08 SES 10 B, Bullying, Aggressive Behaviours and Wellbeing in Schools
Parallel Paper Session
The paper argues the possibilities of predicting the level of aggression of 4th and 8th grade elementary school students with selected school characteristics (school climate, attitudes towards school subjects, frequency of aggressive behavior in the school and students’ achievement) included in TIMSS 2007 study. Selected school characteristics are significantly related to the aggression. Empirical evidence is presented in the theoretical framework of the paper. The objectives of the paper are: to evaluate predictive power of selected school characteristics for the aggression of 4th and 8th grade students; to compare significant predictors for aggression in 4th and in 8th grade; to develop guidelines for aggression reduction on the school level based on the findings.
Aggression is behavior that is intended to or actually causes harm, physical or psychological, and is directed to oneself or others (Flannery, Vazsonyi, & Waldman, 2007). Aggression can influence school work on several levels therefore it is essential for us to establish the school characteristics that can be influenced in order to decrease aggressive behavior. School climate, attitudes towards school subjects, frequency of aggressive behavior in the school and students’ achievement will be used as possible predictors on school level. School climate is a relatively stable aspect of the school environment defined as a set of internal characteristics that distinguish one school from another and influences the behavior of school members (Freiberg. 1999). Aggression is related to negative school climate (Popp, 2003). Aggression is also linked to negative attitudes towards school (Brookmayer, Fanti, & Henrich, 2006; Huesmann, 1994), low attachment to the school (Poulin & Boivin, 2000) and negative attitudes to the learning material and school subjects (Krall, 2003).
One of the school climate characteristics specially related to the aggression is the perceived safety of the school environment (Freiberg, 1999; Reis, Trockel, & Mulhall, 2007). The aggressive behavior in schools is positively related to the level of aggression in individual students (Boxer, Edwards-Leeper, Goldstein, Musher-Erenman, & Dubow, 2003). The positive relation between the aggressive acts in the school and higher aggression is expected in the students that respond aggressively, so called perpetrators, but surprisingly also victims of aggressive acts tend to be more aggressive then the students that are nor perpetrators nor victims. The aggression in victims is related to their higher levels of anger (Wienke-Totura et al, 2009). The reduction of aggressive behavior in schools is necessary as being around aggressive peers is an important predictor for developing aggressive behavior in non-aggressive students as well (Huesmann, 1994).
Since the main focus of a school is to provide and increase students’ knowledge schools focus on a large amount of evidence pertaining to achievement and aggression being negatively correlated (Flannery et al, 2007; Huesmann, 1994; Schwartz, Gorman, Nakamoto, & McKay, 2006). In schools disruptive and aggressive behaviour disrupts the process of learning. Aggressive students have lower learning abilities, lower problem solving skills (Huesmann, 1994) and lower educational achievement (Connor, 2002; Wentzel & Asher, 1995) even when SES is controlled (McEvoy & Welker, 2000).
Brookmeyer, K. A., Fanti, K. A., & Heinrich, G. C. (2006). Schools, parents and youth violence: A multilevel ecological analysis. Journal of Clinical Children and Adolescence Psychology,35, 504-514. Connor, D. F. (2002). Aggression and antisocial behaviour in children and adolescents. reserach and treatment. New York, USA: Guilford press. Flannery, D. J., Vazsonyi A.T., & Waldman, I. D. (2007). The Cambridge handbook of violent behaviour and aggression. Cambridge: Cambridge univesity press. Freiberg, H.J. (Ed). (1999). School climate: Measuring, improving, and sustaining healthy learning environments. Philadelphia: Falmer Press. Huesmann, L. R. (1994). Aggressive behaviour – current perspectives. Plenuim press: New York and London. Krall, H. (2003). Mladina in nasilje: teoretične koncepcije in perspektive pedagoškega ravnanja [Youth and violence: theoretical concepts and pedagogical perspectives]. Sodobna pedagogika, 54 (2), 10-25. Popp, U. (2003). Nasilje v šoli in koncepti njegovega preprečevanja [Violence in school and concept of prevention]. Sodobna pedagogika, 54 (2), 26-41. Schwartz, D. J., Gorman A. H., Nakamoto, J., & McKay, T. (2006). Popularity, social acceptance, and aggression in adolescent peer groups: links with academic performance and school attendance. Developmental psychology, 42 (6), 1116- 1127. McEvoy, A., & Welker,R. (2000). Antisocial behaviour, academic failure, and school climate: a criticfal review. Journal of emotional and behavioural disorders, 8(3), 130-140. Reis, J., Trockel, M., & Mulhall, P. (2007). Individual and school predictors of middle school aggression. Youth & Society,38 (3), 322-347. Wentzel, K. R. & Asher, S. R. (1995). The academic lives of neglected, rejected, popular, and controversial children. Child Development,66, 754–763. Wienke-Totura, C. M., Mackinnon-Lewis, C., Gesten, E. L., Gadd, R., Divine, K. P., Dunham, S., & Kamboukos, D. (2009). Bullying and victimization among boys and girls in middle school–the influence of perceived family and school contexts. Journal of Early Adolescence,29 (4), 571-609.
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