Professional learning

Staff training builds the capacity of school staff by developing knowledge, skills and strategies to prevent and respond to bullying.

Research identifies that providing support and professional development for school staff is an essential component of effective anti-bullying strategies. For example, in researching the effectiveness of anti-bullying approaches, Ttofi and Farrington (2011) found teacher training to be significantly associated with a decrease in bullying. Similarly, a study of 136 high school teachers in Finland demonstrated that trained teachers reported that their handling of bullying was significantly more effective than untrained teachers (Sairanen & Pfeffer 2011).

Schools should look for opportunities to extend professional learning to include casual, specialist, non-teaching, preservice and visiting staff to increase knowledge of bullying and the capacity of school staff to apply evidence-based bullying interventions (Rigby and Johnson 2016).

School leaders should assess current levels of staff knowledge and understanding regarding bullying (including online bullying). They should also assess the capacity of staff members to recognise bullying behaviour and respond effectively and consistently.

Schools should also provide opportunities for specific, ongoing training about emerging themes in anti-bullying research and how to use evidence-based approaches that address school needs.

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