Teasing in Schools: What Teachers have to Say

By Debra Harwood and Sarah Copfer.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Teasing appears to have a significant impact on school culture. However, little agreement exists on the definition of teasing and how to differentiate the behaviour from other forms of social interaction (e.g., bullying). And given the ambiguous nature of teasing, it is not surprising that teachers may find it challenging to discern between children’s teasing behaviors and other forms of social interactions (e.g., bullying) (Mooney, Creeser, & Blatchford, 1991). Significantly, minimal research attention has focused on teachers’ perceptions of teasing (Newman & Murray, 2005; Smith et al., 2010). This qualitative research project sought the perceptions of five experienced teachers who shared their personal experiences and history of childhood teasing as well as their insights of teasing while working within a religious-based school culture (additionally 111 elementary age children also participated in this study). One goal of the research was to examine the potential influence of teachers’ histories with teasing, and the potential impacts of perceptions and beliefs on pedagogy. Additionally, as the research was conducted within a spiritual/religious based schooling system, the study also sought an understanding of the ways in which teachers’ pedagogical decisions are affected by a religious based curriculum when addressing teasing in the classroom.

Keywords: Teasing, Perceptions, Young Children, Teachers

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.75-92. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.323MB).

Dr. Debra Harwood

Assistant Professor, Department of Graduate & Undergraduate Studies, Faculty of Education, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

I am currently engaged in research and teaching related to early childhood education. I have been focusing my attention on research related to children and teachers perceptions of teasing within their real world contexts. My interest is related to providing ethical research spaces for participants to share their experiences and develop understanding of the social-emotional aspects of learning and development in the early years. In addition, I am a member of the Student Success Research Consortium of the Six Nations Aboriginal community. One goal of this SSHRC funded participatory action research project is the reclaiming of traditional knowledge around parenting and the education of children in order to facilitate the development of stronger positive relationships both within families and the education system.

Sarah Copfer

Research Assistant, Graduate & Undergraduate, Brock University, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Sarah is a recent graduate of the Masters program in Education from Brock University. Sarah looks forward to continuing her studies in a Doctoral program in the fall of 2011.


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