Thomas, Bruce; Bolen, Yvette; Hester, Jackie; Hyde, Lisa
December 2010
Review of Higher Education & Self-Learning;Dec2010, Vol. 3 Issue 7, p76
Academic Journal
Bullying has become a problem of pandemic size and degree. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, almost one in three students ages 12-18 have reported being bullied in school (Holland, 2010). Bullying can be defined as "unprovoked conscious and aggressive action by one or more students intended to achieve physical or psychological dominance over others through intimidation or threat" (Hoy, n.d., para. 1). According to the American Psychological Association (1993) students that are repeatedly exposed to aggressive behaviors, are "victimized by the chronic presence of violence" (p. 42). With the presence of bullying existing in schools, popular public gathering places, and even the virtual environment where students can be "cyberbullied," preventative and intervention measures must be explored to contain the societal problem. The purpose of the study was to determine if there was a significant difference in how students attending a dated, crowded middle-school viewed bullying. Specifically, this study was designed to investigate if students of different gender (M vs. F), grade level (7th vs. 8th) and class type (collaborative, regular or advanced) perceive bullying differently. There were 688 students total enrolled in this middle school. The survey instrument (B-Index) (Hoy, n.d.) was administered to 546 seventh and eighth grade students in their language arts block. In each grade level, there were three collaborative blocks, six regular blocks, and three advanced blocks. This eleven item questionnaire utilized a 6-point Likert scale, with the scores for items 4, 9, and 11 inverted. The highest point total (66) indicates a school environment which encourages bullying. Descriptive statistics (number of subjects, means, and standard deviations) were determined along gender lines, grade levels, and class types. The study investigated differences and the interactions that existed when viewing bullying perceptions between gender, grade level, and class type by utilizing a Univariate Analysis of Variance statistical technique. Descriptive statistics along gender lines, grade levels, and class types pertaining to students' perception of bullying revealed the following results: Gender (Males = 262, Mean = 40.2, SD = 7.8; and Females = 284, Mean = 40.3, SD = 7.9); Grade Level (7th = 249, Mean = 38.7, SD = 8.5; and 8th = 297, Mean = 41.5, SD = 7.0); and Class Type (Collaborative = 115, Mean = 38.9, SD = 8.9; Regular = 298, Mean = 40.7, SD = 7.7; and Advanced = 133, Mean = 40.5, SD = 7.2). The results from the Univariate Analysis of Variance indicated non-significance was detected along gender lines. The study revealed significant difference between grade levels F(1, 544) = 20.9 , p < .005. Significance was also found between class types F(2, 543) = 3.957, p < .005 and when comparing the interaction between class type and grade level F(2, 543) = 5.048, p < .005. It can be concluded that the grade levels and class types may perceive bullying differently. Since bullying can be decreased by the presence of high teacher morale, positive learning climate, and organizational structure of the learning environment (Yoneyama & Rigby, 2006), creating these conditions is highly recommended. Implementation of anti-bullying programs, workshops for teachers on how to handle bullying in the classroom, and system-wide mandates such as the zero-tolerance policy are established methods of controlling bullying (Skiba, 2010, p. 28). In the near future subjects will be moving into a new, spacious school environment. Further studies are warranted to determine if bullying perceptions change along gender lines, class types, and grade levels.



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