Teachers’ Awareness and Sensitivity to a Bullying Incident: A Qualitative Study

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This qualitative study explores how teachers assess a bullying scenario and what considerations guide their assessment. Thirty-eight secondary school teachers from across Austria participated in an online survey with open-ended questions based on two vignette: one depicting an incident of verbal and social bullying and the other a non-bullying incident of physical violence. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Although participating teachers did not know that bullying was the study focus, they still showed sensitivity toward bullying, in terms of recognizing and labelling the incident. However, the teachers’ answers also showed that their assessment only partly coincides with those criteria that are central in the scientific discussion of bullying. While the aspects of doing (intentional) harm and imbalance of power were relevant to teachers’ assessments, the criterion of repetition was not. The results further suggest that participants’ awareness and interventions are closely related to situational aspects, personal and professional experiences, beliefs, and attitudes and only to a small extent to knowledge or training. Implications for teachers’ education and research are discussed.

FachzeitschriftInternational Journal of Bullying Prevention
PublikationsstatusElektronische Veröffentlichung vor Drucklegung - 2023

ÖFOS 2012

  • 503025 Schulpädagogik