Title

Bullies, Tattletales, and Good Citizens: Helping Students Define, Identify, and Report Authentic Bullying Behavior

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

Strand #1

Safety & Violence Prevention

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

We presented our research at the NYAR conference last year as part of an attempt to bridge the gap between academic theory and practice in schools so often noted in the research (Kagan, 1993). Our prior research was presented at the poster session ("Staying Current: Teachers Respond to Recent Research on Bullying") and as part of the panel discussion on bullying, and detailed our experiences with exposing in-service teachers to compelling and challenging recent research on bullying before discussing said research and their real-world experiences in a focus group format. Among the many compelling takeaways from our focus group was the notion that students (and teachers) still needed help in developing an operational definition of bullying. Moreover, teachers felt that students needed help discerning when to reach out to adults for help, or rather how to walk the line between reporting bullying behaviors and being a "tattletale."

Our goal with this year's research project is to expand beyond the singular focus group format and utilize more focus groups and surveys to help local teachers, academics, and pre-service teachers not only develop an understanding of recent research on bullying, but also to work with in-service professionals to develop a stronger working definition of "bullying" and help them to develop a "mini-lesson" or handout designed to help younger students discern authentic bullying behavior as well as the proper channels for reporting such actions. While our prior focus was on connecting teachers to recent research and discerning the motivations for bullying behavior, we would like to develop a practical, localized approach for identifying actual bullying as well as reporting these behaviors.

Reference:

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.

Brief Program Description

In-service teachers must be active participants in traditional, academic discussions on bullying. We sought to add local teachers' voices to ongoing discussions of the definition of "bullying" before developing resources to help new teachers and students identify and report such behaviors. We believe anyone who works with K-12 students can benefit from our discussion of developing a practical approach to identifying and reporting bullying behaviors.

Summary

While our prior research opened a dialogue between our college and local teachers, we needed more voices and a more practical approach to helping pre-service and in-service teachers identify, report, and/or deal with bullying. Our prior research informed our development of new questions for focus groups and surveys. Wider input from local teachers will be used as we work with them to develop materials and a “mini-lesson” that can help them operationally define “bullying” with students of different age and developmental levels. Moreover, it is our hope that our collaboration with a larger sample of teachers will complement our ongoing research on bullying and aid us in developing an approach for identifying and reporting bullying behaviors that is both research-based and pragmatic for working teachers.

Our prior focus group research has informed our development of a survey to be disseminated to a larger sample of teachers and teacher candidates (n=50+) as well as a second, more refined and targeted focus group. In addition to presenting all of these findings, we also aim to provide participants with a “takeaway” in the form of a sample handout or mini-lesson designed to help students identify authentic bullying and discern between being a “good citizen” and a “tattletale” so that bullying victims can be identified and receive support. Note: As the operational definition of bullying is complex and ever-changing, we hope to add the voices of other conference attendees and experts to our research going forward. Because of this, we see great value in presenting in either a traditional, individual presentation or poster presentation setting. While we are submitting this as a poster presentation, please know that we are available and happy to present in any format the conference organizers wish.

Evidence

Data for this study was primarily collected through surveys and focus groups. Surveys are utilized with large groups for the purpose of generating statistics (Fowler, 2014). In our case, the surveys helped us to reach a larger sample of teachers and to inform the questions for our focus groups. We utilized focus groups this approach promotes natural discussion (Grudens-Schuck, Allen, & Larson, 2004). The focus groups in this study were conducted by the lead researcher as well as 1 of the 3-4 undergraduate students selected for participation in this project. Data from both surveys and focus groups will be used to inform our handouts and mini-lesson, with these research-based curricular pieces also serving as products of our evidence.

References:

Fowler, F.J. (2014). Survey Research Methods (5th 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.

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 doctoral degree 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 community 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 7 years. Beyond his teaching duties, Colby served as a member of the School Council and various other committees. He also served the school as a new teacher mentor and advisor to student mentors. Outside of school duties, Colby participated in a multi-year Teaching American History (TAH) grant project in collaboration with the Library of America.

Colby graduated from Auburn University with a B.S. degree in Secondary Social Science Education in 2003. He completed work on his M.Ed. degree in Curriculum and Instruction at LaGrange College in 2007. He received his Ph.D. from Auburn University in 2016 before joining the faculty at LaGrange College. His research interests include problem-based historical inquiry in social studies classrooms, support for new teachers during the induction period, bullying, and TESOL methodology.

Note: in addition to Dr. Jones and the aforementioned second presenter (Kylie Reynolds), 2-3 more undergraduate students will be joining this project in September. We will add their names and contact information as soon as possible.

Keyword Descriptors

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

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

3-6-2018 4:00 PM

End Date

3-6-2018 5:30 PM

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Mar 6th, 4:00 PM Mar 6th, 5:30 PM

Bullies, Tattletales, and Good Citizens: Helping Students Define, Identify, and Report Authentic Bullying Behavior

In-service teachers must be active participants in traditional, academic discussions on bullying. We sought to add local teachers' voices to ongoing discussions of the definition of "bullying" before developing resources to help new teachers and students identify and report such behaviors. We believe anyone who works with K-12 students can benefit from our discussion of developing a practical approach to identifying and reporting bullying behaviors.