Researchers Discover Potential Breakthrough to Combat Bullying in Schools
New study finds Anti-Bullying climate in classrooms leads to increased Pro-Victim bystanders and fewer instances of bullying.
A ground-breaking study conducted in South Korea could revolutionise the way bullying is tackled in schools.
This new method suggests focusing on reshaping the classroom environment, rather than solely targeting individual students' behaviour.
Researchers found that by creating an "anti-bullying climate" within classrooms, they can increase the number of pro-victim bystanders and reduce instances of bullying.
Previous anti-bullying efforts primarily concentrated on changing individual students’ behaviour. However, these interventions were largely unsuccessful, according to educational psychologists from Korea University. The new study, published in American Psychology, emphasises the importance of teachers in cultivating an anti-bullying climate within their classrooms.
To test this new approach, researchers examined a group of 24 experienced, full-time physical education teachers in Seoul, who taught adolescent students. The study assessed 1,178 students across 48 classes, with the teachers divided into two groups: one that received no intervention, and another that was taught the new "autonomy-supportive teaching" method to prevent bullying.
Teachers fostered a classroom environment that emphasised caring, equality-driven values, and minimised hierarchy, conflict, and competition. Students reported their perceptions of teacher autonomy support, classmates' autonomy support, adoption of the defender role, and their experiences of bullying at the beginning, middle, and end of an 18-week semester.
Researchers concluded that focusing on individual students is unlikely to be effective without first transforming the social climate in classrooms that reinforces bullying.
"In the classrooms of these teachers, bystanders supported the victims because the classroom climate supported the bystanders," the researchers noted. This new approach holds great promise for creating safer and more supportive school environments worldwide, ultimately benefiting both victims of bullying and their peers.
Breakthrough Press will have more coverage of this issue in the coming days.