A whole-school approach to tackling bullying

An article in the July issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research describes the impact of an evidence-based framework designed to help schools tackle bullying. Based on research on both bullying and educational effectiveness, the framework is a whole-school approach that considers three elements:

  1. The school policy for teaching;
  2. The school learning environment, including behaviour outside the classroom, interaction between teachers, and collaboration with stakeholders including parents and psychologists; and
  3. School evaluation.

A total of 52 schools in Cyprus and Greece were randomly allocated to experimental and control groups. Experimental schools were offered training and support to develop strategies and action plans for confronting and reducing bullying based on the data on what was occurring in their schools. The intervention was implemented for approximately eight months.

The authors found that the approach had a direct effect on improving school factors and both direct and indirect effects on reducing bullying. In both countries, schools that used the approach reduced the extent to which their pupils were being victimised and reduced the extent of bullying compared to the control schools. However, the article acknowledges that the effect of the intervention may partly be attributed to differences in the effort put in by schools in the two groups with regard to implementing their strategies to reduce bullying.

Source: Improving the School Learning Environment to Reduce Bullying: An Experimental Study (2014), Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research , 58(4).

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