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TheatrEtc (CYPRUS) .................................................................................................................................4
CHAPTER 1: TOWARDS UNDERSTANDING BULLYING ..........................................................................5
The anti-bullying applied theatre actions of TheatrEtc ...................................................................8
CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY .............................................................................................9
Research questions: ...................................................................................................................... 10
Sampling 10
Method of data collection and analysis ........................................................................................ 11
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH RESULTS Remove the Power ....................................................................... 12
Demographics ............................................................................................................................... 13
Students’ answers ......................................................................................................................... 14
Teachers’ views ............................................................................................................................. 18
Parents’ views ............................................................................................................................... 21
Facilitators’ views.......................................................................................................................... 23
Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................... 25
Suggestions to the organisation ................................................................................................... 26
CHAPTER 5: RESEARCH RESULTS CYBER ........................................................................................... 27
Demographics ............................................................................................................................... 27
Students’ views ............................................................................................................................. 28
Teachers’ views ............................................................................................................................. 37
Facilitators’ views.......................................................................................................................... 39
Suggestions to the organisation ................................................................................................... 41
BIBLIOGRAPHY .................................................................................................................................. 42
Center for Drama in Education and Art – CEDEUM (Serbia) ............................................................... 44
INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................. 45
The researching of effects of the project “Togetherness” ............................................................... 50
BIBLIOGRAPHY .................................................................................................................................. 82
ANNEX 1 ............................................................................................................................................ 84
Evaluation of project “Togetherness”, first phase - effects on participants ................................ 84
ANNEX 2 ............................................................................................................................................ 88
Evaluation of project “Togetherness”, second phase - effects on participants ........................... 88
ANNEX 3 ............................................................................................................................................ 95
THE INTERNAL EVLAUATION OF FIRST PHASE OF THE PROJECT................................................... 95
ANNEX 4 ............................................................................................................................................ 97
The internal evaluation of second phase of the project ............................................................... 97
Nyitott Kör (Hungary) ......................................................................................................................... 100
Introduction .................................................................................................................................... 101
About of the analyzed performances ............................................................................................. 104
The Nerd (“Stréber”) ................................................................................................................... 104
"Testképmutogatók” (name of the play in Hungarian, could be literally translated as Body-Image-
Presenters) .................................................................................................................................. 137
Theoretical background .................................................................................................................. 104
Definition of the problem ........................................................................................................... 104
Defining bullying and understanding its nature through the related concepts and researches 105
The interpretational frame of school bullying ............................................................................ 114
Formation of international and national researches through the years, meeting-points of content
and research method .................................................................................................................. 116
Challenges of research methodology ......................................................................................... 121
Programs aiming to decrease and prevent bullying ................................................................... 124
Outlook: cyberbullying ................................................................................................................ 135
Research methodology and structure ............................................................................................ 137
General analyses of questionnaire data ......................................................................................... 143
What happened in certain classes? – Synthesis of quantitative and qualitative data: The Nerd .. 152
Beta High School 1st Performance (The Nerd) ........................................................................... 153
Beta High School 2nd Performance (The Nerd) .......................................................................... 154
Alfa High School (The Nerd) ........................................................................................................ 155
Gamma Vocational School (Nerd)............................................................................................... 155
Beta High School 3rd Performance (The Nerd)........................................................................... 156
Delta Practicing Elementary School and High School 1st performance (The Nerd) ................... 158
Eta Catholic Technical Secondary School, High School and Dormitory (The Nerd) .................... 159
Dzeta Technical Secondary School 1st performance (The Nerd)................................................ 161
Epsilon Technical Secondary School (The Nerd) ......................................................................... 162
Theta High School, Technical Secondary School and Dormitory (The Nerd) .............................. 163
Kappa High School 1st performance (The Nerd) ......................................................................... 165
Kappa High School 2nd performance (The Nerd) ....................................................................... 166
What happened in certain classes? – The synthesis of quantitative and qualitative data............. 168
Sigma Kindergarten, Elementary School, Vocational School, Technical Secondary School and High
School (Body-Image-Presenters) ................................................................................................ 170
Mu Elementary School 2nd Performance (Body-Image-Presenters).......................................... 172
Mu Elementary School 3rd Performance (Body-Image-Presenters) .......................................... 174
Ro High School (Body-Image-Presenters) ................................................................................... 176
Omikron High School (Body-Image-Presenters) ......................................................................... 178
Lambda High School and Vocational School (Body-Image-Presenters) ...................................... 180
Pi High School (Body-Image-Presenters) .................................................................................... 182
Ksi High School and Dormitory (Body-Image-Presenters) .......................................................... 183
Nu Primary School (Body-Image-Presenters) ............................................................................. 185
Summary, Experiences .................................................................................................................... 186
The professional and methodological limits of the research ..................................................... 186
The interpretation of the experiences of the research .............................................................. 187
Bibliography .................................................................................................................................... 200
Closing remarks .................................................................................................................................. 210
“Inclusive, good-quality education is a foundation
for dynamic and equitable societies.”
Desmond Tutu

In our quickly changing and globalizing world we often focus on individual assertiveness, but
we tend to forget about the importance of functional communities and tolerant environments
where one can feel safe and supported. To be more precise, we want to emphasize the relevance
of those in theory, but when it comes to practice, we face many difficulties and lack of tools
and patterns to facilitate young people. In order to create groups that count with the active
participation of all, accepting the diversity of personalities is a key, regardless of physical
appearance, interest, religion, race, economic background and culture.

Our twenty-month long project, beginning in September 2016, addressed the topic of bullying,
with a special focus on youth communities. The project was carried out by four civil society s
from four different European countries. These s work through non-formal education and
drama/theatre methods but have different approaches. We also deal with dissimilar aspects of
the mentioned issue, determined by our geographical, cultural and infrastructural

In the project partnership Cedeum from Belgrade, Serbia; Sigma Art from Bucharest, Romania
and TheatrEtc from Nicosia, Cyprus have participated, while the coordinator was Nyitott Kör
Egyesület (Open Circle Association), from Budapest, Hungary. During the project, we have
managed to see the working environment and practices of each , share the most burning
tendencies of local bullying research, organize a training course for the creation of a common
ground, and gain a deeper understanding about the field of each countries’ applied drama and
theatre practices. The s intended to elaborate their own methodologies to research and assess
their drama activities impact, focusing on bullying and group cohesion. As a result of our
collaboration – after the training we shared – we could all develop a new drama/theatre based
activities for young people, focusing rather on the prevention of bullying, than the intervention

of such phenomena. A new online, Android application was also developed, which we tested as
a tool for educational purposes, in our drama based programmes. This book contains the
results of our Research and the results of the R.U.In? project.1

Looking back at the idea and ambitions of the project, we have to mention that the
interdisciplinary approach and the intrinsic motivation for complexity were the most important
key elements that made these 20 months interesting. Nevertheless, they have led to many
challenges and further questions. Not all of them could be answered and elaborated by our
team, and some of them could have been answered differently by others. We also had to face
practical difficulties, which pushed us to make compromises. We are satisfied if the current
project can generate local and global discussion and polemy about all fields intervening here.
Impact Assessment itself is a quite new and already interdisciplinary area of Research, it
combines quantitative and qualitative methods, needs measurement beforehand and afterwards
the delivered activities, and requires data collection from control groups. We based the theory
of the study on social psychology, pedagogy, sociology and education studies. The methods
and techniques our s are working with are interdisciplinary as well, and through sharing our
practices it became even more diverse. We tried to combine and experiment with: non-formal
educational methods, performative arts, applied drama, Theatre in Education, process drama,
forum theatre and devised theatre. In addition, we wondered how we could use the language of
the generation of the digital age, especially because the virtual form of bullying is more and
more present in young people’s daily life. Therefore we added the implementation of an
Android application to the salad bowl of methods. Each of the partnership made their own
decisions and selected what was best for them to use: as a result, our own programmes and
researches are as diverse as we wish the society to become and enhance.

By the term ‘bullying’ we refer to exclusion, public embarrassment, humiliation, verbal insult,
physical aggression and virtual harassment, taken place repeatedly in a community. We can
also define bullying as a repeated activity, or aggressive behavior intended to hurt another
individual, physically, mentally or emotionally. All of them are connected to violence as a
coping mechanism, demonstrating the power and creating, sustaining or boosting hierarchical
structure in a group.

One of the most important socializing medium we participate in (after the given family context)
is the school community, the classroom. Other important environments for the age group of 6-
18 years olds are the communities they participate in according to their free time activities,
hobbies, and extracurricular performances. Educators, teachers and youth workers leading or
facilitating classes and groups shall be able to identify the phenomena of bullying among the
students. The long-term effects of bullying are numerous and can include sensitivity, anxiety
and depression. Recent statistics suggest that the majority of students will experience bullying
at some point in their academic careers. In the early 21st century, increasing attention has been
given to the importance of teachers, group leaders, educators and parents understanding and
recognizing the signs of bullying (among both bullies and victims), and being equipped with
strategies and tools to address school bullying and deal with it as a community, in or out of the
classroom. Bullies, who never face intervention, can become criminals. The victims of bullying
can develop serious psychopathological problems. But what is the role of the bystanders? Most
students see and perceive bullying as “the third party”, they are not aggressors or victims, but
do contribute to the phenomenon by being passive, by only “not being part of it”. They are part
of it, they are in, we state that their behavior and attitude is the most important when talking
about bullying.

The project - through the innovation of applied drama and theatre methodologies - would like
to facilitate young people to be conscious about the increasing issues of bullying and
cyberbullying, provide effective activities for the prevention and intervention of bullying in
schools and youth groups and support teachers, educators and youth leaders to raise more
awareness about the importance of inclusive and functional communities. We can imagine
many different further approaches and innovations to shape the attitude of young people to
build a more tolerant, sensitive, empathic and balanced society and are looking forward to
debate and discuss about our ways of working on the topic.
Zsófia Jozifek
Project Coordinator of R.U.In? - Drama methods’ innovation for inclusive youth communities
Nyitott Kör Egyesület (Open Circle Association)

“Theatre as a methodology activates personal experiences and behaviours, highlighting the
emotional consequences of bullying. It offers to the students the opportunity to share their
experiences and it reveals new ways of overcoming their problems and all these through the
safe space that an imaginary story provides”
(Teacher’s feedback)

Data collection and coding:

Kyriaki Argyrou

Writting of the report:

Kyriaki Argyrou

Demetris Demetriou

Research coordination/revision:

Christos Charitou

Published by: TheatrEtc under the auspices of Erasmus+


The general definition of Olweus (1993), who researched the problem systematically, states
that ‘a student is being bullied or victimised when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over
time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students’ (Olweus 1993).
Nevertheless, Olweus’ description opens up many debates around the definition of bullying.
Questions emerge: What exactly defines a negative action? Are we talking about power
imbalance when someone is exposed to these behaviours? How many times this act can be
repeated to speak about bullying? To what extent an act, which is not predetermined, can be
considered bullying? Although, bullying definition is an ongoing debate amongst researchers
coming from multiple disciplines, it is generally accepted that it is linked directly with
aggression. Therefore, if we wish to de-escalate bullying then it is important to first detect the
elements that trigger the aggression, which will assist to identify the protagonists and address it
more effectively.

Expanding on aggression, Lines (2008), emphasises that whilst there is a perceptible

assumption that bullying comprises physical violence, covert behaviours that are spiteful and
hurtful such as name-calling or being excluded from a friendship group are not universally
accepted as bullying (Lines 2008). Discussing on the negative effects of covert aggression,
Catanzaro (2011) uses the term ‘relational aggression’ to describe a subtype of bullying, which
is a socially motivated act of ignoring or excluding someone from a group. According to her,
with the development of technology, relational aggression moved from the traditional face-to-
face bullying to another even more serious form, called cyber-bullying (Catanzaro 2011). As
the name suggests, cyber-bullying is linked with advanced digital technology, such as
computers and mobile phones and as King (2009) states, all you need to proceed in this
behaviour is just a digital device and a willingness to terrorise (King in Agatston et al. 2009).

Bjorkqvist (2001), in her research, found that very young children are lacking of social skills,
therefore they use mostly physical aggression. With the development of children’s verbal skills,
the aggression becomes more verbal, while with the development of their social intelligence
they manipulate social relationships to their advantage (Bjorkqvist 2001). Elame (2013) agrees
with the latter and he further links emotional intelligence with the maturity of children beyond
age. As he states, children who are less emotionally mature from their fellow students are at
risk of becoming bullies. Therefore, they develop attitudes that favour bullying without always

being aware of their actions (Elame 2013). The above statement calls for a reconsideration of
the deliberate intent behind the act to cause harm and so while intention is useful to define
bullying, it needs to be further explored.

Further definitions of bullying perceive the act as ‘aggressive behaviour that is intentional and
that involves an imbalance of power or strength’ (Agatston et al. 2009), or as ‘aggressive
behaviour arising from the deliberate intent to cause physical or psychological distress to
others’ (Hickson 2009). What is common to both definitions is the intention behind the
aggression to deliberately cause harm to an individual, something put under discussion
previously. Of high importance here is Agaston et al (2009) argument, which states that, in
bullying cases, the imbalance of power between one or more individuals is always present. The
latter is supported of many sociologists (Hickson 2009; Horton 2011) who are exploring the
social factors that are responsible to generate bullying behaviour. Influenced by Foucault’s
(1984) theory of power relations, Hickson among others, states that bullying can be perceived
as an abusive power, and adds that when children lack power it is easier to bully them (Hickson
2009). As Hemphil et al (2012) identify, there are two forms of power in bullying: the physical
(i.e. stronger, bigger, taller etc.) and the sociological (i.e. the victim belongs to an ethnic
minority). Nevertheless, as he concludes, the difficulty lies on measuring the imbalance of
power that is reflected in each bullying occasion (Hemphil et al 2012).

