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On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.77 n.1 Pretoria  2012




Bullying in schools - The educator's role


Afknouery in skole - Die opvoeder se rol



Elza VenterI; Elize C. du PlessisII

IDepartment of Psychology of Education, College of Education, University of South Africa, South Africa
IIDepartment of Curriculum and Instructional Studies, College of Education, University of South Africa, South Africa





Worldwide there is a problem with violent incidents occurring amongst learners in schools. Bullying is one mode of violence that often occurs at school level. Bullying means repeatedly attacking a person psychologically, physically and/or emotionally in order to inflict harm. Bullying behaviour cannot be ignored, because the victims often report physical and mental health problems caused by the abuse they suffered. The future of the bully is also at stake, because such a person can turn into an abuser in his or her adult years. This research focused on the challenges for teachers in the school system to handle bullying behaviour. The specific aims of the study were to research the role of school policies and ethos, as well as the teacher's role, in dealing with bullying. The researchers investigated the problem by using social identity theory as theoretical framework and Christianity as worldview. The researchers mainly used a qualitative research design. Data for this study were collected by means of a literature study and questionnaires with closed questions as well as open-ended questions about teachers' experiences regarding bullying. The main emphasis was on the feedback on the open-ended questions. It became clear from the research that schools should adopt an anti-bullying policy. Teachers should give more attention to classroom rules and they should become skilled in dealing with bullying. Recommendations were made concerning the role of teachers as well as the place of school ethos and policies when the above-mentioned behavioural problem needs to be managed.


Wêreldwyd is daar 'n probleem met insidente van geweld wat tussen leerders in skole plaasvind. Afknouery is een wyse van gewelduitoefening wat op skoolvlak plaasvind. Afknouery beteken om 'n persoon herhaaldelik sielkundig, fisies en/of emosioneel skade aan te doen. Afknougedrag kan nie geïgnoreer word nie, omdat die slagoffers dikwels fisiese- en geestesgesondheidsprobleme kry as gevolg van die mishandeling. Die toekoms van die afknouer is ook ter sprake, aangesien so 'n persoon kan ontwikkel in 'n mishandelaar in sy of haar volwasse jare. Die navorsing wat gedoen is, het gefokus op die uitdagings vir onderwysers in die skoolsisteem om afknouery te hanteer. Die spesifieke doelwitte van die studie was om navorsing te doen oor skoolbeleid en etos, sowel as die rol van onderwysers in die hantering van afknouery. Die navorsers het die probleem vanuit 'n sosiale identiteitsteorie as teoretiese raamwerk benader, asook vanuit 'n Christelike werklikheidsbeskouing. Die navorsers het hoofsaaklik 'n kwalitatiewe navorsingsmetode gebruik. Data vir hierdie studie is ingesamel deur middel van 'n literatuurstudie en vraelyste met geslote vrae en oop einde-vrae oor die onderwysers se ervarings rakende afknouery. Die klem het geval op die response op die oopeinde vrae. Dit het duidelik uit die navorsing na vore gekom dat skole 'n teen-afknouerybeleid in plek behoort te stel. Onderwysers moet meer aandag skenk aan klaskamerreëls en hulle behoort vaardighede te ontwikkel om afknouery te hanteer. Aanbevelings is gemaak oor die rol van onderwysers asook oor die hulp van skooletos en beleide om genoemde gedragsprobleme te hanteer.



Full text available only in PDF format.



Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors' contribution

E.V. (University of South Africa) did this research in her research and development leave and contributed especially to the literature review. E.D.P. (University of South Africa) played a major role in collecting the data, but also contributed to the literature review.



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Elza Venter
PO Box 392
University of South Africa 0003
South Africa

Received: 05 July 2011
Accepted: 11 Apr. 2012
Published: 06 Dec. 2012

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