Teachers’ perspectives on bullying in schools: A comparative mixed methods study in England and the United States

19th October 2021 : 17:00 - 18:15

Category: Webinar

Speaker: Dr Peter Hurtubise, University of California, Berkeley

Location: Zoom

Convener: Katrina May Dulay

Audience: Public


This mixed methods study explores English and US teachers’ perspectives on student bullying, with a particular focus on cyberbullying. In the past, research on bullying has informed large-scale educational policy interventions in schools across many countries.  The project seeks to discover how and why teachers might have different views of how to address bullying and the reasons for why they would respond.  Utilizing ideas from Social Cognitive Theory, the researcher developed two questionnaires, asking teachers for their perceptions of different hypothetical bullying situations. They are used in both England and the US in order to provide a comparative element in two different English speaking country contexts.  The questionnaires are analysed to explore the differences between the perceptions and the reasons for responses for new and experienced teachers.  They also explore teacher perceptions of more long-term solutions to deal with cyberbullying. A series of semi-structured interviews across England and the US are utilized to provide additional qualitative evidence.  The interviews explore the topics emerging from the quantitative findings pertaining to bullying and cyberbullying, allowing teachers to share their experiences.  This enables the research to discover the degree of similarity between the quantitative and qualitative findings.  The qualitative evidence is also used to provide richer descriptions and insights, building explanations. Some quantitative and qualitative findings were common to the English and US samples. Teachers who have more confidence in their ability to deal with perpetrators and consider the situations as serious are more likely to respond in the various scenarios studied.  Teachers in both the English and the US samples tended to perceive physical bullying as much more serious than relational bullying.  Furthermore, teachers in both country samples believed that parental involvement remained one of the most effective strategies for dealing with cyberbullying.  However, different perceptions between the bullying situations emerged. Overall, teachers were much more likely to state that they would respond in situations of cyberbullying happening at school rather than at home. Across countries, there were slight differences, as American teachers were more likely than English teachers to think that encouraging student bystanders would constitute an effective strategy for dealing with cyberbullying.

About the speaker

Dr Peter Hurtubise is a Lecturer at UC Berkeley. He completed his doctorate in the Department of Education at the University of Oxford.