Another perspective is Lines’ (2008) definition, which sees bullying as ‘continual physical,
psychological, social, verbal or emotional methods of intimidation by an individual or group’
(Lines 2008). Notable here - apart from the fact that the definitions looks beyond just the
physical and consider verbal abuse and isolation as contributors to the bullying phenomenon -
is the continuity and the repetition of the aggressive behaviour. Nevertheless, according to
Elame (2013), there are motives behind bullying that are linked to specific events in particular
periods (i.e. distress in the family due to multiple reasons, poor performance at school etc.).
Usually, as he suggests, those motives are potentially temporary and when they end children
find balance, which reduces their discomfort (Elame 2013). Therefore, some researchers focus
on measuring bullying while putting aside repetition and power imbalance (Hamburger et al.
2011; Hemphil et al 2012), while others who are engaged mostly in constructivist
methodologies, (Duncan 1999; Hickson 2009; Catanzaro 2011) highlight the importance of the
societal powers that take place in the act and their repetitive nature.

Attempting to define bullying raises more questions than initially put. Nevertheless, what
seems important is the way that all the above arguments on bullying definition assist
researchers to design and apply anti-bullying interventions in education in order to tackle it
more effectively. For the current study and the findings that will be presented, we took into
consideration the approach to bullying of the overall Erasmus+ project (R.U.In?), as well as the
Cypriot applied theatre/drama in education actions that were under evaluation (Remove the
Power and CYBER). TheatrEtc, through the implementation of its actions, is exploring the ways
that adults and children identify bullying and cyber-bullying respectively, while offering their
professional view on what is considered bullying according to literature review and the
circulars of the Cypriot Ministry of Education and Culture (MOEC) focusing into four
elements: repetition, predetermination, power imbalance and cause of harm (intentional or not
intentional). Those aforementioned four elements were taken under consideration for the
presentation of the impact of the two actions implemented in Cypriot primary and secondary

Bullying is a worldwide phenomenon that lately started to concern the Cypriot educational
community. According to the research contacted by the Cypriot Observatory on School
Violence (COSV) regarding the school climate and victimisation, “only the 5.1% of primary
school students, who have been victimised report the incident, while the percentage is declining
to 2.5% of secondary school students” (Papadopoulos, Ieridew & Karayianni, 2012).

The above findings let the MOEC to circulate an anti-bullying manual to schools (February
2015, February 2016), in order to offer guidance to schools of building their own policies and
taking drastic measures of addressing the issue more effectively. More specifically, in the
circular, which includes an anti-bullying manual with the title “Preventing, combating and
addressing bullying incidents”, one can find information for all the members of educational
institutions (teachers, parents and students) for preventing bullying phenomenon. Moreover, the
MOEC pushes school staff to design a holistic approach to bullying, activating protocols which
include in many cases other supporting services, organisations and institutions, which are active
in the field of handling violence and bullying.

Furthermore, in 2010 the MOEC moved forward to put together the Direct Intervention Team
(DIT) aiming to address violent and delinquency behaviours in schools and to appoint more
teachers to work in COSV, which aims in supporting schools to develop whole-school policies
against violence and delinquency. Currently, the COSV is coordinating the National Strategic
Action Plan after the approval of all the Cypriot Ministries, in which approaches to bullying are
of high importance.

In relation to bullying, the MOEC has developed collaboration with the Service of Educational
Psychology (SEP). The latter had as a result the creation and implementation of the European
Programme DAPHNE ΙΙ “Needs’ assessment and raising awareness on bullying between
students in schools”. The findings of the research that took place after the implementation of
the programme DAPHNE II, illustrate that the number of the bullied children was reduced,
while bullying has become more recognisable between students and teachers (Sismani-
Papacosta, Paradeisioti & Lazarou 2014).

All the above-mentioned services, together with the MOEC, in the context of fighting bullying
in Cypriot schools, support and promote educational actions (programmes and interventions)
that are designed to tackle every aspect of bullying. It is of high importance that for the first
time the MOEC invests in holistic and interdisciplinary approaches, providing the opportunity
to organisations and informal groups to offer their expertise in dealing with bullying more
effectively. The NGO TheatrEtc, has invested greatly into the designing and application of
applied theatre programmes, interventions, as well as independent workshops that are
addressed to children, adolescents, teachers, facilitators, parents and generally to people who
are interested and are involved with bullying. The two most important applied theater actions of
the NGO are described bellow:

The anti-bullying programme Remove the Power is based on the research proposal
implemented in a primary school in Nicosia district Cyprus, on June 2010, after the approval of
the Centre of Educational Research and Evaluation (CERE) and the MOEC. The programme
had begun its implementation officially on June 2011, having the approval of the MOEC, the
SEP, the DIT and the Commissioner of Children’s Rights in Cyprus Ms Lyda Koursoumpa.

Focus of Remove the Power is the implementation of a series of structured workshops with
theatre/drama activities that offer stimulus to students for raising awareness and fostering
empathy around bullying, as well as building on their creativity and self-expression. At the
final day, a performance/presentation is devised from the participants/students to present to

their parents and the students and teachers of the rest of the school.

The programme is addressed to students of grades 3, 4, 5 and 6 of primary schools, who

participate in a two-period workshop (2X40minutes), every day for 6 days. The maximum
number of students of each group is 25.

The intervention CYBER was designed and applied in the context of the European programme
Erasmus+ R.U.IN? - Drama methods' innovation for inclusive youth communities, in which the
NGO TheatrEtc was a partner with organisations from Hungary (coordinators), Serbia and

Focus of CYBER is raising awareness to secondary school students, around cyber-bullying, in

order to recognise the phenomenon and be informed about possible ways of preventing and
dealing with it in their everyday lives. Moreover, through interaction and role-playing, the
students are called to develop critical thinking on “Who is to blame when cyber-bullying is
taking place?” as well as the extent of their responsibility as bystanders.

The intervention is addressed to students of secondary schools aged 13-15, who participate in a
one-off two-period workshop (2X45minutes). The maximum number of students of each group
is 25.

For the current research the Evaluation methodological approach in combination with mixed
research methodology was used for collecting both quantitative and qualitative data. According
to Robson (2011), the focus of an Evaluation Research is to assess the effectiveness of
something –in this case the two applied theatre/drama actions- offering the flexibility to use
multi-strategy designs (Robson 2011). Therefore, the Evaluation for the specific study was
divided into two phases: A) Evaluation and impact assessment of the programme Remove the
Power and Β) piloting and impact assessment of the intervention CYBER.

The rationale behind the process was the collection of data from the programme Remove the
Power, of which the analysis would assist in the creation of a new action. The hypothesis was
that the findings could give insights and assist in taking decisions on a new theatre tool that
could potentially be used to specific ages of students in order to address their needs, as well as
pointing out a bullying topic that is more relevant to the specific age group.

In order to measure the impact on knowledge and attitudes of the students, the three types of
evaluation were taken into consideration: a) diagnostic, b) formative and c) summative,
(Cronbach 2000) as well as the collection of the opinion of all the implicated parties: a)
students, b) teachers and c) facilitators. The form of the programme Remove the Power assisted
in the collection of the views of parents, who were invited on the last day of the programme to
watch their children’s performance, something that did not take place on CYBER intervention
due to the form that it has.

For the validity and the credibility of the research a proposal was prepared and submitted to
CERE in order to pass from ethical approval. The same process took place for both actions,
which were approved by the Directors of Primary and Secondary Education respectively, with
the condition for the parents to consent for their children’s participation in the action and the
collection of data.

1. What is the impact on students’ knowledge and attitudes around bullying and cyber-bullying
during the actions?

2. What is the impact on students’ attitudes on their personal responsibility in bullying cases?

3. What is the impact of each applied theatre action in bullying prevention according to
teachers, parents and facilitators?

The research followed the non-probability sampling method and the voluntary sampling for
evaluating both actions. Nevertheless, since the importance was in collecting enough and
representative sample the following parameters were taken into consideration: a) the
availability of the required number of members of the population to establish a sufficient
sample and b) the willingness of the members of the sample to participate in the research
(Schreuder, Gregoire & Weyer 2001). Especially for the implementation of this kind of actions,
the teachers needed to offer valuable teaching time and therefore, the choice of the sample was
according to their availability and willingness to participate.

For the current research the sampling was not based on random selection but to the respective
interest of teachers to implement the actions in their schools. Therefore, we cannot be certain –
according to the theory of probabilities (Klir 2005)- that the sample collected has the same
characteristics as the general population- that said being representative. For the latter reason,
the sample that is collected with this method is considered subjective. The results of collecting
a subjective sample are the reduction of the research credibility and the limitation in
generalising the findings. Nevertheless, the usage of the specific sampling for the current
research was important for practical reasons in relation to the exploration of the bullying
phenomenon and the impact of the actions applied. To limit the issue of credibility, the
researchers have used the technique of heterogeneity (Bryman 2015), wishing to collect a
sample containing a wide range of prices (i.e. age and gender of students, districts, rural and
urban schools, etc.)

For better preparing the schools to welcome the actions into their establishments, the
coordinators of both actions sent preparation steps, in order to be sent back information of the
students’ profile and numbers, the contact details of the classrooms’ teachers and the daily
programme. Furthermore, each coordinator sent to each school the parents’ informed consent
form, which the head-teachers had to forward it to the parents and collect it prior the
facilitators’ arrival at the school. Lastly, the initial students’ questionnaires were sent and the
teachers’ evaluation form, together with other documents that were needed for each individual
action (i.e. parents’ invitation at the performance/presentation, approval of the action from
MOEC, etc.).

Each classroom’s teacher had also a separated meeting with the facilitators at the beginning of
the action, in which he/she was informed on the aims of each action separately and his/her
involvement in the process.

The research instruments that were given to both actions have similarities for the coherency of
the research. Nevertheless, there are nuances that respond to the differing topic of each action
(school bullying vs cyber-bullying) and their structure (programme vs intervention). It is
notable that at the intervention CYBER, parents did not actively participate, apart from their
consent for their children’s participation and thus, there was no feedback taken from them.

For the evaluation of the programme the following research instruments were used:

a) Pre- and post-questionnaires for the students.

b) Evaluation forms for the teachers.

c) Evaluation forms for the parents.

d) Reflection forms for the facilitators.

After the analysis of the results from the research team, Phase B of the research was activated.
During Phase B, CYBER was designed, which was implemented in schools.

For the evaluation of the intervention the following research instruments were used:

a) Pre- and post-questionnaires for the students.

b) Evaluation forms for the teachers.

c) Reflection forms for the facilitators.

Thematic Analysis in combination with statistical analysis of the students’ questionnaires was
used for the presentation of findings and conclusions. Thematic Analysis method is frequently
used as a simple method of discovering patterns and creating themes that enlightens something
that it is of particular interest regarding the research topic, which is determined by the research
questions (King and Horrocks 2011). According to Braun and Clarke (2006), Thematic
Analysis should be seen as a foundational method for qualitative analyses and provides core
skills that are useful for many researchers to apply in other forms of qualitative analysis.
Therefore, after studying the views of the teachers, parents and facilitators, themes and topics
were created, which are presented according to the research questions and their frequency, from
maximum to minimum reference. Similarly, the programme SPSS was used for coding the
close-ended answers from the students’ questionnaires.

Overall, 25 schools participated in the programme Remove the Power, 7 of which in the
Nicosia district, 9 in Limassol district, 4 in Larnaca district and 5 in Paphos district with 42
number of cases.

In total 948 students participated. The pre- and post-questionnaires given, included open-ended
and close-ended questions regarding the frequency of bullying, as well as more questions
examining the impact on knowledge and attitudes around the phenomenon before and after the

At the beginning of the programme, 67 teachers’ evaluation forms were given, from which 53
were successfully completed and returned to the programme’s coordinator at the final day. The
teachers’ evaluation form consisted of 8 open-ended questions covering the following areas:

- Expectations regarding the program

- Degree of satisfaction of expectations
- Impact of the program on the students
- Collaboration with all parties involved
- Personal and Professional Development
- Development of the program
- Future participation in the program
- Promoting the program to other schools or teachers

The evaluation forms from the parents were provided to them at the final day and at the
beginning of the performance/presentation. The forms were returned to the facilitators at the
end of the performance/presentation. Overall 216 parents completed the evaluation forms,
which contained of 4 open-ended questions regarding:

- Expectations regarding the program

- Degree of satisfaction of expectations
- Their children’s attitude towards the programme
- Development of the program

The reflection forms of the facilitators included 5 areas, which they had to refer to for every
workshop they applied:

- Students’ participation
- Degree of awareness/critical thinking of the students
- Students’ shift of attitudes
- Limitations and challenges during the implementation
- Reference to decision taken for the next workshop

Graph 1

Have you ever been bullied? Have you been bullied during the past

12 months?








Approximately 1 out of 2 students reported of being bullied with a percentage of 48%.

Approximately 1 out of 3 students reported of being bullied the last 12 months with a
percentage of 30%.

Graph 2

Have you ever been a bystander at a bullying incident?









Approximately, 7 out of 10 students reported that they have been bystanders of a bullying
incident with a percentage of 71%. The high percentage in comparison with the percentage of
students reporting that they have being bullied is due to the following: a) the social stigma that
someone is facing when he/she is being bullied, b) the feeling of shame and the lack of self-
confidence and self-esteem and c) the presence of more than one bystander in one incident.

Graph 3

Where have you been bullied?








Neighborhood Home Park School Elsewhere

The school appears the most frequent place where bullying can thrive with a percentage of
36%. Neighborhood is followed with 10%, park 7% and home with 6%. In the category
“Elsewhere” students referred to: a) public spaces (i.e. movies, football match, private lessons,
etc.), b) private spaces (i.e. friends’ and relatives’ houses, etc.) and c) internet.

Graph 4: What is bullying?


