The nature of bullying at a semi-rural school in KwaZulu- Natal : learners and educators perspectives.
The aim of the study was to investigate the learners' and educators' perspectives of the nature and incidence of bullying in a semi-rural school in KwaZulu-Natal. In this study, a self-report questionnaire and a semi-structured interview schedule were used to elicit data on learners' and educators' perspectives of bullying in this particular context. A sample of 184 grade 7 learners (99 boys and 85 girls) and 13 educators (6 males and 7 females) were used. The grade 7 learners and educators completed self-report questionnaires. The data obtained was analysed through the use of frequencies and percentages. A qualitative understanding of this phenomenon was obtained through the semi-structured interviews conducted with the grade 7 educators (3 males and 2 females). The findings confirm that bullying is a problem at the school. It was also evident that bullying is manifested differently for both boys and girls. The study revealed that boys engage in physical form of bullying (hitting and kicking) and girls in more verbal form of bullying (name calling and spreading rumours). The playground and the toilets were identified as the most common location for the occurrence of bullying incidents. Although most learners reported being victims of bullying incidents in the school, very few chose to talk to educators about it. Although bullying is addressed by the educators as and when it occurs, the seriousness of the problem is overlooked. The findings suggest that until, the problem of bullying is recognized, by all stakeholders of the school community, the incidence of bullying will continue to increase. Appropriate strategies must be put into place so that the incidence of bullying is curbed to ensure a safe and secure environment in which effective teaching and learning can take place.