Bullies Better at Hiding Their Behavior Than You Might Think

simpsons-hahaHere’s a short and sweet one for you today, which I found particularly interesting. The study comes out of the University of Illinois and is about bullying in grade school. If you’re like most of us out there, you got your fair share of it at some point during those five years no matter how cool you were.

Personally, I was the kid who wore sweat pants and gym shorts to school everyday and had some of the worst looking glasses in existence, so you can imagine the sorts of memories I can drum up.

But I digress.

The interesting part of the study is that, after asking 700 children and 38 teachers in three different grade levels across five different schools to identify bully-victim pairs, there wasn’t much agreement. That is, the students identified different dyads than the teachers did. On average, students and teachers agreed on only 8 percent of bully-victim pairs, with the most in-the-know teacher only scoring 39 percent.

Are the teachers in the respective schools just not very good? Are they not paying attention to what’s going on in their classrooms? Or is it just that most bullying goes on out of sight? After all, bullying is typically seen as not something you want to be caught in the act of doing.

Whatever the reason, greater awareness is something every teacher can and should strive toward. I wasn’t a fan of seating charts growing up, but I can certainly see the benefit of keeping bullies away from their usual targets.

The study, “Emerging issues in school bullying research & prevention science,” was published in the journal Theory into Practice by Philip C. Rodkin, professor of child development, and Dorothy L. Espelage, educational psychologist. Also coauthoring the paper was Jun Sung Hong, a professor of social work at Wayne State University; Sabina Low, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University; and Mrinalini A. Rao, a research assistant in counseling psychology at Illinois; Hai-Jeong Ahn, who is a research fellow at the Korean Educational Development Institute in Seoul, and Scott Gest, a professor of human development at Pennsylvania State University.


About bigkingken

A science writer dedicated to proving that the Big Ten - or the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, if you will - is more than athletics.
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