empathy, bullying, schools, teachers
Much research on bullying behaviour in schools among students has been carried out since the 1970’s, when Olweus started a large-scale project in Norway which is now generally regarded as the first scientific study on bullying. Yet, there has been little research on how teachers respond to reports of bullying and tackle bullying behaviour in post-primary schools. This paper reports on a preliminary study investigating teacher empathy levels and their preparedness for tackling bullying in a post-primary school in Ireland. There were two research questions central to this research. The first looked at how empathic are teachers in this school? The second examined to what extent it prepares them for tackling bullying? In answering these questions we relied on the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) to gather data on empathy levels among teachers (n=10), with findings related to existing research in the field. The results showed that teacher empathy is an important factor in creating and maintaining a positive school climate, which in turn leads to a prevention of bullying situations.