In relation to the open-ended question about bullying definition, there is an increase of the use
of the terms “power abuse” (+38%), “continuous act” (+46%), “predetermined act” (+34%)
and “cause of harm” (+28%), while there is a decrease of the answer “I don’t know” (-38%).
Significant is also the increased percentage of the word “fear”, which probably comes from the
literal understanding of the term bullying since in Greek is ekfovismos (ek+fovos)=to cause

Graph 5: Who would you report to first if you were bullied?

Siblings Parents Friends Teachers Head-teacher None

There is an increased trust after the implementation of the programme towards the teachers
(+19%), since the students choose them to report an incident together with their parents. In
small percentages we have the friends, the head-teachers and the siblings, while the percentage
of not reporting declined (-6%).

Graph 6: How can we resolve the issue of bullying?

0 After

For the open-ended question “How can we resolve the issue?” there is an increase of a variety
of references for dealing with bullying, such as “recognition/investigation” (+20%),

“reporting” (+32%), “avoid violence and conflict” (+18%), while the answer “I don’t know”
declined (-15%), together with the answer “I hit back/reply back with violence” (-13%).

Furthermore, after the implementation of the programme, there is a differentiation on how the
students think of resolving bullying. While at the beginning their comments were mostly in
taking drastic measures to resolve the incident, by the end they started to think more on
prevention. Examples of their answers are:

Before the implementation of the programme:

 “I will tell him to stop”.
 “I will try to be nice and tell him to stop”.
 “I will try to talk to him in a civilised way in order to stop”.
 “We should stop the fight”.

After the implementation of the programme:

 “We need specialists and people, who are experts in dealing these issues”.
 “We need to make programmes for raising awareness to the children”.
 “Let’s be near to our friends”.
 “Let’s not hit each other”.

Most of the teachers’ reports (47) emphasised on knowledge and techniques around ways of
addressing bullying. Moreover, they referred to raising awareness amongst students, for
respecting each other and fostering empathy, which in returns will lead towards the
improvement of their relationships (20), as well as to being able to distinguish bullying from
other forms of violence (7).

Other expectations were for the students to recognise the protagonists of a bullying incident and
their motives (11), the need for the students to report incidents (6), the teachers’ wish to
decrease bullying in their school or other forms of violence (4), the students to learn to be
active bystanders through the development of their social skills (4), the change of attitudes and
behaviours (4), to raise the self-confidence and the self-esteem of the students (3) and students
to understand the importance of being an active bystander on a bullying incident (3).

Single-out answers referred to anger management, to knowledge transference to parents and
students and for students to be able to express emotions and feelings.

The majority of the answers reported that their expectations were met in a great degree (17),
enough (12) and completely (12).

Few reports (6) expanded on the long-term impact of the programme and the importance of the
communication between teachers and parents.

Exception is three (3) reports who state that their expectations were not met in the degree they
would like, while in one evaluation form the specific question was not answered.

Some teachers (32) expanded their views on the methodology of applied theatre and supported
its success in raising awareness and in transferring knowledge around the issue of bullying. The
same number of teachers, highlighted the fact that now they have gained knowledge and skills
on theatre and drama and a positive attitude in using it in their daily teaching.

Regarding the impact on students, the majority of teachers (54) supports that the programme
enhance the students’ knowledge on bullying (i.e. recognition of bullying and differentiation
from other forms of violence etc.)

Second in report (29) was activating the students’ emotional well-being (fostering empathy,
recognising and handling negative emotions etc.).

The social impact on students was also important on the teachers’ reports (15) (i.e. gaining
collaboration skills and the ability to work together etc.), while one report refers to the
importance of the students to become carriers of knowledge for their peers.

The answers of the teachers reported that they were satisfied from the collaboration with the
coordinator and the facilitators ranged from good (5), to very good (26) and excellent, absolute
and outstanding (22). Phrases that they were used: “Positive”, “Very good collaboration”,
“Professional”, “Direct collaboration”, “Strong facilitator”, “Good attitude and willingness to
work”, “Smooth and creative cooperation” and “Friendly”.

More specifically and referring to the collaboration with students, single-out reports stated that
the students “were not collaborating”, “found the activities funny”, as well as “the pre-existing
tensions between students, made the process difficult”. One of the reports suggested that an
initial meeting with all the adults (parents, teachers, facilitators) should be initiated, in order to
exchange ideas and for everybody to work on the same page.

The vast majority of the teachers’ reports(49) support that the programme offered positives to
their personal and in extend to their professional development. Most of their examples refer to
knowledge development and training on practical ideas to enrich their approaches in other
subjects by adapting specific activities (21), mostly in the subject of Health Education, to
knowledge development on how to recognise , preventing and addressing bullying (17), and the
benefit of the teacher to be present during workshops(2). For some of them, the programme
was a way of opening communication with their students (2), a motivation of becoming more
personally and professionally active and development of skills for dealing of exclusion and
bullying phenomena (2). Single-out answers stated the importance of boosting self-confidence,
collective dialogue with all the implicated parties, as well as be trained on new approaches to
resolving issues.

One teacher referred to the fact that the programme did not have any personal and professional
impact on him/her, while in two (2) reports the question was not answered.

Eleven teachers (11), reported that the programme does not need any improvement, while in
thirteen reports (13) the question was not answered. The remaining single-out reports of the
teachers differed and referred to: a) make the porgramme to last less time or more time, b)
repeat the programme, c) include more topics (i.e. sexual bullying, cyber-bullying etc.) d) more
role-playing and story-telling, e) use of technology and f) more active participation of teachers
and parents.

The majority of the reports (47), state that the teachers are confident that they will participate
again in the programme.

Three teachers (3) reported that they would take part again in the programme if it builds on the
existing knowledge. One teacher suggested for the programme to be applied only with students

who have emotional and social disadvantages. Additionally, one teacher reporting that he/she
would take part again although in his/her school the teachers have the skills to apply the same
activities. Two (2) teachers did not answer the specific question.

Some teachers (5) highlighted the fact that they repeat the programme every year in their

Nearly all the teachers (48) reported that they will definitely suggest the programme in other
teachers. Five teachers (5) did not answer the specific question.

A number of parents expressed positively about the overall programme stating that it was:
“Very well oriented” (11), “Efficient” (9), “Useful” (8) “Perfect” (8), “Exceptional” (7),
“Completed” (6) “Very useful for my child” (6), “Interesting” (5), “Positive programme” (3),
“Understandable and animated” (3) and “Very sufficient” (2).

The largest percentage referred to knowledge transference of the students around bullying
(127). More specifically, parents referred to learning on how to deal with bullying (57) , to their
ability to distinguish bullying from other forms of violence (8) to learning the forms that it can
take (45) and to the understanding on how serious bullying issue is (19).

Single-out answers emphasised on the understanding of the emotional world of bullies, bullied
and by-standers, the change of behaviour and mutual respect of others from their children, the
importance of reporting the incidents, the importance of their children to come in contact with
real-life scenarios that they might be facing in their school life, as wells as incidents that they
might face after school and during their adulthood.

Few responses referred to the emotional development of their children. More specifically, the
parents stated that their children have accredited the way of expressing their feelings (15), they
developed empathy, (12) they empowered themselves (9), and they gained confidence (3).

A number of answers referred to the impact that the programme had to them. The latter was
translated into empowering the relationship of parents and children in order to help them to
resolve any issue they are facing (10) and to communicate better with their children and the
teachers (7).

Eight (8) of the parents’ answers focused on the long-term results of the programme and
reported that students have gained knowledge that they might need in the future when they face
similar situations.

One of the parents stated that the combination of theatre/drama and discussion is “the best
way” of educating people around bullying.

Two (2) parents stated that they have no expectations, while in ten (10) reports the specific
question was not answered.

The majority of the parents’ answers demonstrate that their expectations were met (69). Some
state in a “good degree” (60), in “some degree” (46) in a “large degree” (45) and “fully
satisfied” (21). Two (2) of the parents stated that their expectations were not met, without
elaborating more, while three parents (3) stated that they do not know.

Number of answers (8) referred to the long-term achievement of the programme’s aims
regarding the change on students’ behaviour.

Single-out answers suggested ways of developing the programme, such as: a) simplifying it, b)
to present punishments for the children who bully and c) the promotion of friendship between

In six (6) evaluation forms the question was not answered.

The parents reported that their children had a positive attitude towards the programme (49),
they showed enthusiasm (45), joy (22), interest (20), they liked it a lot (20), they seemed to
developed critical thinking (18), they demonstrated awareness (17) and they were informing
constantly their parents about what they did in every session (17).

In five (5) evaluation forms the question was not answered, while in six (6) the parents stated
that their children did not mention the programme at all to them.

Single-out answers from the parents, commented that the children took the whole process as a
game/joke, they did not realise the aims of the programme and their child did not want to talk
about the programme.

The largest percentage of the parents’ answers (105) stated that the programme does not need
any change and they are satisfied with the way it takes place, while a percentage (38) stated that
the programme should be continued more often and reqular (11) and in more days, to be longer
(10). Similarly, some parents (16) suggested the programme to be repeated to the same students
as a reminder of what they have learned.

The rest of the parents’ answers suggested: a) the implementation of the programme in younger
and older students with an emphasis on the students in secondary schools, b) emphasising more
on practical solutions of the students to address the issue, c) deepening in role-playing, d)
raising awareness on the consequences of this behaviour and the responsibility of everybody
involved, e) developing the programme to speak about cyber-bullying, f) the creation of stories
in which the students will take active role, g) the use of technology and h) the designing of a
shorter intervention in order to cover more schools.

In two (2) evaluation forms the answer was “I don’t know”, while in thirty-nine of them (39)
the question was not answered.

The reports of the facilitators stated that the students responded to the process in a positive
way, satisfactory and very well, with the exception of 2 classroom cases, in which problems
with communication between facilitators and students and facilitator and teacher were evident.
More specifically, the reports talked about the non-participation of the teacher in the process
and his/her absent from the classroom, as well as the impact on students’ behaviour when the
teacher was not intervening to bring them back to behave properly. The rest of the cases from
the facilitators’ feedback form referred to active participation of the teacher in the form of co-
facilitation, discipline the students, taking notes about the activities and the reaction of his/her
students and consulting the facilitator on the best way to proceed next.

The facilitators reported on the interest of students to participate in the workshops.

Additionally, their reports stated that they have received comments fromt he teachers that they
did not expect from some students to respond and participate in the programme. A small
percentage of cases (3) referred to students not wishing to participate in some activities
something that has changed after the intervention of the teacher.

In combination with the questionnaires there is the initial development of critical thinking
among the students regarding bullying, while students start talking with specific terms. With
the exception of 1 or 2 students in each case, the rest had no knowledge on bullying before the
programme, while during the process they seemed to understand better some of the elements of
bullying especially power imbalance and repetition. The students’ opinion during the
workshops were very well positioned, with an exception of students in Year 3, in which some
of them were having difficulties to understand terms and put them it in real-life situations.
However, by the end of the process they seemed to understand what bullying constitutes, as
well as the importance of reporting.

All the reflection forms stated that the change in students’ attitudes around bullying was
evident and it was mostly obvious during the parents’ presentation. During the presentation
there was a realisation from everybody involved that students were aware that bullying is multi-
layered and it causes harm to people, while they suggested solutions, such as reporting to adults
and bystanders active intervention in a way that they first ensure their own safety.

The majority of the facilitators did not refer in any challenges or limitations that they were
present during the programme’s implementation. Four (4) reports from different cases
emphasised on the challenge of applying the workshops in the classroom setting due to the way
that desks are appointed and the length of the space, while two (2) reported on the large number
of students due to the fact that classes were merged due to the absence of teachers despite the
fact that the teachers were informed of not doing the latter. One of the facilitators, referred to
changes in the workshops’ schedule without any prior information from the teacher.

Four (4) reports are related with the communication between teachers and facilitators with the
first not giving time for discussion with the second or they did not provide a complete students’
profiling. Moreover, the specific reports talked about the misunderstanding of the teachers’ role
who intervenes with no reason during the process.

Five (5) reflection forms referred to limitations on the programmes’ impact regarding
challenging behaviours of specific students, who present no limits in their behaviour.

After analysing the data and acknowledging the fact that the majority of schools requesting to
implement the programme face violent or bullying behaviour amongst students, the research
team concluded the following:

1. There is a raise in bullying in primary schools with students taking the role of bully, bullied
and bystander, emphasising on the fact that school is the place that incidents take place more

2. There is an increase in knowledge around bullying amongst students, teachers and parents.
More specifically, bullying becomes more recognisable with the four elements that comprise it
(repetition, predetermination, power imbalance and cause of harm), while it is distinguished
from other forms of violence. Additionally, there is an understanding from the students that
bullying is a serious social problem that it needs to be reported to adults and especially to
teachers. The knowledge impact is lower in Year 3 students.

3. There is a shift in students’ attitudes after the programme since they think in a more
preventing way rather than taking drastic action as seen in their initial answers. The findings
demonstrate an understanding on the harmful and long-lasting effects of bullying, as well as the
difficulty in dealing with it after it emerges.

4. There is the need from teachers to gain more expertise and training, as well as to devote
more time in working with experiential activities with their students. Additionally, there is the
need from teachers for personal and professional capacity building in social skills that they
could potentially transfer to their students.

5. The facilitators face challenges in gaining teachers’ trust, while in some cases obstacles are
faced regarding the length of the programme.

6. There is gap in teachers’ knowledge and insecurity on their communication with the parents
around bullying, with as a result to seek guidance from people of any specialisation (i.e.
facilitators, coordinator etc.) in their contact with parents.

7. Teachers are more positive in using theatre/drama activities in their teaching considering
them a medium of creating a positive and joyful school climate, which is related to the better

communication between students and teachers and between students and their parents. Many
reports from the parents stated that their children were happy during workshops and they
informed them about bullying, bridging in many cases the gab on the communication between
parents and teachers.

