Study Finds Teachers Are Also Victims of Bullying


Many in the teaching profession won't be surprised, but new research has revealed that teachers are often bullied from above.

In a national online survey into staff bullying in Australian schools, conducted jointly by the Australian Catholic University (ACU National) and the University of New England, it has been revealed that teachers were the most common victims, and school executive staff or principals were most often the bullies.

The first national online survey which included more than 800 support staff, teachers, executives and principals from both Government and non-Government primary and secondary schools around Australia, has revealed a shocking 99.6% of participants have been subjected to some form of bullying in the workplace.

What is more of a concern in some respects is that most of the respondents had more than 21 years teaching experience.

Professor Deirdre Duncan, one of the authors and Adjunct Professor at ACU National says more than 44 kinds of bullying were listed in the survey, with the most common form being the withholding of information which affects performance - this was followed closely by the questioning of decisions, procedures and judgement.

Professor Duncan says a number of the findings from the research are cause for great concern, as along with the high number of staff in Australian schools who suffer bullying, the data also showed that more than 50% of those targeted will have their mental and physical health affected.

The results also indicated that power imbalance is a major factor in bullying, with school executive staff identified as the most persistent bullies, followed by the principal and teachers were identified as the typical victim.

The researchers say in order to reduce the practice of bullying, the existence of staff bullying in its various forms must be recognised and addressed at system and school levels; those in leadership positions should reflect on their behaviour in regards to their relationship with school staff; and a bullying register should be established at schools which is kept by the principal and is open for inspection.

Professor Duncan’s colleagues on the research team were Dr. Dan Riley from the University of New England and statistical analyst John Edwards.


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