Bullying Behaviour in Schools: Towards Better Understandings and Practice
This study of school bullying provides an overview of the development of international anti-bullying initiatives, an in-depth analysis of the state of antibullying approaches in New Zealand and a description of the impact of such approaches on the behaviour in one secondary school community. Its findings endorse the use of effective, school-based, anti-bullying interventions, in particular, those developed in Scandinavia and Britain during the last twenty years. The efforts to combat bullying in New Zealand are reviewed. While some New Zealand programmes are found to be effective, the anti-bullying initiatives of the Ministry of Education and the Education Review Office are found wanting, as is their failure to respond effectively to the growing public concern over bullying. A number of anti-bullying interventions undertaken within one school community are evaluated. While generally found to reduce bullying, the limitations of these interventions became evident when one class group was viewed in greater depth in a study which discovered an entrenched bullying ‘culture’ and provided insights into the bullying dynamic. The communication difficulties experienced when a small number of powerful individuals capture the dynamics of power and abuse, and in effect establish the relationship style for the whole group, are then highlighted. As a result of the understandings gained through this classroom-based study, a number of conclusions are developed about the importance of the role played by leaders, both teacher and pupil.