Original Articles

South African Educators' Understanding of Bullying

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 23, issue 2, 2013 , pages: 339–343
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2013.10820633
Author(s): Corene de WetUniversity of the Free State, South Africa, Lynette JacobsUniversity of the Free State, South Africa


This study examined educators' understanding of learner-on-learner school bullying. Participants were 91 educators from the Free State Province, South Africa (females = 65.9%, primary/elementary school teaching = 46.1%). Data on bullying was collected by means of questionnaires in which a number of open-ended questions were asked. The data were thematically analyzed using Van Dijk's (1988) analytical framework for Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). The educators characterized school bullying to involve physical violence, the vilification of the bully as an unsavoury character, judgemental portrayal of the victims of bullying and otherness attributions. Through these discourses educators are distancing themselves from the problem, suggesting that bullying is an individual rather than a societal problem; and also that the solution to bullying reside within the bullies and the victims.

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