Book Reviews / Educators, 28 Mar 22
Review by Teri McMullan, Year 11 Dean and Teacher
The teacher’s guide to resolving school bullying
Nassem, Elizabeth. (2019). Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
This practical book helps teachers better understand the causes of bullying, and provides them with the tools to develop pupil-led anti-bullying campaigns.

The Teacher’s Guide to Resolving School Bullying addresses the issue of school bullying through an evidence-based and strategic perspective. In this regard, Dr Nassem’s book is nothing new. However, the approach she takes is what makes this an effective guide. 

The research is thorough and well-cited, including a detailed bibliography. It addresses issues of bullying in the classroom and the playground, giving detailed and evidence-based approaches for supporting those harmed by and those who engage in bullying, and to solve issues and support better outcomes in schools. The strategies Dr Nassem presents to the reader are wide ranging and thoroughly informed by research. The detailed approach, exploring complex issues in proactive ways, are valuable. For beginning teachers and administrators alike, the approaches detailed here are presented in a way that ensures that they will be easily implemented in schools.  

Dr Nassem acknowledges the complex issues behind bullying and thoroughly explores these in this guide. The inclusion of student voice throughout emphasises the responsibility of schools to be aware of and take proactive action towards resolving school bullying. She doesn’t only focus on the complex socio-political factors that lead to bullying behaviours, but also on the implicit and explicit biases of educators. This reinforces our need to challenge thoughts and behaviours in ourselves. It is not enough to simply present these issues, however, as is the case with many similar texts. Dr Nassem does not leave the reader wanting in terms of practical, detailed solutions. The applicability of her guide is what sets itself apart from other similar texts. 

One significant theme in The Teacher’s Guide to Resolving School Bullying is the  workplace bullying among staff. This is a much-reported issue in education and one that similar texts often gloss over or ignore entirely. Dr Nassem recognises that “if we want to encourage staff to consistently interact respectfully with pupils, then they should also be treated respectfully by colleagues and senior managers” (p.96). This is a refreshing approach and reflective of the comprehensive nature of her research. 

Although one book alone will not solve the multi-faceted issue of bullying, The Teacher’s Guide to Resolving School Bullying is a worthwhile read. It is a must-read for all in education who wish to create safer spaces for our tamariki.

Disclaimer: Please note these reviews are not intended as endorsements or recommendations from the Mental Health Foundation. This feature introduces resources that may be useful for individuals with an interest in bullying prevention, mental health and wellbeing topics.

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