05 SES 04, Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
The main aim of this study is to consider the extent to which a social pedagogy perspective is evident in the views of bullying held by a sample of university students in England, Greece and Norway, who are studying in the area of the education, care and welfare of children.
To address this aim a questionnaire was designed to identify how university students position themselves regarding bullying in schools, and specifically whether their views reflect a social pedagogy stance regarding particular issues (such as, for example, whether a serious and persistent bully is capable of being helped to reform, and whether passive bystanders can be encouraged to intervene positively). There are four research questions that this study is designed to address.
- What views do students hold regarding bullying in schools?
- More specifically, how do the students view the bully and bystanders?
- Do the views expressed reflect a social pedagogy stance towards bullying?
- Are there differences in the views expressed between the three national settings for the study?
Bullying in schools is still widespread throughout Europe, despite a number of major anti-bullying initiatives that have taken place (Thompson and Smith, 2013). Research on bullying in schools (e.g. Farrington and Ttofi, 2009; Lines, 2008; Rigby, 2012) has provided a secure evidence base concerning our understanding of the nature of bullying, the factors which give rise to bullying, the processes which underpin the likelihood of becoming a bully or a victim, and the aspects of the school setting which can serve to sustain or reduce bullying.
The three co-researchers have a common interest in whether a social pedagogy approach can help ‘turn around a serious and persistent bully’ and ‘encourage bystanders to intervene positively’. The co-researchers have conducted research and written extensively on both social pedagogy (Kyriacou 2013; Mylonakou-Keke, 2013; Stephens, 2013) and bullying (Kyriacou, 2003; Mylonakou-Keke, 2003; Stephens, 2011). The co-researchers are based in England, Greece and Norway, which thereby enables the research to include a comparative aspect, which can take account of cultural differences and the educational policy and practice context of the three respective National settings for the research.
In essence social pedagogy can be defined, in the context of this study, as an enduring relationship between the child and a social pedagogue designed to foster the welfare, care, education, and socialisation of the child in a range of settings, which includes working with individual children on a one-to-one basis and with groups of children in a school or out-of-school setting to promote children’s emotional and social education.
Although much has been written about the practice of social pedagogy in Europe in addressing the needs of vulnerable and troubled pupils (Cameron and Moss, 2011; Kornbeck and Jensen, 2009, 2011), no research appears to have been reported on how social pedagogy can provide a support process targeted at helping a serious and persistent bully to reform, and passive bystanders to intervene positively, despite the fact that certain elements of mentoring schemes for vulnerable and troubled pupils, such as the adoption of a non-judgemental, befriending and empowering stance, would suggest that a bully could benefit from such an approach and that passive bystanders can be encouraged to intervene in support of a victim (Dolan and Brady, 2012; Hutchinson, 2012; Lund et al., 2012; Myers and Cowie, 2013).
This study is the first part of a long-term research project aimed to develop and evaluate the use of a social pedagogy approach to reducing bullying in schools, and draws on theoretical writings within social pedagogy (Mylonakou-Keke, 2013; Stephens, 2013) and within bullying (Rigby, 2102; Thompson and Smith, 2013).
Berridge, D., Biehal, N., Lutman, E., Henry, L., & Palomares, M. (2011). Raising the bar? Evaluation of the social pedagogy pilot programme in residential children's homes (Department for Education Research Report, DFE-RR148). London: Department for Education. Cameron, C., & Moss, P. (Eds.). (2011). Social pedagogy and working with children and young people: Where care and education meet. London: Jessica Kingsley. Dolan, P., & Brady, B. (2012). A guide to youth mentoring: Providing effective social support. London: Jessica Kingsley. Farrington, D. P., & Ttofi, M. M. (2009). School-based programs to reduce bullying and victimisation. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 2009:6. Hutchinson, M. (2012). Exploring the impact of bullying on young bystanders. Educational Psychology in Practice, 28(4), 425-442. Kornbeck, J., & Jensen, N. R. (Eds.). (2009). The diversity of social pedagogy in Europe. Bremen: Europäischer Hochschulverlag. Kornbeck, J. & Jensen, N. R. (Eds.). (2011). Social pedagogy for the entire lifespan: Volume 1. Bremen: Europäischer Hochschulverlag. Kyriacou, C. (2003). Helping troubled pupils. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes. Kyriacou, C. (2013). Social pedagogy and the mentoring of troubled pupils. European Journal of Social Education, no. 24/25, 78-85. Lines, D. (2008). The bullies: Understanding bullies and bullying. London: Jessica Kingsley. Lund, E. M., Blake, J. J., Ewing, H. K., & Banks, C. S. (2012). School counselors’ and school psychologists’ bullying prevention and intervention strategies: A look into real-world practices. Journal of School Violence, 11(3), 246-265. Myers, C-A., & Cowie, H. (2013). University students’ views on bullying from the perspective of different participant roles. Pastoral Care in Education, 31(3). 251-267. Mylonakou-Keke, I. (2003). Issues of social pedagogy. Athens: Atrapos. [in Greek]. Mylonakou-Keke, I. (2013). Social pedagogy: Theoretical, epistemological and methodological dimensions. Athens: Diadrasis. [in Greek]. Rigby, K. (2012). Bullying interventions in schools: Six basic approaches. Chichester: Blackwell-Wiley Stephens, P. (2011). Preventing and confronting school bullying: A comparative study of two national programmes in Norway. British Educational Research Journal, 37(3), 381-400. Stephens, P. (2013). Social pedagogy: Heart and head. Bremen: EHV. Thompson, F., & Smith, P.K. (2013). Bullying in schools. In N. Purdy (Ed.), Pastoral care 11-16: A critical introduction (pp. 64-95). London: Bloomsbury.
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