01 SES 05 B, Issues around Professional Roles
The research on which this paper is based explores teachers’ experiences of workplace bullying. The data collected, our analysis and findings include the perspectives of senior managers in schools, and teachers’ trade union representatives, who have to deal with teacher bullying.We recognise that teachers’ personal and professional lives are complex, overlain by many different influences (including race, gender, age and experience), while at the same time seeking to present the reality of bullied teachers experiences through a series of evidence-based annonymised narratives (vignettes).
The bullying of teachers is widespread (e.g.Australia,Djurkovic, McCormack & Casimir, 2008; Croatia, Russo et al, 2008; Ireland, INTO, 2000; New Zealand, Bentley et al, 2009; Turkey, Cemaloglu, 2011; USA: Fox & Stallworth, 2010), and reportedly increasing in its spread and intensity ( New Zealand Times, 2014; The Guardian, 2013; NEA, 2012; NASUWT, 2011).Being bullied at work is stressful (Einarsen, 1999), and its occurrence in schools can have a major effect on schools as organisations. While most education systems and schools across Europe may seek to be harmonious caring environments that support and develop those who work and study in them, there is strong evidence that in some countries and schools (in the UK Higham and Earley, 2013, and more widely across Europe,Pont, Nusche, and Moorman, 2008)that, amongst other things, increasing accountability through inspection, and competition for rank in league tables, creates anxiety and stress amongst teachers and their managers, often resulting in increased sick-leave and high staff turnover (Giga, Hoel and Lewis, 2008).
This paper presents a research informed account ofthe what and why of teacher bullyingin UK (predominantly English) schools, from the perspectives of our teacher respondents themselves, from the perspectives of head teachers and school managers, and from union representatives; and it outlines the impact that the bullying has on the teacher’s personal and professional lives.
There is no standard definition of workplace bullying (which is termed mobbing in Scandinavia and Germany;Einarsen et al, 2011). Harassment and victimization are also terms that are used, but bullyingis commonly used in theUKandAustralia. While many definitions of workplace bullying can be found in the literature the general consensus is that bullying (Einarsenet al., 2003) includes, frequency, imbalance of power and repeated behaviour. To qualify as bullying, the behaviour must be perceived by the victim as oppressive, unfair, humiliating, undermining, and threatening.While imbalance of power is important, and inmost cases a superior is cited as the bully,bullyingis not limited solely to vertical aggression from supervisors towards subordinates; for example in an NASUWT survey (2011) 20% of teachers named others, including Admin/Support staff and teacher peers as the bully.
The research, conducted during 2012/13, is based on a social constructivist/ social realist perspective (Young, 2008; Moore, 2000), which acknowledges human agency in knowledge production (Durkheim, 1964), while at the same time recognising that patterns and tendencies that stretch beyond unique context dependent individual experiences frequently emerge. This enables the development of improvedunderstanding of the social and educational contexts that significantly shape and frame (but do not determine) our teacher respondents individual experiences of being bullied in their schools.
Bentley, T., Catley, B., Cooper-Thomas, H., Gardner, D., O’Driscoll, M., Trenberth, L. (2009). Understanding Stress and Bullying in New Zealand Workplaces (Final report). Cemaloglu, N. (2011). Primary principals’ leadership styles, school organizational health and workplace bullying. Journal of Educational Administration 49, 495–512. Djurkovic, McCormack, Casimir, (2008). Workplace bullying and intention to leave: the moderating effect of perceived organisational support. Human Resource Management Journal, 18 (4): 405–422. Durkheim, E. (1964). The Division of Labor in Society, New York: Free Press of Glencoe. Einarsen, S. (1999). The Nature and Causes of Bullying at Work, International Journal of Manpower, 20 (1/2): 16-27. Einarsen,S., Hoel,H., Zapf, D. & Cooper, C.L.(2003) Bullying and Emotional Abuse in the Workplace: International Perspectives in Research and Practice. London:Taylor &Francis. Fox, S., Stallworth, L.E. (2010). The battered apple: An application of stressor-emotion control /support theory to teachers’ experience of violence and bullying. Human Relations 63, 927–954. Giga, S.I., Hoel, H., & Lewis, D. (2008). The Costs of Workplace Bullying, A Dignity at Work Partnership Project Funded Jointly by Unite (Union) and Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (May). Higham, R., & Earley, P. (2013). School Autonomy and Government Control: School Leaders’ Views on a Changing Policy Landscape in England. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 41(6), 701–717. INTO (2000). Staff Relations: A Report on Adult Bullying in Schools. Irish National Teachers’ Organization, Dublin. Moore, R. (2000). For knowledge: tradition, progressivism and progress in education – reconstructing the curriculum debate, Cambridge Journal of Education, 30: 17-36. NASUWT (2011). Teacher capability/competence. A review of the evidence. (Report 11/04049). National Education Association (2012). Bullying of Teachers Pervasive in Many Schools, neaToday, (MAY 16TH; USA) (accessed 13th January, 2015) HTTP://NEATODAY.ORG/2012/05/16/BULLYING-OF-TEACHERS-PERVASIVE-IN-MANY-SCHOOLS-2/ New Zealand Times (2014). A Third of Teachers Report Being Bullied, (Nov 21st) (accessed 13th January, 2015) http://www.nltimes.nl/2014/11/21/third-teachers-report-bullied/ Pont, B., Moorman, H., Nusche, D., (2008). Improving school leadership, Volume 1. OECD, Paris. Russo, A., Milić, R., Knežević, B., Mulić, R., Mustajbegović, J., 2008. Harassment in Workplace Among School Teachers: Development of Survey. Croatian Medical Journal 49, 545–552. The Guardian (2013) Secret Teacher: a culture of bullying in education drove me to overdose. ( accessed 13th January, 2015) http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/jun/08/bullying-education-overdose-secret-teacher Young, M. F. D. (2008). Bringing Knowledge Back In: From social constructivism to social realism in the sociology of education, London: Routledge.
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