8. The findings show an emphasis on the need to inform students on cyber-bullying and the
impact of social media in generating it. There are traces of data, which demonstrate thatteachers
believe that technology could be used effectively in order to have an impact on students’
knowledge around cyber-bullying.

9. The results show an emerging need of creating more interventions that could be applied in
other school ages with specifically reports on secondary school students, who, according to the
findings, there is a lack of anti-bullying interventions in first, secondary and tertiary area of

1. Disseminate the results to the Director of Primary Education of the MOEC, the EPS, the DIT
and the Commissioner for children’s rights of Cyprus.

2. Sustain the implementation of the programme Remove the Power in Primary Education and
continue the collaboration with all the services and organisations that have approved it.

3. Work on facilitators’ professional capacity building on resolving issues deriving from their
role as visitors in schools.

4. Design and facilitate experiential workshops in after-school time that they will be addressed
to groups of teachers, parents and/or mixed groups with the aim to raise awareness on
preventing and dealing with bullying, as well as other policies that are applied from MOEC.
Reference to the circular of the MOEC “Preventing, combating and addressing bullying

5. Expand the organisation’s activities around bullying phenomenon through the creation of a
new theatre/drama intervention, which could be addressed to students of Secondary school and
would be shorter in length. Suggestion to include more interactive theatre/drama activities and
role-playing, with which the children would be called to develop critical thinking on cyber-

6. Specific issues that emerged during the implementation of the programme were
communicated to the coordinator to address them at the time.

Overall, 7 schools participated in the intervention CYBER, of which 3 in Nicosia district, 1 in

Limassol district, 2 in Larnaca district and 1 in Paphos district with a 20 overall number of
cases. The data from the first 5 cases have been used as piloting the intervention which could
possibly lead to correcting and re-forming the research instruments. Nevertheless, the data from
the pilot phase are included in the study since the corrections made were considered minor and
did not influence in any case the final results of the research.

In total, 387 students participated. The pre- and post-questionnaires given included both open-
ended and close-ended questions to measure the students’ understanding on cyber-bullying and
the responsibility that they are taking in different occasions, as well as more questions
regarding the impact on their knowledge around the phenomenon.

At the beginning of the intervention, evaluation forms were given to 20 teachers who
participated in the intervention as observers and which have been returned to the coordinator at
the end of the intervention. The evaluation form included 8 open-ended questions covering the
same areas as the programme Remove the Power:

- Expectations regarding the program

- Degree of satisfaction of expectations
- Impact of the program on the students
- Collaboration with all parties involved
- Personal and Professional Development
- Development of the program
- Future participation in the program
- Promoting the program to other schools or teachers

The reflection forms of the facilitators included 4 areas, which they had to refer to for every
workshop they applied:

- Students’ participation
- Degree of awareness/critical thinking of the students
- Students’ shift of attitudes
- Limitations and challenges during the implementation

Graph 7

Have you ever been cyber-bullied?


Around 1 out of 10 students reported that they have been cyber-bullied with a percentage of

Graph 8

What form the cyber-bullying took?







On the open-ended question around the kind of cyber-bullying they have experienced, around 1
out of 2 students reported that they have been experienced threat and teasing online with the
percentage coming up to 58%. Threat and teasing via phone is followed with 46% and photo
manipulation with 25%. The rest of the reports include posting without consent (i.e. photos),
prank call, hacking of online profile, online blackmailing and exclusion from group chats.

Graph 9

Have you reported to someone that you have been cyber-







Around 1 out of 2 students stated that they have reported the cyber-bullying that they had
experienced with a percentage of 55%.

Graph 10

Who did you report to that you have been cyber-bullied?










Siblings Parents Friends Relatives Teachers

The largest percentage of students chose to talk to their parents about the fact that they had
been cyber-bullied with the percentage of 77%, friends are followed with 69% and siblings
with 31%. Teachers and relatives are ranking low with the lowest percentage.

Graph 11

Do you know someone who has been cyber-bullied?










Around 1 out of 4 students knew someone who had been cyber-bullied with the percentage of

Graph 12

Who is the person you know that has been cyber-bullied?









Siblings Parents Friends Relatives Someone else

With their answers the students demonstrated communication with friends since most of them
knew a friend of theirs who had been bullied at least once with the percentage of 81%. Second
in ranking is someone they do not know very well with 10%, referring mostly in stories they
hear from friends or read online, while siblings and relatives are reported rarely. No report was
made about parents.

Graph 13
What form the cyber-bullying took?

Threat and teasing online was first in reports as previously with a percentage of 46%, followed
by threat and teasing via phone with 39%. Posting without consent, scored 19% and social
exclusion via texts 17%. In smaller percentages we find photo manipulation, prank call, online
blackmailing, fake profile and hacking of online profile.

Graph 14

Have you reported the cyber-bullying incident?









Around 1 out of 2 students stated that they have reported the cyber-bullying they witnessed
with the percentage going up to 58%.

Graph 15

Who did you report the cyber-bullying incident to?








Siblings Parents Friends Relatives Teachers

On the same line as before, most of the students chose to report the incident they have
witnessed to their parents with a percentage of 58%, friends are followed with 32% and
siblings, relatives and teachers with 7%.

Graph 16: What is cyber-bullying?

10 Before
0 After

At the open-ended question about the definition of cyber-bullying according to the students’
personal view, there was an increase in all categories, with the highest increase to be threat and
teasing online (+20%). The fake profile (+15%) and hacking of online profile (+11%) are

Graph 17: When do students have responsibility?







When friends When they like a When they don't When they share
cyber-bully others cyber-bullying report the posts

There was an increase on responsibility after the intervention. The students, as it seems,
recognise the responsibility of someone who shares a post to cyber-bully someone else
(+31%), when they do not report to someone the incident (+21%), when they “like” or “react”
on a post (+19%) and when they just know that some people they cyber-bully others (+16%).

Graph 18: Would you act on stopping cyber-bullying?


We observe that the percentage of students who are in a position to react in case of cyber-
bullying has been doubled from 42% to 81% with an increase of 39%.

Graph 19: Ways of reacting to cyber-bullying

20 Before

There was again an increase in all categories with the highest increase in reporting to the police
(+10%), followed by “I will not reinforce” (+7%) and “I will not chat with strangers”(+5%).
Other responses to the open-ended question that have increase in a smallest percentage is
prevention and raising awareness towards all the implicated parties, report at help lines,
blocking and “I don’t pay attention”.

Graph 20

What did you like about the intervention?







Plot Discussion Interactivity New knowledge Theatre tool

Overall, 1 out of 2 students reported that they liked the story line and the interaction, with a
percentage of 52% in each category. The use of theatre with 41%, the discussion with 40%
and the knowledge gained with 36% followed.

Most of the teachers’ reports (15) emphasised on the students’ needs to be informed about
cyber-bullying, while second in report (11) is to raise awareness amongst their students in order
to develop critical thinking around this vast phenomenon. Some of their responses focus on
students gaining knowledge on how to use technology to their advantage (5) and safety on
cyberspace (4).

The majority of the teachers stated that their expectations were met in a satisfactory level (12),
while other answers ranged from completely (4), to enough (3), and the intervention exceeded
their expectations (1).

All the teachers expanded their thoughts in Theatre in Education methodology and more
specifically to role-playing from the students. Most of the reports (16) were around the
experiential and creative form of the intervention which led to the students’ active participation,
as well as the development of their critical thinking. Examples of their statements were:
“Theatre is the most efficient tool when tackling bullying”, “the students entered their roles and
experienced emotions in depth” and “theatre is the safest environment to trigger personal
experiences and behaviours”.

Regarding the impact of the intervention to students, the majority of the teachers (13) supported
that the intervention raised awareness and led the students to think critically and react in such
incidents reinforcing the cyber-bullying prevention (10). Smaller number of teachers (5)
reported that the intervention assisted the students to gain an understanding of the harmful
effects of bullying to people, while others (3) stated that students realised that this kind of
behaviour is not acceptable.

All the reports regarding the collaboration of all implicated parties were positive. Examples of
their answers were: “efficient” and “direct” (9), “professional” (5) and “clarified” (2).

In relation to the collaboration with students, all the teachers were pleased, supporting that the
format of the specific intervention assisted even children who are lacking of limits in their
behaviour to participate in an “unexpected” way.

The majority of the teachers (19) reported that the intervention had a positive impact on their
personal and professional development. Most of the examples they give in their answers are
around gaining knowledge and professional capacity building on how to act in cases of cyber-
bullying (9), the development of a holistic approach in regards to bullying behaviours (6) and
the use of the intervention’s story line and of the activities in the subjects they teach, such as

Language subject and Home Economics subject (5). In one evaluation form the question was
not answered.

Most of the teachers (17) stated that the intervention does not need any improvement, while
two (2) teachers suggested more time for discussion with the students. One of the teachers
suggested to re-form the story’s scenario to become even more complex.

All teachers stated that they would definitely apply the intervention again with their students.
One of which suggested the creation of even more stories with the same methodology to apply
to the same students since he/she observed an increased participation from them and the impact
that it had to their knowledge.

All the teachers agreed that they would recomend the intervention to other colleagues, as well
as in other schools without hesitation.

The majority of the facilitators (10) supported that the participation of the students was easy
and smooth. An equal number of facilitators (10) stated that the students were energetic, as well
as they observed their participation to increase after the second part of the intervention, in
which there is a recap of the story. Regarding the theatre methodology, some reports (6) talked
about the depth that the students went and their identification with their roles, which assisted
the process in a great degree. Nevertheless, four (4) facilitators noted their professional
difficulty to de-role the students due to the fact that they were identified with their roles in a
great degree. More specifically, the reports talked about students “getting out of limits”, always
in their role, due to the lack of expertise in the specific tool.

To their majority (11) the facilitators’ reflection forms presented students to understand and to
be aware of the issue of cyber-bullying only by the end of the process. In nine (9) reflaction
forms, it is stated that there was a developed understanding and awareness of the students
around cyber-bullying, who are referred constantly to preventive actions against it, as well as

protocols of reporting and handling it from the teachers. Six (6) reflection forms, reported that
individual students in each case were lacking of understanding on the issue during the
application of the intervention and demonstrated that they have not developed their critical
thinking. The specific individual students were mostly referring to drastic and unrealistic
solutions regarding cyber-bullying.

All the reflection forms reported that the change in attitudes of the students would be evident in
the long-run and whether if the teachers will carry on working on the specific issue.
Nevertheless, the majority of the facilitators’reports (10) is positive towards students
developing critical thinking on the phenomenon, while three (3) facilitators stated that they
could see changes only in some of the students and two (2) facilitators commented that for
specific groups of students it is difficult to see a change in their attitude.

Generally, challenges were not reported, apart from specific reports (2) for students who
presented challenging behaviour. Two (2) reflection forms commented on the lack of
understanding from students due to the fact that they did not introduce the context of the
intervention prior its beginning.

After analysing the data and acknowledging the fact that the majority of Secondary schools
requesting to implement the programme face violent or bullying behaviour amongst students,
the research team concluded the following:

1. Cyber-bullying appears to be low in Secondary education with students to report to sporadic

incidents they either experienced or they were by-standers, with the majority of the reports to
be on treating and teasing online and via phone.

2. There is lack of trust from students to their teachers, since they do not report to them cyber-
bullying incidents. There is the need to investigate even more the specific behaviour since there
is the possibility of the students to believe that cyber-bullying is something that does not have
to do with the school since it takes place online and via phone.

3. There is a positive although low impact around knowledge on cyber-bullying to students and
teachers with the first to refer to more examples after the implementation of the intervention.
Nevertheless, there is no reference in elements that comprise bullying either in cyber-space or
elsewhere (i.e. repetition, power imbalance etc.). On a positive line, there is an understanding
of the harmful effect of cyber-bullying and the importance of reporting it to adults and
especially the responsibility that the teachers have to address it. The increased report to the
police, demonstrates the increase sense of danger that someone faces when experiencing this
kind of behaviour.

4. There is an increase in awareness and the feeling of responsibility from the students
regarding their implication in cases of cyber-bullying, as well as in their empowerment to react
and stop this kind of incidents when they take place.

5. The intervention appears attractive and at a large degree efficient for all the implicated
parties (students, teachers, facilitators) because of the theatre form it takes which includes
interaction and role-playing.

6. There is a satisfactory degree of impact to the students presenting challenging behaviours

with the theatr tool to increase their participation to the process with exceptions in some cases.

7. There is the need to develop more stories, which they will reinforce even more the fight to
compact bullying, empowering the students to be more active and creative.

1. Disseminate the results to the Director of Secondary Education and the CEERA for approval
and continuation of its implementation in secondary schools.

2. Work on facilitators’ professional capacity building around the tool of Theatre in Education
and train them to managing to work around students’ challenging behaviours through their role.

3. Communication with the teachers prior the implementation of the intervention to discuss
their role in the process and their responsibility on the preexisting knowledge that students
should have. The communication should involve suggestions of continuing the efforts to work
with their students on the specific issue.

4. Create more stories based on the same tool of Theatre in Education that will meet the needs
of each school independently.

5. Specific issues that emerged during the implementation of the intervention were
communicated to the coordinator to address them at the time and consider them for the future
development of the intervention.

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Authors of the Study: Nataša Milojević, Bojana Škorc

Research team: Nikola Koruga, Kristina Mlađenović

Editor: Sanja Krsmanović-Tasić

Many different sources agree that bullying in Serbian schools is present at all levels
(kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools). Data sources show rate of 45% of pupils
who can be recognized as victims of bullying in Serbian schools (Đokić, 2016). The problem of
violence has been visible in all parts of Serbian society. It is hard to find the solutions for such
complicated and complex problem, since it requires many parallel levels of intervention and
has to be treated by all possible ways.

