An investigation of upper primary students' understanding and use of anti-bullying strategies.

Year: 2000


Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In recent years there has been an increased awareness of bullying in schools by the media and educational researchers. Research into the nature and complexity of bullying behaviours has led to the development of anti-bullying strategies in schools which have focused on adopting a range of methods, including the 'whole school' approach or a 'shared concern' approach between schools, students and parents/caregivers (Rigby, 1996; Slee & Rigby, 1994).

While schools are seen as ideal sites for the delivery of anti-bullying strategies, little research has been undertaken into students' actual use of the anti-bullying strategies they have been taught. Therefore, this study seeks to investigate upper primary students' understanding and use of schools' anti-bullying strategies.

A qualitative methodology was used to gather data, which involved students discussing and responding to formal and informal questions, and a video stimulus, in focus group settings.

The responses indicated that students were more likely to use their own anti-bullying strategies rather then those which were formally incorporated in the schools' anti-bullying procedures. This finding suggests that the school strategies to counter bullying may lack authenticity and relevance for upper primary students.

Other factors that were seen to impact on the effectiveness of the anti-bullying strategies were also linked to the level of teacher support and the influence of the adolescent peer group.