to the potential of intervening to end the violence. Covert forms of bullying including relational, homophobic, and cyber were viewed as less serious than overt violence and therefore less worthy of attention. The research findings point to the importance of providing pre-service teachers with training regarding anti-violence strategies.

Resume

De futurs enseignants ont repondu a deux questionnaires explorant les perceptions de la violence scolaire. Les reponses aux questionnaires sur les <> et les << Attitudes intimidantes des enseignants stagiaires >> suggerent que les enseignants, dans toutes les divisions academiques, voient l'intimidation et le harcelement comme un probleme serieux avec des implications pour leur role au sein de la profession. Il y avait des differences considerables en ce qui concerne la definition du mot << intimidation >>, avec des variances liees au potentiel d'intervention pour mettre fin a la violence. Des formes dissimulees d'intimidation, y compris relationnelle, homophobe, et la cyberintimidation, etaient considerees comme moins graves que la violence manifeste et donc moins dignes d'attention. Les resultats de l'etude soulignent l'importance de fournir aux futurs enseignants une formation sur les strategies de lutte contre la violence.

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Statistics reveal that young people are the primary perpetrators, victims, and witnesses of interpersonal violence in the broader society, as well as within the school environment (Coloroso, 2002), with school-based violence now considered so pervasive that its ramifications go beyond the context of schools making it a matter of public health (Pepler & Craig, 2000; Stoltz, 2005). Bauman and Del Rio (2006) suggest that teacher preparation for developing violence prevention strategies in faculties of education is a necessary part of the effective response to school violence. Yet, comprehensive pre-service teacher training in prevention and intervention of bullying is lacking. Based on previous work examining the nature of school-based violence, this study investigated the knowledge and attitudes of pre-service teachers regarding their sensitivity and understanding of school-based violence at the point when they enter their teacher preparation program.

Literature Review

Bullying as a form of aggression reflects an imbalance of power between the bully and the victim, with school-based bullying ranging from playground pushing and shoving to sexual harassment, gang attacks and dating violence (Pepler, Craig, & Connolly, 1997). Victims of bullying experience a lack of control and fear the power of the perpetrator's actions, while bullies take advantage of this power in the control of others. Problems associated with chronic bullies include disruptive and externalizing behaviour disorders such as Conduct Disorder, described as a pattern of repetitive behaviour where the rights of others or current social norms are violated (American Psychiatric Association [DSM-IV-TR], 2000; Pepler & Craig, 2000). Other problems include aggression, sexual harassment, internalizing problems (e.g., anxiety and depression), academic problems, and school dropout (Pepler & Craig, 2000). The serious repercussions for both the bully and the victim underscore the importance of the role that teachers play in promoting violence-free schools and healthy relationships for children and adolescents. …