"I Am Not Scared" Project
The Experience of Bullying Among Secondary School Students
Christina Athanasiades and Vassiliki Deliyanni-Kouimtzis
Psychology in the Schools ○ 2010 Wiley Periodicals
bullying, gender, victimization, intervention
1 - 20 pages
The present study was designed to qualitatively investigate secondary students’ interpretations and experiences of bullying (and victimization) in Greek schools, with a focus on gender similarities and differences. Overall, 95 secondary school students, 50 boys and 45 girls, participated in the focus group interviews.
According to the students interviewed, bullying is an issue of threat, fear, control and domination among students. Girls seem to be more negative towards bullying, though boys tried to justify their involvement in bullying. Furthermore, boys and girls agreed on the different ways that bullying is expressed among them. In particular, both genders claimed that bullying is much more frequent between boys and that boys are more physically violent, because of their natural physical “superiority”. Girls on the other hand usually exercise other forms of bullying, both verbal (such as mocking) and indirect (e.g., betraying secrets and spreading rumors), or bullying that has to do with social relationships.
Also, boys seem to prefer to handle bullying on their owns without anyone’s intervention, though girls are more open with parents and friends. But both boys and girls dislike teachers’ intervention, since they find them indifferent and ineffective.
These findings imply that effective anti-bullying interventions should employ a whole-school approach, which aims to reinforce an atmosphere of trust and safety among students, teachers, and parents. Teachers’ education and consciousness raising with respect to bullying, have to be enhanced and supported, at least in Greece. Furthermore, parents’ collaboration and their active involvement in schools are essential for the application of an integrated perspective against violence and bullying.
This study intends to underline the students’ perspective and give voice to their understandings and experiences with regard to bullying and victimization.
Students were recruited from eight public schools that represent various geographical areas. This is a very strong element of the study, because it covers a wide area in the country, and has a quite representative sample.
Working in groups, the study incorporated a variety of students’ experiences and discourses as representative of the whole school culture (or ethos) regarding bullying.
Because of the qualitative method and the great procedure followed, this research gives us very important information about students’ aspect of the phenomenon of bullying. According to the results, girls seem more sympathetic with the victims, while boys seem to try to defend the bullies. It comes out that socialization within the family and the school as well, encourages the construction of hegemonic masculinities among boys.
Another interesting finding is that the majority of Greek teachers disclaims the pedagogic dimension of their role, and feels insecure in dealing with social-emotional issues, and this is totally perceived by students. This implies the great importance of teachers’ education and consciousness’ raising with respect to bullying.
Psychology in the Schools, Vol. 47(4), 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com)
I Am Not Scared Project
Copyright 2017 - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission