The Macarthur Model for comprehensive intervention in bullying in schools: A methodology for a customised response

Year: 2003

Author: Healey, Jean

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Bullying in schools has become a major educational issue of concern to teachers, students and parents in the new millennium. As evidence mounts of the destructive, pervasive and at times lethal impact of the phenomena within the education milieu it has become apparent that an approach which comprises a pragmatic, comprehensive intervention, informed by new and innovative theoretical and psychological perspectives, is urgently required. This paper describes an attempt to address this requirement through the Macarthur Model for intervention in bullying in schools customised to address local issues and needs, based on data collected at the specific location.

The first component of the Model involves an initial investigation of the parameters of bullying in the setting using the School Safety Survey adapted and developed for use in this research. The instrument yields substantive baseline data related to student perceptions, experiences and attitudes in relation to bullying in the school.

The next five components of the model are initiated on the basis of the data collected in the educational setting and should be applied simultaneously and progressively to ensure efficacy.

The second component involves identifying and delivering staff development needs and training and the appropriate focus of community education programs; this component provides the opportunity to for the school community to examine their own data and begin to develop customised products and processes.

The third component facilitates the development of a specific school policy based on the levels, types and locations of the bullying reported in the setting.

The fourth component involves the school in determining the level, focus and types of organisational restructuring required to address the issues of student safety and supervision raised in survey responses for the particular setting.

The fifth component involves schools implementing generic, widely applied curricula for the general student population to provide education in regard to origins, indicators and appropriate responses to bullying at the school.

The sixth component involves assisting teachers to address the psychological needs of individuals involved in the bully/victim paradigm, including the acquisition, through training, of personal attributes to facilitate resistance and resiliency to bullying.

Analyses of the evidence gathered in a range of educational settings in which bullying was present provided the structure for the model and revealed several insights into the psychological bases of the phenomenon. The fundamental thesis presented here is that schools have the capacity to effectively intervene in bullying utilising the structured and customised Model described in this paper.