Afdrukken

Bullying is not an isolated aggressive action between a "bully" and a "victim". It is rather a dynamic, social relationship problem which is, often, due to hectic human relations involving more participants. As such, it is influenced by peers, families, schools, and communities. Consequently, the phenomenon of bullying should concern the entire school population and all the factors that are responsible for the quality of education. In this context, the overall objective of this project was to develop an evidence-based and theory-driven approach to deal with bullying in schools by integrating research on bullying with a theoretical model which provides a dynamic perspective on the functioning and effects of education. This dynamic approach emphasizes the use of a whole-school approach to face bullying which is concerned with factors that contribute in the improvement of the quality of the school and the classroom environment such as student behaviour outside the classroom, the partnership policy, and collaboration between teachers. Research has shown that these factors have both direct and indirect effects on student achievement in different outcomes of schooling. School policy on opportunity to learn is also taken into account and it is stressed that the policy should refer to aims associated with bullying (e.g., understanding of social values, emotional recognition, developing positive attitudes towards the school). School policy should also include rules for handling and sanctioning bullying when it occurs. In this approach, emphasis is also given to the development of school self-evaluation mechanisms which help schools identify priorities for improvement and develop their strategies and action plans to face and reduce bullying. The project provides data supporting the importance of this approach through a cross-sectional study (first phase of the project: January 2009 – September 2009) conducted in 200 schools of five different countries (Cyprus, Greece, Netherlands, Belgium, UK). During the second phase of the study (October 2009 – June 2010), it was found out that schools which made use of the dynamic integrated approach in the participating countries managed to reduce bullying and improve the quality of their school life at a significantly higher level than the schools of the control group. Implications of findings for theory, policy and practice are drawn and suggestions for further research are provided.