Antonia Paljakka, BA MA

Teachers' Sensitivity for Bullying at School. A Qualitative Study on How Teachers (Can) Recognize Bullying

Betreuung: Ilse Schrittesser
Zeitraum: 2018-2023


The field of interest of the planned PhD-project is set around the question, what the constitutive elements of teachers‘ sensitivity for bullying at school are. This interest is based on the insights, that teachers play a central role in the prevention of bullying at school as well as the intervention if bullying happens (Bilz et al., 2017, p. 18) and that wrong or missing reactions to bullying often trace back to inaccurate knowledge of bullying or lacking sensitivity (Wachs et al., 2016, p. 60f; Scheithauer et al., 2003, p. 121.

So far – mainly empirical quantitative – studies investigated teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about bullying (e.g. Nicolaides, Toda & Smith, 2002; Bauman & Del Rio, 2005; Kochenderfer-Ladd & Pelletier, 2008; Craig, Bell & Leschied, 2011), teachers‘ judgement of (the severity of) bullying situations (e.g. Boulton, 1997; Craig, Henderson & Murphy, 2000; Hazler et al., 2001) or intervention strategies and self-beliefs on the ability to deal with bullying (e.g. Dake et al., 2003; Bauman, Rigby & Hoppa, 2008; Burger et al., 2015; Bilz et al., 2017).

In my doctoral thesis I will use an empirical qualitative approach and I will examine the overall question on the constitutive elements of teachers‘ sensitivity for bullying in two complementing studies. The first study aims to answer, what teachers recognize, if they are confronted with bullying, whereas the second study is based on the research question, how teachers recognize bullying, if they do not directly observe it. For data collection I carry out an online survey based on vignettes and group discussions with Austrian teachers. Due to the theory generating approach I will analyse the obtained data with qualitative content analysis (Mayring, 2015) and a grounded theory oriented coding.

In line with my master’s thesis on the Austrian and Finnish national anti-bullying strategies (Nebenführ, 2017) I furthermore intend to compare the sensitivity for bullying of Austrian and Finnish teachers. Therefore, a research cooperation with Finland is aspired.


Bauman, S. & Del Rio, A. (2005). Knowledge and Beliefs about Bullying in Schools. Comparing Pre-Service Teachers in the United States and the United Kingdom. School Psychology International, 26 (4), 428-442.

Bauman, S., Rigby, K. & Hoppa, K. (2008). US Teachers’ and School Counsellors’ Strategies for Handling School Bullying Incidents. Educational Psychology, 28 (7), 837-856.

Bilz, L., Schubarth, W., Dudziak, I., Fischer, S., Niproschke, S. & Ulbricht, J. (Hrsg.). (2017). Gewalt und Mobbing an Schulen. Wie sich Gewalt und Mobbing entwickelt haben, wie Lehrer intervenieren und welche Kompetenzen sie brauchen. Bad Heilbrunn: Verlag Julius Klinkhardt.

Boulton, M. J. (1997). Teachers’ views on bullying: Definitions, attitudes and ability to cope. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 67, 223-234.

Burger, C., Strohmeier, D., Spröber, N., Bauman, S. & Rigby, K. (2015). How Teachers Respond to School Bullying: An Examination of Self-Reported Intervention Strategy Use, Moderator effects, and Concurrent Use of Multiple Strategies. Teaching and Teachers Education, 51, 191-202.

Craig, K., Bell, D. & Leschied, A. (2011). Pre-service Teachers’ Knowledge and Attitudes Regarding School-Based Bullying. Canadian Journal of Education, 34 (2), 21-33.

Craig, W. M., Henderson, K. & Murphy, J. G. (2000). Prospective Teachers’ Attitudes Towards Bullying and Victimization. School Psychology International, 21 (1), 5-21.

Dake, J. A., Price, J. H., Telljohann, S. K. & Funk, J. B. (2003). Teacher Perceptions and Practices Regarding School Bullying Prevention. Journal of School Health, 73 (9), 347-355.

Hazler, R. J., Miller, D. L., Carney, J. V. & Green, S. (2001). Adult Recognition of School Bullying Situations. Educational Research, 43 (2), 133-146.

Kochenderfer-Ladd, B. & Pelletier M. E. (2008). Teachers’ views and beliefs about bullying: Influences on classroom management strategies and students’ coping with peer victimization. Journal of School Psychology, 46, 431-453.

Mayring, P. (2015). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Grundlagen und Techniken (12., überarb. Aufl.). Weinheim & Basel: Beltz.

Nebenführ, A. (2017). Bullying als kinderrechteverletzende Praxis – ein Vergleich der österreichischen und finnischen Anti-Bullying-Strategien. Wien: Universität Wien – Masterarbeit.

Nicolaides, S., Toda, Y. & Smith, P. K. (2002). Knowledge and attitudes about school bullying in trainee teachers. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 72, 105-118.

Scheithauer, H., Hayer, T. & Petermann, F. (2003). Bullying unter Schülern. Erscheinungsformen, Risikobedingungen und Interventionskonzepte (Bd. 8 der Reihe Klinische Kinderpsychologie hrsg. von F. Petermann). Göttingen, Bern, Toronto & Seattle: Hogrefe.

Wachs, S., Hess, M., Scheithauer, H. & Schubarth, W. (2016). Mobbing an Schulen. Erkennen – Handeln – Vorbeugen (aus der Reihe Brennpunkt Schule hrsg. von N. Grewe, H. Scheithauer & W. Schubarth). Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.