Date of Award
The present study focuses on pre-service teacher perspectives of bullying in schools, specifically on the prevalence, characteristics, and interventions of bullying by middle school girls. Participants in the Teacher Education Program of Southern Illinois University Carbondale completed a questionnaire that asked them to estimate the prevalence of bullying by girls compared to that of boys and to identify the specific behaviors that characterize bullying by girls. They described their obligations to address bullying in school and provided identification and intervention strategies. The results show that female pre-service teachers overwhelmingly report that bullying by girls is more common or considered crueler. Male pre-service teachers are less comfortable in their ability to identify and take action against bullying involving girls, though they have accurate explanations as to bullying behavior characteristics. Conclusions drawn from the present study suggest that pre-service teachers feel an obligation to the students to stop and prevent bullying; however, they are less familiar with proactive strategies to address it and rely heavily on reactive identification techniques. Future research should address the effectiveness of mandating bullying awareness campaigns for pre-service teachers in terms of learning strategies and feeling competent, as well as research on the success of intervention programs in schools to address the relational aggression that girl bullies use.