Understanding pre-service teachers’ capacity to prevent and manage student bullying behaviours is critical for ensuring a smooth transition into early career teaching and the success of schools’ anti-bullying initiatives. This exploratory study investigated 234 pre-service teachers’ knowledge, attitudes, perception of skills, personal experience of bullying and current undergraduate learnings in relation to bullying behaviours in schools.
Most undergraduate pre-service teachers could identify bullying behaviours, however many reported they felt their undergraduate degree had not prepared them well enough to deal with bullying behaviours. As a consequence they felt they lacked the skills to prevent and respond effectively to incidents of bullying, specifically in covert and cyberbullying behaviours. Pre-service teachers wanted to better understand the complexities of the behaviour and be exposed to curriculum learning resources.
The lack of skills in managing future bullying and particularly cyberbullying incidents reported by pre-service teachers within this current study is not surprising, but has social and emotional implications for young people who turn to their teachers for support.