The Role of Teachers in Peer Bullying

The Role of Teachers in Peer Bullying

Dicle Cantekin, Gülümser Gültekin Akduman
Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5426-8.ch023
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In addition to the school, family, and community, teachers also play a critical role in the prevention and intervention plans for peer bullying. The role of teachers in peer bullying will be explained. It is planned to create a framework for the arrangements that teachers should make in the prevention and intervention phases of peer bullying. Therefore, the components that teachers can apply to prevent peer bullying, education programs, classroom environments, and what needs to be done at the individual level, will be explained with sub-titles. Some suggestions will be made to help teachers support peer relationships.
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Peer bullying, which is accepted as a global health problem, is an important problem that draws attention to its worldwide prevalence by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN). According to the WHO (2012) report, approximately 32% of children in 38 countries/regions are exposed to various forms of bullying. Bullying is an international problem that negatively affects prosperity ( Although studies on bullying concentrate on primary and high school students; It is seen that it starts in the pre-school period (Gültekin Akduman, 2012). In order to eliminate the development of bullying in the following years, it is important to monitor the aggressive behaviors of young children closely and to intervene by examining them at the earliest period.

Peer bullying is defined as the deliberate and negative behaviors of individuals that create verbal, psychological, physical, or social pain and stress on powerless people (Besag, 1989). Olweus (1993), on the other hand, defines peer bullying, as a sub-dimension of aggression, as the repeated use of violence by the strong child on the weaker without any provocative element. Bullying is considered as a sub-genre of aggression. Bully children are usually those who are powerful or perceived as powerful by the abuser. Bully children can be active, sociable, popular, full of hostility and aggressive in their peer structure. It has been determined that bully children have aggressive, quarrelsome, destructive, negative self-esteem and low level of social competence. Children who resort to violence have more positive attitudes towards bullying than other children. These children may have different characteristics within the peer group. Some bully children have few friends and are lonely (Gillies-Rezo & Bosacki, 2003; Kartal & Bilgin, 2007).

Children who experience peer bullying in schools are more likely to face negative consequences in the future. Studies have shown that exposure to peer violence may be associated with depression, loneliness, behavioral disorders, low academic performance, school dropout, and substance use in the coming years. On the contrary, it has been revealed that children with higher peer acceptance are more successful in academic and emotional areas in their adult lives. (Boulton & Underwood, 1992; Audley- Piotrowski & Patterson, 2015; Ladd & Burgess, 2001).

Olweus and Limber (2010) formed the bullying cycle consisting of 7 types of student groups. Accordingly, the groups in the bullying cycle are bullies (students who bully), followers or henchmen, supporters or passive bullies, passive supporters or possible bullies, disengaged onlookers, possible defenders and defenders.

Figure 1.

Bullying Circle (Olweus & Limber, 2010).


Key Terms in this Chapter

Peer Relationships: Communities that create unique values and standards for behaviors and create a social structure consisting of leaders and followers form peer groups

Prevention Training Program: It includes practices designed to reduce the possibility of future problems in individuals and societies and to improve mental health. It includes an approach to intervene in the problems observed in students and applications at different teaching levels based on increasing and strengthening competencies by taking into account the problems to be experienced in the future.

Aggression: It is defined as intentional and harmful behavior towards people or objects. Although it does not directly harm the source it targets, any behavior done for this purpose is considered as aggression.

Peer Bullying: It is a form of destructive interaction in which certain people aim verbal, physical aggression, or other forms of abuse

Social Position: Peer acceptance and rejection refer to the social position of children in the peer group. Social position is an indicator of peer relationships. Social position emerges according to the results obtained from sociometric measurements.

Social Skills: It is defined as verbal or non-verbal behaviors that initiate and maintain social relations, facilitate the solution of problems experienced in social relations

Teacher's Attitudes: Teachers' mentality, emotional reactions, various habits, and their inclusive personality affect their attitudes towards students. From this point of view, teacher attitudes are one of the strongest determinants of his/her behavior in his/her profession.

Using Strategies for Coping with Bullying: There are many coping strategies available to prevent peer bullying. Coping strategy is defined as purposeful, cognitive, and behavioral efforts undertaken to manage the internal and external demands of a stressor in order to resolve stress or alleviate emotional reactions.

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