When we talk about conflicts and violence in schools, a term that is frequently encountered in
literature is the term “bullying”. It is used in such way to emphasize aggression toward the
weaker, where the attacker and the attacked party can be an individual or a group. There is no
proper word in Serbian language which would completely match the sense of the word
bullying, and it is most often translated as harassment or violence. Physical attacks that are not
repeated and where there is no imbalance of power, would not be classified as violence or
bullying, but as aggressive behavior (Glumbić, Žunić-Pavlović; 2008, Đorić 2009). The
expansion of internet communication and the use of social networks during last few years
induced an occurrence of new kinds of bullying - called electronic, digital or internet bullying,
best known as cyberbullying (Kuzmanović et al, 2016).

There are many definitions of bullying and it is therefore not possible to speak of a universal
and generally accepted definition of this term. There are numerous terminological and
conceptual overlaps with the concepts and definitions of aggression, violence and bullying
(Đurišić, 2015). At the core of all these definitions is violent behavior as an intentional and
repetitive expression of physical or verbal forms of aggression for the purpose of causing
physical injury, psychological pain and suffering or demonstrating control and power over
another person (Davidović, 2012; Popović-Ćitić, 2006). The important elements and indicators
of bullying are duration, negative practices and unequal power relations, which means the
bullying represents repetitive action of stronger towards a weaker person. The most common
forms of bullying are the following: verbal, physical and relational types. The forms of verbal
violence are as follows: threats, name calling, insults, mocking, teasing, giving unpleasant
comments, etc. Physical violence includes: hitting, kicking, hair pulling, pushing, slapping,
spitting, biting, etc. Relational violence is directed to the exclusion of a certain individual from
peer groups, usually by using threats or spreading rumors (Glumbić, Žunić-Pavlović 2008;
Blazić, 2013).

The schools should be safe zones and protective factors against bullying, therefore school
environment is an important area for socialisation, in which students can establish strong social
connections. This is important for prevention of behavioural problems and bullying. In the
period from 2006 to 2013 a program which included both students and staff members in fifty
elementary schools across Serbia has been implemented. It was the part of „School Without
Violence“ program implemented by UNICEF and Serbian Ministry of Education. The
observations showed that 48% to 80% of children had some experience with bullying. Adult
violence is reported by 35.7% of students and 42% of students have witnessed verbal
aggression of pupils towards teachers. The Serbian teachers need more academic and
professional preparations for the prevention of violence in schools. Teachers are most sensitive
to verbal and physical violence, but they, to a lesser extent, notice the problems that are caused
by other forms of violence (Popadić et al, 2013).

In 2013, 89% of Serbian elementary and 92% of high school students had the profile at some of
the social networks. 62% of elementary school and 82% of high school students who use the
internet every day were confronted with the risk. The risky situations were friendships with
unknown persons (46% of elementary and 71% of high school students), chatting with
unknown persons (28% of elementary and 56% of high school students), messaging with
unknown persons (27% of elementary and 47% of high school students). 13% of elementary
and 21% of high school students showed their personal identity and even 6% of elementary and
15% of high school students met the unknown friend in reality (Popadić, Kuzmanović, 2013).

Cyberbullying, as a form of violence, could be direct or indirect - caused by other persons with
or without their permissions (using their profiles). It includes sending or publishing disturbing
messages, photos or videos on the blog, chat, forum or profile of the others. Compared with
other kinds of bullying, the cyberbullying can be present 24 hours per day, the victim can be
maltreated at all places (including home or other places which were safe in case of other kinds
of bullying). Distribution is more broad, the bully could be anonymous, direct contact with
victim is not necessary. The victim could be any person who uses the internet or cell phone,
regardless on gender, age, digital experience, frequence and way of using modern technologies
(Kuzmanović et al, 2016).

Researches showed that students from Serbian schools did the cyberbullying: 7% of students
used the name of the other for publishing someone’s private things, 5% of students published

someone else’s photo or video with aim to laugh at that person, 7% of students spreaded the
lies about someone (Vučković et al, 2016).

In the year 2014, „Tijana Jurić fondation“ started with the project „Safely on the internet –
safely in life“ to inform the elemetary and high school students about cyberbullying. In 2016,
Ministry of Trade, Turism and Telecommunications started the internet platform for develop
informative society „Smart and Safe“ with aim to prevent the consequences of cyberbullying.
The platform promotes digital education and safe culture on all levels in Serbian society. Both
programmes are still actively present in schools.

Since 1990, when the process of restructuring of Serbian society started, education system
follows the general changes in the society. In spite of the reform processes that took places in
2000, 2005 and 2010, education system in Serbia still lacks systematic evaluation of its’ effects
and efficiency. Primary compulsory education system covers all children, but some negative
indicators of education success are visible, such as the high rate of functional analphabets
(between 35 and 50% of analphabets who graduated from primary schools), low achievement
on competence tests (PISA research), high rate of drop-outs from schools, presence of bullying
and juvenile criminality, lack of cooperation between teachers and parents, lack of professional
competencies and motivation of teachers, increased poverty rate related to low education level,
and many others.

Effects of education process have been systematically followed by PISA research till 2015
when Ministry of education stopped with this initiative. Results show underachievement of
Serbian children compared with European standards, showing average achievement about one
year behind their peers in the region (Baucal, 2012). Researches show that average profile of a
child who is at risk of drop-out is that is a boy, age 11-12, coming from a low-income family
with more than 3 children, having the father with authoritative family style, with low-educated
parents who are not interested and involved in school activities (Malinić, 2012). Together with
that, initial school programs and requests appear to be too demanding for vulnerable groups of
children, such as minority children (especially Roma), children from outskirts of big, urban
communities and children from low-income families. According to the research of Institute for
Psychology in Belgrade, about 80% of curricula are not age-adapted and are too difficult for

With democratization of education system, in Serbian schools since 2000 there are two optional
subjects: Civic Education and Religious Education, and students have to choose between the
two. These subjects are optional and students are obliged to pass through the process, their
success not expressed by marks but by participation in activities. The issues of violence and
bullying are treated through the civic education program, starting from age of 7 till the age of
18. Researchers in schools in Serbia show a modest presence of violence and bullying within
school environment compared with the world rate (Popadić, 2006), with the highest rate of
bullying at the age of 12 – 13, starting to decrease in older ages. The presence of violence in
media, sport, peer groups, out-of-school environment as well as in schools is still high and
intervening projects and initiatives are more than necessary.

Since the education system is an integral part of society as a whole, all the problems and
negative tendencies in society are directly reflected on education process, and an increase of
violence and violence-related behaviors should be treated with more social and public attention
than it is the case in this moment.

For successful prevention of bullying in Serbian schools it is necessary to pay more attention to
monitoring and observing the behavior and activities of students, develop more creative and
open-ended activities in schools, make clear rules and regulations of conduct as well as their
implementation, strong supportive and advisory work with students, organize better sport and
leisure activities, and also support cooperation between family and school.

According to the facts about drama in education potentials in developing social behaviors,
group communication and collaboration (Way, 1981; Fekkes, 2006) we decided to try the
project based on drama in education (DIE) and theatre in education (TIE) on bullying
prevention. Drama in education provides a unique and irreplaceable educational experience
involving both mind and emotions in a way that results in more effective forms of education
(Best, 1996). Through drama techniques, participants are given the chance to explore and
discover both themselves and the wider world in a way that protects them from the
consequences that would normally follow in the situations they represent (Edmiston, 2000;
Mavroudis, Bournelli, 2016).

DIE in former Yugoslavia existed from 1953 initiated by Zvezdana Ladika in Zagreb
(Croatia). DIE practices were continued by Vladimir Krušić, drama pedagogue from Zagreb
who was active in the whole country, Sead Đulić from Mostar (Bosnia) pioneer of the

alternative academy for drama education in Mostar that was accredited with an international
certificate for impact in drama education development „Grozdanin kikot“. Ljubica Beljanski-
Ristić continued with DIE in Belgrade in the Drama Studio for children and youth
„Škozorište“, which started to work in 1977. This program was developed in Cultural Center
„Parobrod“ and renamed „Školigrica“(Schoolplay). Thanks to „Školigrica“ the idea of
implementation of drama pedagogy in the educational system in Serbia has been initiated. In
1999 Center for Drama in Education and Art-CEDEUM was founded as an association which
gathers theatre and other artists, pedagogues, psychologists, teachers, social workers, experts on
new media and others with an interest in promoting drama in education and arts. CEDEUM has
a widespread network of associates, both from Belgrade and the whole country. CEDEUM is a
member and national center of the International Association for Drama/theatre and Education-
IDEA. CEDEUM has an intensive collaboration and exchange of experience on the regional
and international levels through common projects with organizations in the field of artistic and
creative education, especially drama/theatre in education, intercultural dialogue and
communication, education for peace and development, human and children's rights etc.
CEDEUM is particularly engaged in the education of educators and training of artists. Ljubica
Beljanski-Ristić was also one of the participants of the broad UNICEF and Ministry of
Education project “School Without Violence”, contributing to the implementation of Augusto
Boal’s Forum theatre methodology in schools. (Brljanski-Ristić, Krsmanović-Tasić, 2008;
Beljanski-Ristić, 2015; Mađarev, 2015).

CEDEUM has been one of the 12 partners of the DICE (Drama Improves Lisbon Key
Competencies in Education) with the project team including Ljubica Beljanski-Ristić, Sanja
Krsmanović-Tasić, and Anđelija Jočić project leading to an extensive study and proof of the
effects of drama in the key competencies of school children. (Brljanskić-Ristić, et al, 2010a,

TIE as a new methodology has started to be implemented in Serbian schools with the project
“Togetherness”, initiated by Sanja Krsmanović-Tasić, president of CEDEUM since 2014. Hleb
Teatar, the principal partner of CEDEUM in the realization of TIE in schools as part of the
project “Togetherness” and R.U.IN? is an independent theatre group from Belgrade, deeply
engaged in art for social change projects and educational theatre and drama

In the following article, we analyze and put in the broader context the results of our research.
The research was realized in two phases.

The researching was conducted before and after TIE session performed by actors-teachers of
Hleb Teatar, in the first phase, with the theme of physical and verbal bulling, and in the second
phase with the theme of cyberbullying. First phase included elementary school students from
the 5th to 8th grades (ages from 11 to 14 years) and their teachers and it was a screening of the
frequency of different types of bullying in school. Second phase included elementary school
students from 7th to 8th grades and high school students from 1st and 2nd grades (ages from 13 to
16 years) and it was aimed at the prevention of cyberbullying.

This project has two main aims: to open the communication channels between the students and
their teachers about the bullying problem and to point at the problem of cyberbullying and
potentials for overcoming it. The tools and methods which the project used were DIE and TIE.

The project is focused on potential of the TIE in the prevention of bullying problems in school.
The research has two hypothesizes.
H1: The TIE can help in the prevention of bullying in schools by helping students to recognize
their behaviors.
H2: The TIE cannot help in the prevention of bullying in schools.

The study included 257 students in first phase and 266 students in second phase from the 5th
grades of elementary schools to 2nd grades of a high school of both genders (the profiles of
students are in Annex 1, pp1 and Annex 2, pp1) and their teachers. The research was done with
students and teachers from three elementary schools from Belgrade and with students and
teachers from high schools and student’s dormitory in Belgrade as well. The research was
implemented in two phases during the 20 months of the project. The program in both phases
consisted of five blocks: (1) block of questionnaires for students before the performance, (2)
the performance implementation, (3) block of questionnaires for students after the performance,
(4) block of questionnaires for control group of students who were not included in the project
(covering students from all tested grades), (5) discussions with teachers. The first phase was
implemented with elementary school students (from 5th to 8th grades) in first year of the
research. The second phase was continued next year and involved students from 7th and 8th
grades which were previously 6th and 7th grades, as well as the new students from high school.

Number of students

Class I fhase II fhase

V 46

VI 116

VII 70 117

VIII 25 67

I high sc. 20

II high sc. 62

∑ 257 266

Tab. 1. The number of students which participated in the study.

The first phase included: The block 1 with seven questions, organized to show how
much are students familiar with the topic (tab. 2).

1. Which is the best definition of violence?

a) The violence occurs when a stronger and more powerful person hurts or
intimidates a weaker person, intentionally and often.
b) The violence occurs when more than one person in the group hurts and frightens
one person.
2. Were you present at any scene of violence at school during the last school year?
a) Yes
b) No
3. What kind of violence you witnessed?
a) Verbal - insults, shouting…
b) Physical - kicking, pushing, slaping…

4. What were the places where the violence happened?
a) schoolyard
b) school hallway
c) school toilet
d) classroom
5. Have you ever been a victim of violence?
a) Yes
b) No
6. Are you talking about bullying at school?
a) Yes
b) No
7. Have you ever been at workshop where you played or in a creative way worked at
the topic of violence?
a) Yes
b) No
Tab. 2. The first questionnaire from the first phase.

The performances were done during school classes. Each performance was in the form of TIE
and included a performance about bullying topic, performed by the artists and drama
pedagogues of Hleb Teatar.

Block 3 contained twelve questions, prepared to show how much are students supported to talk
about the personal experience about bullying, how much they learned from the performance,
are they interested in continuing with the project, etc. (tab. 3).

1. Do you think that the scene that actors played is real?

a) Yes.
b) No
2. Have you ever attended similar scenes of bullying at school?
a) Yes
b) No
3. Have you ever been a victim of bullying?
a) Yes
b) No
4. Have you ever bullied someone?
a) Yes
b) No
5. What is the best solution for bullied person in your opinion?
a) to reply with violence

b) to talk with the teacher about the problem
c) to talk with a friend about the problem
d) to talk with parents about the problem
6. Do you think that you are better informed about this topic now?
a) Yes
b) No
7. If you played at the scene which role would you like to play?
a) bully
b) bullied person
c) observer
8. Was that performance interesting for you?
a) Yes
b) No
9. Did you learn something new?
a) Yes
b) No
10. Will you be interested for drama workshops if they continue at your school?
a) Yes
b) No
11. Would you be interested for preparing performances about topics that you
a) Yes
b) No
12. Are you interested in drama workshop which contains movement, dance or music?
a) Yes
b) No
Tab. 3. The second questionnaire from the first phase.

