Bullying: Interview with Tomas Jungert, Ph.D.


In a study from Lund University, Sweden, Dr. Tomas Jungert has shown that warm and caring student-teacher relationships can be linked to students' motivation to intervene in cases of bullying.

The results from Tomas Jungert’s study showed a connection between warm student-teacher relationships and the internal motivation of students to defend victims of bullying.

“It could be a relationship where the teacher tries to be empathetic and get along with the student, rather than to issue threats of punishment”, says Tomas Jungert.

There was, on the other hand, a link between conflicted teacher-student relationships and the students’ external motivation to help victims of bullying but, as it turns out, it is the internal, not the external, motivation that becomes significant in the defence of bullied students. Students driven by an external motivation, on the contrary, are more inclined to remain passive bystanders or even side with the bully when witnessing an act of bullying.

“Those who are driven by external motivation want to receive praise and perhaps increase their status within the group. In a situation of victimisation found in many schools, it is very plausible to assume that many students find it less risky and more profitable to associate with the bully, which is often a person with a lot of power”, says Tomas Jungert.
— Lund University

We had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Jungert about the study and it's possible implications for educators. We believe in developing positive relationships with our students and encouraging internal motivation in them, and we think you'll enjoy hearing about research that supports how important this is!

We also had the chance to talk to Maria Mottaghian and Aimee Brown from the Oregon Child Development Coalition about helping migrant students. You won't want to miss hearing their experiences and advice. You can find it on our main blog.

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