Date of Graduation

8-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Timothy A. Cavell

Committee Member

Ana J. Bridges

Second Committee Member

Ellen Leen-Feldner

Keywords

Children, Competencies, Peer Victimization, School Bullying, Teachers, Training

Abstract

The current study aimed to develop a competency-based framework designed to assist elementary school teachers in their efforts to help bullied children. Drawing from extant research, Gregus and Cavell (2017) created an initial draft of the framework that contained 25 components representing a mix of knowledge, attitudes, and skills. In Study 1, I obtained input on the framework from practicing elementary school teachers (n = 26) and researchers who study school bullying (n = 14). Teacher input was gathered via a series of focus groups and researchers responded using an online survey. Both teachers and researchers viewed the framework positively and agreed it offers a potentially useful guide for practicing teachers. Thematic analysis of focus group content revealed themes related to knowledge and training about school bullying, beliefs about school bullying, strategies to help bullied children, and challenges teachers face in trying to help bullied children. In Study 2, I asked elementary school teachers (n = 115) to rate the utility and practicality of the competencies as well as their own level of competence in four domains: knowledge, attitudes, foundational skills, and focused skills. Teachers viewed the competencies as essential and realistic. Teachers’ self-ratings of knowledge, attitudes, and skills suggested a reasonably high level of perceived competence. Teachers with higher scores on a measure of self-efficacy in managing school bullying reported higher levels of knowledge, stronger anti-bullying attitudes, and more frequent use of foundational and focused skills. Teachers with more anti-bullying training reported stronger anti-bullying attitudes and more frequent use of focused skills. Teachers with stronger levels of school connectedness reported greater knowledge about bullying. I discuss implications of these findings and the potential for using the framework as a foundation for teacher training and evaluation.

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