Purdy, N. (2015) Disablist Bullying: giving a voice to student teachers

Disablist bullying in schools: giving a voice to student teachers

Journal Article


This paper reports in detail on the qualitative findings from a study which aimed to critically examine the experiences and confidence of student teachers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in relation to disablist bullying. This paper focuses in particular on the voice of student teachers from six focus group interviews (n = 29) carried out among final year teacher education students in both jurisdictions. Students were asked about their experiences of dealing with bullying incidents during school placement, and in particular incidents involving children with special educational needs and disabilities. The study highlights the lack of preparation of the student teachers as a result of the absence of any focus on disablist bullying in initial teacher education courses, and a subsequent lack of confidence in dealing with such incidents which were found to be often challenging and complex. Students reported that they often resorted to ad hoc, instinct‐led responses or overlooked incidents entirely, with few basing their responses on prior learning in initial teacher education. Implications are discussed and a policy and practice update is provided since the completion of the study in 2011.

Output Information

Purdy, N. and Mc Guckin, C. (2015), Disablist bullying in schools: giving a voice to student teachers. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 15: 202-210. doi:10.1111/1471-3802.12110

Published Output URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-3802.12110

Published: 27/07/2015