Block 4 contained the questions adapted for the students who didn’t participate in workshops
and it has the aim to be compared with results obtained for participant groups.

The second phase included: The block 1 contains nine questions, designed to show how
much are the students familiar with the cyberbullying topic and how much the students from
the first phase advanced in group communication and recognizing the bullying problems in
their classes (tab. 4).
1. Did you attend any kind of bullying last school year?
a) Yes
b) No

2. Estimate on a scale from 1 to 5 the presence of forms of bullying in your class.
a) Verbal
b) Physical
c) Social
d) Cyberbullying
3. Have you ever seen any kind of cyberbullying?
a) Yes
b) No
4. Estimate on a scale from 1 to 5 how often you met the following kinds of the
cyberbullying on the internet.
a) Photos
b) Videos
c) Gossip
5. Do you know any case of a cyberbullying in your school?
a) Yes
b) No
6. Have you ever uploaded any compromising content on the internet, yours or
someone else's?
a) Yes
b) No
7. Have you ever been a victim of the cyberbullying?
a) Yes
b) No
8. Have you ever talked about the cyberbullying at school classes or some other
a) Yes
b) No
9. Have you ever been at a workshop where you played or at creative way worked at
any topic?
a) Yes
b) No
Tab. 4. The first questionnaire from the second phase.

The performances were done at schools before or after the classes, during 90 min. Each
performance was in the form of TIE and included an interactive performance about
cyberbullying topic, performed by artists and a discussion with students. Block 3 contained

twelve questions, prepared to show how much are students supported to understand the
cyberbullying problems in their classes, talk about them, etc. The important questions were
about using the TIE as the method of learning and expressing the student’s problems, emotions
and needs (tab. 5).

1. Estimate on a scale from 1 to 5 how much was realistic the story from the
performance, on your opinion?

2. Estimate on a scale from 1 to 5 how much the performance made you thinking
about cyberbullying?

3. Do you know any case of a cyberbullying in your school?

a) Yes
b) No
4. Have you ever been a victim of the cyberbullying?
a) Yes
b) No
5. Have you ever done the cyberbullying?
a) Yes
b) No
6. What is on your opinion the best solution for the victim of cyberbullying?
a) not to speak about the problem
b) to speak about the problem with a teacher or a psychologist
c) to speak about the problem with a friend
d) to speak about the problem with parents
e) something else
*How would you help victim of CB? _________________________________
7. Estimate on a scale from 1 to 5 how much you learned/ got from the performance?

8. If you play in school performance which role would you like to play?
a) the victim
b) the bully
c) the observer

d) the parents
e) the teacher
9. Estimate on a scale from 1 to 5 how much you were interested in the performance.

10. Will you be interested for drama workshops if they continue at your school?
a) Yes
b) No
11. Would you be interested for preparing performances about topics that you
a) Yes
b) No
12. Are you interested in drama workshop which contains movement, dance or
a) Yes
b) No
Tab. 5. The second questionnaire from the second phase.
The teachers were included at the project as consulting partners who gave the opinions about
educational capacity of our program and suitability of the performances for the students. The
teachers were present at every performance played at schools. They watched and continually
observed the reactions of students.

During the project we organized three roundtables for teachers and students and interviewed
the teachers. The roundtables were organized after finishing the performances cycles in one
school. The aims of roundtables were a discussion with school teachers about the program
effects; the students were present too, because the idea of our project is opening the
communication channels in school and support students’ participation in treating relevant

Statistical analysis
In order to check the differences between the responses of the experimental and the control
groups, T-test has been implemented.

After collecting the questionnaires and the interviews, we got the following results:


The first phase of research was focused on registering the presence of bullying in chosen
classes. The main aim was to invite the students to think and talk about bullying in their

The Block 1 from first phase

The students answered the first questionnaire before watching the performance. Obtained
results showed how much the students are informed about the topic of violence and bullying.

The first question was: Which is the best definition of violence and as the answers were two
options? Participants had opportunities to mark the definition which is correct in their opinion.
The trick of this question is that the both offered definitions are correct (Blazić, 2013). The
obtained results show that all participants are well informed about the topic, there is no the
sentence selected less than 34% of students. However, most of the students think that the best
definition of violence is a situation where stronger and more powerful person hurts and
intimidate weaker person intentionally and often. In previous discussion we said that there are
many different definitions of violence, but the convention is that the violent behavior can be
defined as intentional and repetitive expression of physical or verbal forms of aggression for
the purpose of causing physical injury, causing psychological pain and suffering or exercise
control and power over another person (Davidović, 2012; Popović-Ćitić, 2006).

Fig. 1. The questionnaire from first phase of research, Block 1. The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade were marked by V, VI,

The second question was: Were you present at any scene of violence at school during the last
school year? The question was constructed at the beginning of school year. The obtained results
show that more than 55% of students were present at some situation of violence, as bully,
victim or observer. 31% to 45% of participants stated that they were not present in a situation
of violence during last school year. This results demonstrate the needs of schools to be a
participants and be included in projects like this which we started.

The third question was constructed with the aim to show what kind of violence the participants
who answered the previous question with “yes” met. The results showed that there were more
victims of verbal than of physical violence, but the difference between these two categories is
not big, even more, the results of the students from 5th grade showed that there isn't a
significant difference between verbal and physical violence. The obtained results from the
respondents from 7th grade indicated that the physical violence is more present than the verbal,
or were more visible when appeared. The results from 8th grade indicated that, at that age, the
verbal violence is twice more frequent than the physical.
The 4th question informs about the places where violence happened. The offered answers were:
a schoolyard, a school hallway, a toilet and a classroom, but the interviewees were able to
record some other places. One participant reported violence at changing room. The obtained
results showed that the most frequent violence happened in the schoolyard (46-63%) and
school hallway (37-56%); the violence is less present at classroom (19-34%) and school toilet

In the 5th question we asked the participants if they have ever been victims of violence. The
most frequent answer was “No” (63-78%), but a disturbing information was that from 22 to 37
percentages of participants were a victims of violence. The students of 5th and 6th grades more
frequently identified themselves as victims (32-37%) than the students of 7th and 8th grades (22-
24%). The statistical analyses showed the differences between pre and post-test situations. As
an effect of project implementation, participants are more willing to recognize and inform
about being present at a scene of violence at school (Annex 1, pp2). That shows that one of
positive effects of this project is bigger openness and readiness of students to notice report and
analyze situations of violence.

In the 6th question, we asked the participants are they talking about bullying at school? The
most frequent answers were positive (61-80%). The results also showed that the students from

5th grade less talk about a bullying at school (61%) than the older students. It shows that project
activities are well age-tempered and cover relevant age span for this issue.

The last question from the questionnaire implemented before the workshop, was about
participant's experience at workshops using acting or some creative work on the topic of
violence. The participants answered that they have experience in artistic work on the topic of
violence (15-54%). Interestingly, results showed that younger participants more frequently
experienced workshops than the older (more than 50% of 5th-grade student answered with
“yes”). This question shows how much is drama education present in schools (fig. 1).

The performance “Backpack”

After collected questionnaires from the previous phase, we went to the classes where the
performances were done.

The performance which we played in first phase named “Backpack” has been realized in form
of drama piece. The bullying problem was presented by many scenes among which the most
striking scene represented boy who was victim and whom his class’s friends treated as a thing –
the backpack. The performance duration per workshop session was ten minutes and after that
followed the interactive workshop part with students. Whole session lasted 45 minutes.

Performances have been implemented with the aim to involve the audience, provoke empathy
in participants and make them more sensitive to the topic. After the performance, a facilitator
invites the group to participate in the interactive workshop. First a special and physical
evaluation of the occurrence of bullying takes place, where the students are given certain tasks
considering the theme, to place themselves in different positions or different parts of the
classroom. The rest of the workshop was directed at the participant's experiences about
bullying; they analyzed the roles of the bully, victim and the others, through different
drama/theatre games and exercises. The main aim of workshops was to open the
communication between participants in the class, support discussion and exchange of opinions
and develop sensitivity to issue of violence. We tried to point to the students that they are one
community which has to stick together (that showed why the name of our project Togetherness
is) and protect each other. The next important aim was to talk with students what they thought
they could do in a bullying situation.

Emotional atmospheres on workshops varied from group to group but at each workshop
session, we noticed increase of involvement and emotional response as time passed. We noted
that the students were satisfied with this model of work. The students were also very interested
in drama work.

From the methodological point of view, a workshop is a form of activity where every
participant is inseparably involved in group activities and actively working/learning through
that experience (Ognjenović et al, 1996). The central activity is exchange within the circle with
every participant contributing to group process. This gives every participant an opportunity to
create a social event using various models of expression. In addition, it precludes the situation
of focused dyadic interaction in which some members are favorites whereas the others are
passive – it precludes the formation of small privileged circles within the circle (Ognjenović,
Škorc, 2003). Workshop form of work helps group cohesion and this way prevents future
conflicts and interpersonal disagreements. Also, there is lack of such participative methods in

The Block 2 from first phase

After participating the workshops students answered second block of the questionnaire. This
questionnaire is constructed to analyze the effects of the performance. The control group of
students who didn’t participate in the workshop answered the same questionnaire.

In first question we asked the participants if they thought the scene from the performance was
realistic. The most frequent answer was that the scene has been experienced as realistic (70-
100%). The older students more agreed that the scene is realistic than the youngest (the
participants from 8th grade answered with 100%).

The second question explored if the students ever attended at the similar scene in their schools.
The obtained results showed the increase of positive answers from the students of 5th grade to
the students of 7th grade (from 40% to 72%) and the sudden decrease from the students of 8th
grade (17%). This decrease should be explained with the increasing of a verbal violence which
was noted at Block 1 (fig.1).

The third question asks the participants had they ever been a victim of bullying. This question
is comparative with the question from the Block 1: Have you ever been a victim of violence?
The obtained results clarify how much the workshop helps students in understanding their own
states and behaviors. The positive answers varied from 34% to 83%. We can see the increase of
positive answers from 5th to 8th grades. These results showed difference if we compare them
with positive answers prom Block 1 (22-37%). The same trend is showed in control group,
where there were 20% of positive answers. Analyzing the results, we may conclude that the
performance had a positive effect in helping the students to recognize their and others
aggressive behaviors. It is in accordance with expected project impact - increased sensitivity of
students to recognize and talk about violence.

The next question (Have you ever bullied someone?) showed how much the participants
recognize their own aggressive behaviors. The results showed that the frequency of the positive
answers decreases from 5th to 8th grades (36-13%). The control group showed a low frequency
of positive answers (13%), as expected.

Fig. 2a. The questionnaire from first phase of research, Block 2. The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade were marked by V,

By the 5th question we tested what the participants think about the solutions for bullied person.
The offered answers were - to reply by violence, to talk with teachers, friends, or parents about
the problem. The students had an opportunity to offer their response. The most frequent
answers were that the bullied person should talk with a teacher (20-66%) or with parents about

the problem (45-66% of the students who participated in the performance and 74% of the
control group of students). The solutions were like having conversations with bully,
psychologist, pedagogue, class teacher, school principal. The most of suggestions were that the
victim must not remain silent or passive. If the problems with bullying would be continually
repeated and the school organization couldn’t find any solution to stop it, the students
suggested to ask for help from the authorities. Some of the suggestions from students were that
teachers cannot help in bullying prevention; this suggested that teachers have been seen as
passive and they need additional help in the coping with this situation.

The results from the earlier research programs in Serbian schools show that the most successful
approach to preventing school violence is broad and general, the one that includes all the
people in the school, students and staff. Best if it starts early, at preschool age, deals with the
entire educational program and is not limited to individual students or particular subject, which
focuses on building a positive climate at the school, which does not tolerate violence, and if
positive behavior is encouraged and rewarded. Prevention programs were more successful
when they have the support of teachers, parents and social environment in which the school is
located. The role of teachers is particularly emphasized in the implementation of prevention
programs which can be realized through activities designed by classes and peer groups, whose
aim is to continuously enhance pro-social behaviors like empathy and altruism, and develop
sense of confidence, self-esteem and skills of non-violent communication (Đurišić , 2015;
Popović-Ćatić, 2012).

The 6th question asked the students did they think they were better informed about the topic
after participating in the workshop. Results show that 62% - 79% students think they learned
something more about the bullying through our performance. The result confirms the
contention that TIE is a good model for learning (Ognjenović et al, 1996) (fig.2A). It shows
that project activities brought many-leveled impacts, some short term impacts have been visible
immediately, such as feeling of being well informed and more interested in related issues, some
of impacts are expected to be long lasting, such as being more sensitive and open to problems
of bulling and potential solutions.

A next question was: If you played at a performance about bullying which role would you like
to play? The offered answers were: the bully, the bullied person and the observer. The most
frequent answers of students were the role of observer (50-73% of students who participated
the workshop and 81% of the control group who didn’t participate). The interesting is that we
asked the same question during the workshop and then, in the very moment after the
performance, majority of students chose to act a role of victim.

Fig. 2b. The questionnaire from first phase of research, Block 2. The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade were marked by V,

In the next question, we asked the students if the performance was interested for them. The
majority answered that it was (86-100%). We also asked the control group did they interest in
participating in drama workshops at school and they answered positively with 90%. That shows
that students demonstrated big need and interest to go deeper in the topic.

The 73-95% of students confirmed that they learned something new about the bullying at the
workshops. The highest range of positive answers was from the students from 8th grade (95%).

