What Is Bullying?
A repeated, unjustifiable behaviour;
HOW IS BULLYING DIFFERENT TO OTHER FORMS OF AGGRESSION?
Like other forms of aggressive behaviour, bullying involves the intention of an individual or group to cause harm to one or more others. However, bullying has the following unique characteristic:
IS FIGHTING BULLYING?
While fighting between two students of equal power is of concern, it is not bullying. It is the presence of a power imbalance that distinguishes bullying from fighting, conflict, violence and disagreement. It is this imbalance that makes mistreatment of the victim possible.
Teachers get remarkably fed up with children who fight or scrap with one another. But they are not bullies because they fight, and the one who wins is most certainly not a bully because he/she wins. The mindless and degrading violence of strong against weak may be bullying, but fighting, by definition, is not
IS TEASING BULLYING?
Teasing done in mutual fun and jest, where all individuals are involved and feel capable of responding, is not bullying. However, teasing that is done in a mean and hurtful way, that involves a power imbalance whereby one individual feels powerless to respond or to stop what is happening is bullying behaviour.
THE IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGE: DEALING WITH BULLYING BEHAVIOUR, NOT BULLIES.
It is important that bullying is seen as a behaviour and not personalized in the form of a ‘bully’.
The message students receive should be that bullying is an unacceptable behaviour. It is easy to fall into the trap of focusing on ‘busting’ the bullies. This focus promotes force and exclusion as a means of getting ones way, in other words, exactly what bullying is! It also labels students who engage in bullying as ‘bullies’ and may marginalize and exclude them from change activities, because the message they receive is that they, as a ‘bully’, are not wanted or valued.
Activity to reduce and prevent bullying should promote the message that all students are valued, but engaging in bullying behaviour is unacceptable. Written information and policy should reflect this by referring to ‘students who engage in bullying’ or ‘students who bully others’ and ‘students who are bullied’ or ‘students who are the target of bullying’.
TYPES OF BULLYING
The different forms bullying can take may be classified as physical or non-physical, direct or indirect. Both Australian and international research suggests that the most common form of bullying is verbal, such as cruel teasing and name-calling.
SCHOOL STRATEGIES TO HELP ELIMINATE BULLYING BEHAVIOUR FROM OUR SCHOOL