The geographies of bullying within a school : a qualitative study of children's experiences.
This is a qualitative study of children’s understanding and experiences of bullying in one coeducational high school in KwaZulu-Natal. The study sought to get an insight into the problem of bullying by investigating the lived experiences of children within the school context. The aim of the study was to unveil the forms of bullying that children experience and the contributory factors thereof; as well as strategies for the alleviation of bullying in the school context. The study adopted a qualitative case study design and semi-structured interviews as a method of data collection which took the form of focus group and individual interviews. A total of six children, five boys and one girl participated in the study. The findings suggest that there was a high incidence of bullying at the school. Bullying took the form of physical harm, including kicking and hitting, and emotional harm, which included name calling and cyber bullying. Some school spaces, peer pressure, media and dominant discourses of bullying were found to be some of the factors that contributed to bullying behaviour in this school. The findings indicate that boys are mostly the victims of bulling. The resultant unequal gendered power relations seem to play a major role in the perpetuation of the cycle of bullying at the school. The study found that teachers were also the perpetrators of bullying in some way or another. Additionally, teachers seem to accept bullying as normal children’s behavior, and take no remedial actions to stop such abuses. The study offers suggestions that relevant stakeholders could employ to address bullying at schools. These include the supplementing of the teacher education curriculum, provision of training on how to deal with bullying, the launch of a campaign to bring about greater awareness of this phenomenon at schools and in the communities, encouragement of parental involvement, the eliciting of professional support and the setting up of structures for child peer support.