The results of 10th question from the Block 2 investigated if the students were interested in
continuing with drama workshops, 84-91% of students answered positively. The control group
also answered that they would like to participate in drama workshops about a bullying (87%).
That is important information because we plan to continue with the workshops with the same
groups in the next phase of the project. The statistical analyses showed that the experimental
group is more interested in drama workshops if they continue at their school than control group
(Annex1, pp3).

The results obtained from the 11th question showed that the students were interested in
preparing performances about the topic that they recommend. These results are in accordance
with our idea of work at devising process in preparing the performances with students. The
devising process includes the cycles of drama workshops which collect and develop the
student's personal materials (ideas, attitudes, impressions, suggestions, and etc.). This material
will be elaborated together with the group and developed to the final performance. The
analyses showed increase of students’ interest in preparing performances based on the topics
that recommend (Annex1, pp3).

The last question from the Block 2 measured how much students are interested in drama
workshops which contain the movement, dance or music. Obtained results showed that the
majority of students were interested (80-87% of students who participated the workshop and
70% of the control group who didn’t participate). The results showed that students are
interested in different media of theatre (fig.2b). Experimental group is more interested in drama
workshops if they continue in their schools than control group (Annex1, pp3)


In second phase of research we focused on cyberbullying topic according to the results of
interactive part of first performance. In interactive parts, we divided the students in groups and
asked them to prepare a short drama plays about the most frequently present forms of bullying
in their classes. The most frequent situations have been bullying scenes recorded by cell phone.

The second phase of research started with the beginning of new school year. The participants
were the students from 6th and 7th classes who participated the first phase together with new
groups of students from 1st and 2nd classes of high school. Our first idea was to include only 1st
grade students and compare the experience with 8th grade students from last year. The high
schools were chosen randomly because the students continued educations in different schools.
The 2nd grades were added to research by recommendation of teachers, who watched the
performance and suggested it was valuable tool for this age.

The Block 1 from second phase

The students answered the first questionnaire before watching the performance. Obtained
results showed how much the students learned about bullying during the first performance, how
much they were informed about the topic of cyberbullying and how much experience they have
in drama in education.

The first question was: Have you witnessed any kind of bullying during last school year? The
question is similar to the second question from the first questionnaire from the first phase. The
idea of asking the same question was to show how much the bullying problem changed during
one school year. The obtained results showed that the bullying is the most frequent in 7th grade
(61%). The lowest percent of bullying is observed in 2nd grade (29.5%), while 8th and 1st
grade were in the middle (53% and 44%). The control group rate was 35%. The result is in
accordance with findings of previous studies that showed highest level of peer violence in early
adolescent age about 11 and 12 years (Popadić, 2009). Also, since there is difference between
project participants and non-participants of the same age, it shows that participation in the
project increase readiness to perceive and talk about violence.
In addition to that, in the first phase, 6th graders responded with yes in 69%, 7th in 65%, 8th
graders in 58% and control group in 72%. According to results, the presence of bulling was
decreased. This decrease could be understood from many different points of view: as a result of
project activities, as a result of spontaneous maturation od students, as a result of the preventive
actions organized by governmental and many nongovernmental organizations. We find our
method specific and effective, because it provokes emotional experience, so we believe that the
program brought the strongest impact on bullying prevention and decrease of bulling rate.
In second question we asked the students to estimate the presence of different kinds of bullying
in their classes. All groups rated verbal with the highest scores and cyberbullying as least
frequent. The rates decrease from 7th to 1st grades. The highest scores of all kinds of bullying

are visible at 7th grade, which could be related with socio-emotional moment and adolescent
age which in characterized by the aggressive behaviors (Goleman, 2006).
The 3rd question was about the student’s experiences with cyberbullying. More than 50% of
subjects experienced cyberbullying. The results showed that the cyberbullying is the most
present in 2nd grade in high schools. Evidently, internet skills are preconditions for this type of
bulling and older age is more affected by this form of violence.

The 4th question asked students to estimate how often they see the offensive photos, videos and
verbal aggression in the internet. This question showed students behaviors about sharing
offensive contents. The results are similar to those of second question which registered forms
of bullying. The gossiping (verbal aggression) was rated with the highest scores. The highest
rates for all categories were present at 1st grade. The offensive photos were in the second place,
videos at third. The obtained results showed the parallel between the real and virtual worlds
regarding the incidence of violence, and also show the presence of cyberbullying in real
student’s environment.

The 5th question asked students if they met any case of cyberbullying in their schools. Only 7th
graders answered with “yes” in more than 50%, the other responses were about 40%. The
results showed lower range of cyberbullying compared with scores from the year 2013, where
they were between 62 and 84% (Popadić, Kuzmanović, 2013) which probably reflects positive
effects of many different programs and activities with students implemented in the meantime.

The 6th question was: Have you ever uploaded any offensive content on the internet, yours or
someone else's? The positive answers were for about 10%. The highest frequency of “yes” was
found in students of 1st grade of high school (17%). This grade showed the highest rate of
cyberbullying presence too (fig. 3a).

Fig. 3a. The questionnaire from second phase of research, Block 1. The 7th, 8th grades of elementary school, 1st and
2nd grade of high school were marked by VII, VIII, Ims and IIms.

The 7th was: Have you ever been a victim of the cyberbullying? Obtained results indicate that
the victims are present in every grade (7-12.5%). The highest rate of cyberbullying was in 7th
grade (12.5%), the lowest rate was in 1st grade (5.5%), in control group it was 9%.

In 8th question we asked the students did they talk about cyberbullying at school classes or at
some other place. The majority of subjects confirmed. Interestingly, 2nd high school grade
replied with “yes” n 75%, showing the highest rate of responses.

Fig. 3b. The questionnaire from second phase of research, Block 2. The 7th, 8th grades of elementary school, 1st and
2nd grade of high school were marked by VII, VIII, Ims and IIms.

The 9th question was: Have you ever been at a workshop where you played or at creative way
worked at any topic? This question was in questionnaire in first phase. The idea of repeating
was to measure the presence of drama in education as a tool for resolving important problems
with students. The results varied and showed that the 8th grade had the most experience with
DIE (79%) and the 2nd grade the lowest (29.5%), 1st grade (71%) had more experience than the
7th (45%) and the control group showed the average (49%). The results obtained in first phase
showed lower rates of “yes” answer: 6th and 7th grades showed 26% and 21% and 8th grade
15%. The increase of positive responses in 6th and 7th grades, could be strong argument for
increased use of drama techniques in ordinary classes.

5.2.2. The performances “The rainforest of the global network”

After collected questionnaires from the previous phase, we went to the classes where the
performances were done. The performance duration was 90 minutes.

The performance was interactive and in a form of musical. It was about a girl who was bullied
by her friends because they were jealous on her successes. The girl didn’t find any support,
neither from friends nor from parents and she decides to kill herself. In this moment the
audience appeared responsible for girl’s destiny and they had to find the best solution for her.

The performance combined DIE elements, presented in segments where actors talked with the
audience using drama technique actor-teacher and gave the word to the audiences. The
audience was included all the time during the performance, they gave opinions about problem
and they created solutions for characters, especially for the main character, since they felt
uncomfortable with her situation. The uncomfortable zone treats the students to think about the
cyberbullying problem and search for the solution. After the performance followed the
discussions where the students got time to give some feedback or share personal experiences.
This was occasion for students to “open themselves” to each other during workshops.

The performance is serious and opens the key problem about consequences of cyberbullying –
the fact that public materials on internet stay there forever. The youngest students didn’t
understand that fact and our experience showed that the performance helped them in better
viewing the fact. During the most dramatic moments in performance, they often started to laugh
which showed their uneasiness, natural reaction to the unconformable situation. The older
students understood the problem very well and they often discussed the possible solutions for
the victim. These moments were important because the student started to think about
importance of friends, good relations and support, which are not very common in modern
society, especially for children and youth from digital era (Kaukiainen, et al, 1999).

Daniel Goleman (2006) in his explanation of importance of emotional and social intelligence
describes five skill sets that comprise emotional intelligence: (1) self-awareness, the ability to
recognize one's own emotions and to recognize the effect those emotions have on others; (2)
self-regulation, the ability to think before acting, to control one's impulses; (3) internal
motivation, the ability to do something for internal rather than external reasons; (4) empathy,
the ability to sympathize with other people; and (5) social skills, the ability to find and build
connections among and between people. He advocated the claim that emotional and social
intelligence can and does develop over time.

The theatre experience makes the connection between performers, storyline and audience. Play
is accepted as the reality, group is attracted by story and starts searching for the solutions. The
audiences are put in the uncomfortable zone which force them to think about behaviors and
how to change them (Dewey, 2014).

The Block 2 from second phase

After the performance, students answered the second block of the questions. The questionnaire
was constructed to analyze the effects of participation in the interactive theatre performance
and attitudes toward cyberbullying. The control group of students who didn’t watch the
performance answered the same questionnaire.

In first question participants were asked to estimate from 1 to 5 how much the story was
realistic to them. The responses were in range between 3.97 and 4.39. This small scattering
showed that the participants shared the opinion that the story is realistic. In the next question
the participants were asked how much performance made them thinking about cyberbullying.
Like before, the answers were in the close range between 3.45 and 3.82 (very much). The
responses higher than average indicate that performance stimulated them to think about

The third question indicated the participants’ experience with cyberbullying in their schools.
The question is similar from the first block (question 5). The purpose of this was to check how
much the TIE brought effects on learning about cyberbullying. The 53% of 7th graders
answered that they know more. The other grades had lower results; the lowest was the result for
the 2nd grade of high school: 37%. The control group had 39%. Comparison with results from
the first block showed the similar rate, which means that performance didn’t inspire the
participants to find more cases of the cyberbullying.

The 4th question was same as from the first questionnaire (7th question). The result showed rate
of cyberbullying victims in the classes, which was from 3-10% and which is less than before
the performance –5.5-12.5%. The ratio of values was equal in both results. Obtained difference
is small, but indicates the trend of TIE in preventing the cyberbullying.

The 5th question was about doing the cyberbullying to someone. Every tested group had
persons who answered that they did some cyberbullying (from 4 to 15%). The frequency of
bullies was low, bit higher than the frequency of victims. The highest percent was at 1st grade

and the lowest at 8th grade. This trend is similar as in the first questionnaire and it could be
connected with changes in school environment during the beginning of high school.

The 6th task was scoring on scale from 1 to 5: What is in your opinion the best solution for the
victim of cyberbullying? The offered answers were: not to speak about problem; to speak about
problem with a teacher or a psychologist; to speak about problem with a friend; to speak about
problem with parents; something else. The most frequent responses in all groups were “to
speak with parents” (4.28-4.52%); “to speak with a teacher or a psychologist” (3.68-4%); “to
speak with friend” (3.57-4.1%); and the lowest “not to talk about it” (1.27-1.6%). The trends of
responses were the same; only deviations were in 2nd grade where the frequencies “to speak
with friend” were lower than “to speak with parents”.

In the option “add something else”, the participants wrote their solutions for the victim. The
solutions named varied, but they could be classified in several categories. The younger
participants thought that the best solution is to ignore the problem; they explained that this it is
trivial. The older participants didn’t find this as good solution, which probably shows they are
familiar with a cyberbullying. All participants wrote that a victim had to talk to someone and
ask for help. There were a lot of suggestions to report to the police. Many participants wrote
that the problem is serious and the victim must be strong. Some solutions were that the victim
has to change him/herself or to confront with the bully, even to respond by aggression.

In addition, we asked the participants how they would help the victim. The most frequent
answer was that they would somehow support a victim. The solutions for supporting were:
talking, being with the person, help person in finding the solution, support the person, ask for
help… A lot of participants answered they would report to someone (teachers, victim’s parents,
police), but most of them didn’t have feeling they should need the permission of the victim.
Several participants wrote that they wouldn't help the victim without specifying how to do that.

In 7th question the participants were asked to score in the scale from 1 to 5, how much new
knowledge they got from the performance. The answers were distributed from 3 to 4. The
highest effects was recorded by 2nd grade of high school, the 7th grade answered that they
learned the least. We think that obtained results satisfy the project aims taking into account
different programs of cyberbullying prevention realized in Serbian schools.

Fig. 4a. The questionnaire from second phase of research, Block 2. The 7th, 8th grades of elementary school, 1st and
2nd grade of high school were marked by VII, VIII, Ims and IIms.

The next question was: If you played in school performance which role would you like to play?
The offered solutions were: the victim, the bully, the observer, the parents, the teachers. The
frequency of the participants who choose the role of the victim increased from 7th to 2nd grade
(from 14 to 39%). The frequency of participants who chose the role of observer decreased from
7th grade with 28% to 2nd grade with 11%. Control group had the highest frequency of solution
“the observer”, which give the information about the positive impact on activating the youth in
confronting to the cyberbullying. The elementary school participants were more interested in
playing the role of teachers than in high schools; which is in correlation with change of age
needs. The percentage of students interested in playing the role of the bully varies from group
to group and most frequent is in 1st grade, which confirmed that the rate of risky behaviors
increases in new and unpredictable circumstances such as new school environment
(Kaukiainen, et al, 1999).

Students’ attitudes towards playing the roles of the bully, the victim and the observer showed a
big change between first and second phases of research. In the first phase the participants were
most interested in playing the role of the observer. In the second phase the students’ interest in
role of the observer significantly changed and decreased from 7th grade of elementary school to
2nd grade of high school. Obtained results could suggest that TIE has effect on bully prevention.

In 9th question participants scored how much they were interested in the performance. The
students rated their interest between 3 and 4. The 2nd-grade students showed highest interest in
the performance.

