School teachers’ perceptions of the role of outsiders in school bullying

School teachers' perceptions of the role of outsiders in school bullying
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This particular study was conducted with teachers working in Finnish primary/lower and secondary schools. Ten individuals were asked to reveal their perceptions of the role bystanders play in school bullying. This text draws on their experience of dealing with a multifaceted problem, as it drives other school problems, such as absenteeism, for example. Many children choose truancy to avoid school because they are bullied there. Given the long-term effects of bullying on victims, this is a serious issue that cannot be ignored. The perspective here is triadic. Triadic considerations of school bullying go beyond the bully-victim dyad and examine the factors that create the conditions for bullying to occur in the first place. Bystanders are an integral part of the triadic bullying equation and can either stop or perpetuate bullying. For example, victims have been documented to experience less anxiety and depression when they are protected and less rejection by their peers. Even students who are at high risk of victimization because of certain characteristics, such as deviant dress or speech, can be spared to some extent when peers do not reinforce bullying in the classroom.

Unfortunately, many children in schools simply watch or look away, even though practices have been put in place that hope to turn these children into advocates. A hope that did not come true. This research article points out that there are few advocates despite the implementation of long-term anti-bullying programs. The teachers in this study do not meet advocates in their schools. A closer look at most bystanders, a group commonly referred to as bystanders, reveals that they have empathy, prosocial skills—knowing the right thing to do when bullying occurs, and being able to keep themselves out of trouble. the victims themselves. These characteristics make them resemble defenders. However, unlike defenders, they do not help victims. On the other hand, there are student groups that do not resemble defenders, because they do not help the victims, but actively help the perpetrators. There are fewer of them than the outsiders, but they bully the main leader. Bullies and those who cheer and help them are bullied in schools. It is time to look at the potential of recent student groups. What if we could change their thinking? While outsiders don’t seem to take the next step or show courage, boosters and helpers are already doers. They are the ones who need to be carefully guided to the right actions. By putting the key in the right lock, we can find ourselves benefactors.

Also, we must remember that students take on roles, but not always in the same role. Although this difference makes it difficult to assign roles to students, we hope that this variation demonstrates that there is room for intervention. A student who presents as an outsider at school but later tells his parents about bullying at home, or a student who does nothing in class but is bullied during recess, both indicate that hybrid protector roles exist and that unwanted roles can be relinquished. and changed. Attempts to prevent bullying must build on these complex processes and ensure that all students are respected for who they are in the moment, without stigma; problem behavior may improve in the future. There is hope if we encourage appropriate behavior, if we try to expose such behavior, and from students who are surprised to see what they can experience, the retribution will see a classmate who is not offended, but defended. One teacher in this study tended to refer to attentive observers as “caretakers.” The process of “getting up” can be done in small steps. For example, classmates who do not laugh during a bullying episode also do not signal that there is nothing wrong with the scene. Victims and bystanders who show their true distress can break the chain of events that perpetuates bullying.

As this article supports a triadic approach to school bullying, it highlights another important societal factor, the influence of parents. On the perceived role of the teacher: Students expect their teachers to stop bullying to the extent that if the teacher did not respond earlier, students will stop reporting bullying episodes to them in a future episode. Students also do not intervene when teachers are involved because they expect them to intervene. Indeed, teachers take concrete steps to guide their students in the right direction and become loving and caring role models. In addition to these actions, teachers respond promptly to bullying by consistently demonstrating the behaviors they need, such as being polite, friendly and available to their students so that students can inform them when they or their classmates are in trouble. Even so, teachers feel they can’t do much, so parents need to get more involved. For example, children from families with violence and intolerance towards others are more likely to experience bullying episodes in schools. Together, parents and teachers can lead the way and create a bullying-free reality in schools and neighborhoods. Appropriate and coordinated behavior by parents and teachers can also relieve the entire society from this debilitating problem. Indeed, the more family and school units educate and prepare their younger members in how to think and act in the face of bullying, the more likely beneficial behaviors will prevail. A society’s youth hides its people’s power. So what would you like to be now and then? The one who gives the cold shoulder (picture 1) or the one who vows generous protection (picture 2)?

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Triantafyllou, A. (2022). School teachers’ perceptions of the role of bystanders in school bullying: A study in the Finnish context. Children and society00, 1–15.

Aikaterini Triantafyllou has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education. She worked as an English teacher in Greece for several years. She is interested in researching anti-bullying motivations and exploring new angles of anti-bullying intervention in schools.

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