Title

Staying Current: Teachers Respond to Recent Research on Bullying

First Presenter's Institution

LaGrange College

Second Presenter's Institution

LaGrange College

Third Presenter's Institution

LaGrange College

Fourth Presenter's Institution

LaGrange College

Fifth Presenter's Institution

LaGrange College

Location

Harborside East & West

Strand #1

Safety & Violence Prevention

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

The creation of a positive school climate is a multi-faceted endeavor. In recent years, the topics of bullying and the prevention of bullying have been at the forefront of discussions on how to build such an environment. In order to do this effectively, we must work to bridge the gap between the research we undertake in academia and the "real world" of the teachers who are chiefly responsible for overseeing the well-being of their students as they seek to build a positive climate. This study seeks to determine if teachers' understandings about bullying align with those of researchers, and perhaps more importantly, begin a conversation about adaptations that might be made in light of recent research findings.

Brief Program Description

All stakeholders responsible for creating a positive and safe school environment must stay current on the most recent research on bullying. Our study sought to provide pre-service and in-service teachers with some of the most recent and compelling research on the topic and to add their voices to current discussions of bullying in academia. Attendees will join the presenters in contributing to this "bridge-building" dialogue.

Summary

Researchers have long noted the existence of a gap between academic theory and practice in schools (Kagan, 1993). Bridging this gap is of the utmost importance for both researchers who seek the realization of their findings in the “real world” and for teachers who must stay current in their field. This study seeks to provide teachers with an opportunity to consider and respond to some of the most recent, paradigm-shifting research on bullying. A recent study from the National Center for Educational Statistics (Lessne & Cidade, 2015) reports that one out of every four students reports being bullied during the school year. More troubling is research that suggests that 64% of children who are bullied do not report it (Petrosina, Guckenburg, DeVoe, & Hanson, 2010). Becuase it is the teacher who is on the “front line” with students, it is imperative that they are part of a dialogue with academics engaged in research on bullying.

Teachers and pre-service teachers in this study will be exposed to 2-3 recent, peer-reviewed journal articles on bullying. Perhaps most notable among these articles is “Survival of the Fittest and the Sexiest; Evolutionary Origins of Adolescent Bullying.” This article by Jun-Bin Koh and Jennifer S. Wong (2015) received a great deal of media coverage due to the authors’ findings that bullies often exhibited better mental health and a higher social status than non-bullies. This finding agreed with other studies (Juvonen, Graham, & Schuster, 2003; Juvonen, 2005) that countered decades-old beliefs that students bully others because they have low self-esteem or are unpopular. After reading this and other articles, the participants will participate in focus groups to discuss the findings of these research, how said findings compare and contrast with their experiences, and what these findings mean for their practice. As mentioned above, the ultimate goal of this study is to add teachers’ voices to the most current academic discussion of bullying. By presenting the findings of our study of local teachers at the NYAR conference, we hope to further extend this dialogue to teachers across the nation who can continue the conversation with their peers.

References:

Juvonen, J. (2005). Myths and facts about bullying in schools. Behavioral Health Management, 25, 36-40.

Juvonen, J., Graham, S., & Schuster, M. A. (2003). Bullying among young adolescents: The strong, the weak, and the troubled. Pediatrics, 112, 1231-1237.

Kagan, D.M. (1993). Laura and Jim and what they taught me about the gap between educational theory and practice. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Koh, J., & Wong, J.S. (2015). Survival of the fittest and the sexiest: Evolutionary origins of adolescent bullying. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Published online before print, 1-23.

Lessne, D., & Cidade, M. (2015). Student reports of bullying and cyber-bullying: Results fromthe 2013 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. U.S. Department of Education, 2015-056.

Petrosina, A., Guckenburg, S., DeVoe, J., & Hanson, T. (2010). What characteristics of bullying, bullying victims, and schools are associated with increased reporting of bullying to school officials? IES National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Rel. 2010-No. 92.

Evidence

For researchers such as Kagan (1993), the aforementioned gap between theory and practice is best reduced through increased collaboration between professors and classroom teachers in more authentic communities. Data for this study is collected through focus groups, as this approach promotes natural discussion and the collection of "actual statements from real people" (Grudens-Schuck, Allen, & Larson, 2004). The focus groups in this study will be conducted by the lead researcher as well as 2-3 undergraduate students who were selected for participation in a grant to encourage undergraduate research. Focus groups will be recorded and the audio-recordings will be transcribed for the purpose of identifying patterns and themes in the language (Creswell, 2007).

The design of this study is also heavily informed by Miller-Lane, Denton, and May (2006). In this study, the authors exposed teachers to compelling research on the topic of teacher impartiality in controversial public issues discussions before interviewing them to add their responses to an ongoing debate over whether or not teachers should reveal their positions on controversial civic issues in the classroom. This design explicitly connected teachers to the discourse of academics. While this study relied on individual interviews with teachers, our study is designed with focus groups in mind. It is our hope that focus groups of 5-7 participants will yield richer, more authentic, and more productive discussions.

References:

Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches. (2nd Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Grudens-Schuck, N., Allen, B.L., & Larson, K. (2004). Methodology brief: Focus group fundamentals. Extension Community and Economic Development Publications. Book 12.

Kagan, D.M. (1993). Laura and Jim and what they taught me about the gap between educational theory and practice. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press

Miller-Lane, J., Denton, E., & May. A. (2006). Social studies teachers’ views on committed impartiality and discussion. Social Studies Research and Practice, 1(1), 30-44.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Robert "Colby" Jones is Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at LaGrange College in LaGrange, GA. Prior to joining the faculty at LaGrange College, he earned his Ph.D. from Auburn University in Auburn, AL. While at Auburn University, he served as an instructor, an internship supervisor, and worked on various grants such as the Teaching American History (TAH) Plowing Freedom’s Ground Project. In addition to serving as a professor and part-time instructor for educational courses, Colby has also taught history courses at nearby colleges in Opelika, AL, and Columbus, GA.

Before beginning his doctoral studies at Auburn University, Colby was employed at Troup County Comprehensive High School in LaGrange, Georgia where he taught United States History, World History, Comparative Religions, and AP(C) Psychology for seven years. He also holds a BSEd degree from Auburn University and a MEd degree from LaGrange College.

His research interests include problem-based historical inquiry in social studies classrooms, support for new teachers during the induction period, and methods for bridging the divide between academia and practicing teachers.

Note: 2-3 other authors will be added to this project in the next month. We are currently selecting undergraduate students to assist with the project and will let you know their names and provide biographical sketches as soon as possible.

Keyword Descriptors

bullying, bully, school climate, focus groups, research, teacher beliefs

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-7-2017 4:00 PM

End Date

3-7-2017 5:30 PM

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Mar 7th, 4:00 PM Mar 7th, 5:30 PM

Staying Current: Teachers Respond to Recent Research on Bullying

Harborside East & West

All stakeholders responsible for creating a positive and safe school environment must stay current on the most recent research on bullying. Our study sought to provide pre-service and in-service teachers with some of the most recent and compelling research on the topic and to add their voices to current discussions of bullying in academia. Attendees will join the presenters in contributing to this "bridge-building" dialogue.