The last three questions showed how much the students are interested in DIE method as a tool
for investigation important topics in their lives. The same question was in the first phase and
was repeated in the second with aim to monitor the change of students’ responses regarding
DIE. This result confirmed previous result that more than 70% students are interested to
continue work with our artistic team. In the first phase the results were between 85 and 90%. 6th
and 7th grades from the first phase had the frequencies of “yes” answers 85 - 90% and the same
grades 7th and 8th in the second phase 82 - 79%. The obtained results pointed that students are
still interested to continue with drama workshops.

Next question measured students’ interest in preparing performances about the topics which
they recommend. “yes” answers ranges between 76 - 90% in the second phase and 74 - 83% in
the first phase. 6th and 7th grades from the first phase had the frequencies of “yes” answers
between 74 - 84% and the same grades 7th and 8th in the second phase 86 - 90%. The results
showed that the students were a little more interested in preparing the performances about their

58% of students were interested in drama workshops which contain movement, dance or music.
6th and 7th grades from the first phase had the frequencies of “yes” between 83 - 100% and the

same grades 7th and 8th in the second phase 62.5 - 63%. The results showed that the students
were less interested in drama workshops which contain movement, dance or music after the
second performance which was in form of musical. The reason of this fall of the interesting
could be change of interest and acquisition of new forms of self-expression (fig. 4b).

Fig. 4b. The questionnaire from second phase of research, Block 2. The 7th, 8th grades of elementary school, 1st and
2nd grade of high school were marked by VII, VIII, Ims and IIms.

The interviews with teachers
After the events, we interviewed the teachers who were watching the performances. The
teachers gave their feedbacks and tried to evaluate, interpret and explain the reactions of the

All interviewed teachers found the performances well adapted for the students' problems about
the bullying. They emphasized that the artistic approach gave the new dimension to work with
students and had a form of subtle attack on their emotions which made them space for changes.
The theatre doesn’t give direct information what they have to do; it represents the facts and
give the audience chance to make their own conclusions. The teachers told that the schools
have a lot of programs for bullying preventions: school psychologists and pedagogues talk with
students, lead the workshops, the class teachers talk about the problems at the classes, the
Ministry of education send different programs (the most popular program is “School without
violence”, supported by UNICEF), but the bully problem is very complex and needs different

The teachers told that the students were well informed about the cyberbullying but they were
always on the internet and always exposed to risk. The students from all grades use cell phones
and social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Viber groups… That is our reality and we have to
teach the students how to use that correctly, not as a tool for spreading the animosity. One
teacher said she has told her students that it was better to turn off the cell phone if they were

All teachers told that the students must learn that the violence is punishable in all forms and the
bully must be punished, a school does it with decreasing a mark for behavior. They explained
that the punishing is not the best solution, but if the bully passes unpunished he/she won’t
understand his/her act.

Teachers commented the reactions of students during both performances. They explained that
students laughed or looked uninterested during some parts, but that is their defensive reaction
to personal problems and strong emotions. The students are adolescents and they pass through
the phase of recognition of themselves and building personal identity (Kaukiainen, et al, 1999).
The students also had different reactions when they are in group and when they are alone. The
teachers suggested that the biggest quality of our program is a presentation of bully problems
using the gentle drama form which started as a joke and gently evolved into a serious form. The

teachers pointed that all student stopped laughing when the topic changed and became more

The teachers agreed that the best solution for every problem including the bullying is to talk
about it. They told they will talk with the students about the performances. Serbian language
teachers will give students to write an essay about their impressions.

All teachers were interested to continue with the program in their schools and see it as one of
the necessary tools for learning.

The roundtables
During the project, we organized three roundtables which gathered teachers and students who
participated in the workshops. The main reason for round tables were in making space for open
dialogue between teachers and their students. The dialogue was moderated by asking the
questions about the bullying problem, the solutions for this problem and the effects of drama
workshops on bullying in school.

The teachers explained that class teachers have talked with students about the bullying and
showed the videos. They pointed that the TIE, including the performances and the workshops
with students, was very good solution for prevention the problem. They suggested that the
program should be continued. The workshops are necessary for working with students because
they can help them to develop tolerance, sensibility for differences and to change and modify
their mechanical reactions and behaviors. They also noted that the students needed the drama
workshops as a regular practice. That will adapt the students to work in less conventional ways
and prepare them to exist as a group. When the students broke the barriers between each other,
they showed their kindness and honesty.

The teachers report that students don’t usually ask them for help, because there are a lot of
teachers who don’t want to be responsible. Many teachers don’t even want to talk with
students. The whole school community has to be responsible for the problems.

Students’ responses to the question what is the common reaction on bullying situation showed
that teachers or somebody of school staff usually reacted. Sometimes the students resolved the
conflict by themselves. The escalation and stopping of the conflict is just a temporary situation
that doesn’t solve the problem. Conversation with teachers and parents should be better

solution. It is very important to find a teacher who is willing to go in conversation and who is
authoritative and respectable for the bully.

The common process in bullied situation is to stop the conflict and then to analyze the conflict
situation, organize conversation with students, involve parents and experts. In school practice,
if nothing of named solutions help in solving the problem, aggressive behavior of the student is

The special violence prevention programs exist in Serbian schools during last three years and it
supports students to notice and report violence. The teams of teachers and parents work
together on the problem of violence. In the same time, tendency to conceal and minimalize
violence is still present in groups of students. Many students think that reporting of the violence
is personal matter and sort of betrayal of friend.

We finished the program of prevention of the bullying using TIE. Results show that the team is
very satisfied with the achievement in general. Group collaborated very well during all phases
of the project. Implementations were very satisfied with collaboration with all project partners.

In general, the project was done very well and was implemented without problems; the schools
were open for collaboration; the students interacted during the performances; student’s
questionnaires were regularly implemented; teachers were open for interviewing; roundtables
were realized in good atmosphere. Both students and teachers are interested to continue with

Each group of students was unique. Implementations were not able to record the reactions of
the students, since permission of parents was required. After each performance,
implementations talked with students about their impressions. Students were open and shared a
lot of personal experiences.

Sometimes during the work, the team noticed that some students were ashamed to talk about
their problems with their peers. When they were in groups, they were hesitant to open
completely and show their personal needs. During interactive part of our performances, they
tried to attract the attention of schoolmates and that way avoid painful and personal matters.

Our performances were developed in cooperation with the audience. We had to adapt them to
different playing places and circumstances. We watched reactions of students and changed the
parts which were not well accepted (Internal evaluation in Annex 3 and 4).

In this research, we investigated the potential of TIE in the prevention of the bullying problem
in school. The focus of our research was opening the communication channels between the
students and their teachers about the bullying problem and to point the problem of
cyberbullying. The research was realized with elementary and high school students who
participated in workshops.
During the research we concluded:
1. The students are well informed about the bullying and cyberbullying. They talk at schools
about the bully problem (61-80% of students) and cyberbullying as well (50-75%).
2. More than 55% of students were present at some situation of violence, as bully, victim or
observer; 39-55% were present at some situation with cyberbullying.
3. The violence is present in many places in school.
4. 22 to 37% of students were a victim of violence and 7-12.5% of students were a victim of
5. 15-54% participants have experience in artistic work on the topic of violence; younger
participants reported they have more experience than the older.
6. Participation in performance had a positive effect in helping students to recognize the
aggressive behaviors and talk about personal experiences. Before the performance 22-37% of
the students answered that they were the victims of the bullying, after that it was 34-83%. The
same trend was visible with cyberbullying victims in the classes, 3-10% which is less than
before the performance – 5.5-12.5%.
7. 13-36% of the students reported that they bullied someone, after participating in the
performance. The control group of students who didn’t participate in performance showed
8. 45-66% of the students who participated the performance and 74% of the control group of
students think that talking with parents is the best solution for bullied person.
9. 62-79% of students think that they learned something more about the bullying during
performances. In the first phase of research 50-73% of the students answered that they would
like to play the role of observer if they played in the performance. In the second phase the
interesting in playing the bully role decreased on 14-39%.
10. 84-91% (great majority) of students are interested to continue with drama workshops.
11. For about 10% of students uploaded some offensive content from the internet and 4-
15% of the students did some cyberbullying.
12. All observed groups of students were interested in drama work, the performances about
topic which they recommend and drama workshops which contain movement, dance or music.

We owe special thanks to Erasmus+ project which supported this investigation; the whole
project team: Sanja Krsmanović-Tasić, Kristina Mlađenović, Jugoslav Hadžić, Olivera
Milojević, Jovana Mihić and Nikola Koruga; ES „Vuk Karadžić“, ES „Ljubomir Nenadović“,
ES „Milan Rakić“, Fourth gymnasium from Belgrade, Student’s dormitory of Agricultural
school PKB; the R.U.IN? project partners: Open circle (Hungary), Theatre and esc. (Cyprus)
and Sigma art (Romania); CEDEUM team; our colleagues and friends.

Bazić, B. The phenomenon of bullying and forms of their manifestation, Heritage, 35, 2013.

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The structure of the groups of subjects:

Group Schools involved Total Gender
General form of ES “Lj. Nenadović”, 250 Girls=42%
questionnaire – N=57 Boys=58%
project ES “V. Karadžić”,
participants N=193
2. General form ES “Ljuba Nenadović”, 31 Girls=58%
of questionnaire – N=31 Boys=42%
3. Final ES “Lj. Nenadović”, 196 Girls=47%
evaluation form N=40 Boys=53%
of questionnaire - ES “V. Karadzić”,
participants N=156

Table summarizes and shows frequencies and percentages of responses, for the items that could
be statistically compared. Items 1, 5, 6 and 7 couldn’t be compared, since there were not
repeated measures, all other items were included in testing.
contro contro experimenta experimenta experimenta
l l l group – l group – experimenta l group –
group group initial initial l group – final
a. b. a. b. b.

1. 13 56% 10 44%

of violence

2. Presence 9 41% 13 59% 15 65% 8 35%

to violence

3. Kind of 11 61% 7 39%


4. Being a 6 20% 24 2 10% 19 90% 12 52% 11 48%

victim 80%

5. Talk 10 45% 12 55%


5. Doing 4 13% 26 9 39% 14 61%

bullyng 87%

6. Know 17 74% 6 26%


7. Presence 11 50% 11 50%


8. Interested 27 3 10% 20 87% 3 13%

in new 90%

9. Interested 25 5 17% 20 87% 3 13%

in 83%

10. 21 9 19 83% 4 17%

Interested 70%
in music


1. Procedure: In order to check the differences between the responses of control group,
experimental pre-test and experimental post-test groups, T-test has been implemented.

2. Results

Were you present at any scene of violence at school during the last school year?
c) Yes
d) No

Results show statistical differences between pre and post-test situations. As an effect of project
implementation, participants are more willing to recognize and inform about being present at a
scene of violence at school. T-test=7,7; df=1, p<0.05. We can assume that as an effect of
project implementation, students are less willing to “turn their heads away” from the scene of
violence and to face with issue of violence in school.
Have you ever been a victim of bullying?
c) Yes
d) No

Interestingly, the participants’ willingness to admit their experience of being victims is changed
during program. As an effect of program, participants are more willing to see themselves as
victims of violence. Among many reasons for this finding, probably most important are
increased sensitivity to issue of violence, and increased courage and readiness to recognize and
admit this experience.
Comparisons between experimental post-test and other groups show statistically significant
differences. There are statistically significant differences between control group, experimental
pre-test (treated as one group) and experimental post-test group (after the project
implementation). T-test shows differences between experimental post-test and all other groups.
T-test=5,73, df=2, p<0,03.
There are no statistically significant differences between control group and experimental group
in initial phase (pre-test situation), before the project has been implemented. T-test control –
experimental pre-test = 5,69, df=1, p<0,11. According to results, control group and

experimental group in initial phase could be statistically treated as one group and levels of
seeing themselves as victims are equal.
Effects of the project are visible on the subjects’ readiness to recognize, admit and face with
being exposed to violence. One of positive effects of project is probably creation of safe
environment and opening possibility for students to face with and talk about violence and their
personal experiences with that.

Have you ever bullyed someone?

c) Yes
d) No

Results: As expected, there is no difference between control and experimental group in seeing
if they bullied someone. It is expected, since the self-perception of being involved in bullying
was not in the focus of project. T=5,69, df=1, p<0.23. In the same time, perception of being
violent toward somebody else requires the ability for subtle self-reflection and self-critics, the
process that needs systematic approach and more time to develop.
Will you be interested in drama workshops if they continue at your school?
c) Yes
d) No

Results: Experimental group is more interested in drama workshops if they continue at their
school than control group. The effect of the program on experimental group is approved.
T=49,00, df=1, p<0.01. Seems like among the positive effects of the project there are increased
interest and willingness to be involved in similar creative activities and to develop future forms
of work with violence and contribute to an improvement of the school atmosphere.
Would you be interested in preparing performances about topics that you recommend?
c) Yes
d) No

Results: Experimental group is more interested in preparing performances about topics that
they recommend than control group. The effect of program on experimental group is approved.
T-test=11,77, df=1, p<0.02. This finding is in accordance with previous finding and is related
to increased interest for this, specific type of work. It also shows that there is need to include
more topics in work with students.
Are you interested in drama workshop which contains movement, dance or music?
c) Yes

d) No

Results: There is statistically significant difference between control and experimental group.
The groups are not equally interested in attempting drama workshops that contains movement,
dance and music. Similar to previous findings, experimental group is more interested in future
workshops using more creative tools and media. The effect of the program on experimental
group is approved. T=11,77, df=1, p<0.05.
3. General conclusion:

Positive changes of experimental group could be summarized as:

 Increasing of students’ sensitivity to issue of bullying,
 Increasing of students’ readiness to recognize and face with this problem in school
 Increasing of students’ readiness to confess their personal experiences with being victims.

In the same time, there is significantly increased interest for participation in future drama
workshop activities, both actively as participant and less active as the audience. It is also visible
that students became more interested in the broader scope of related creative activities,
introducing new media, forms, and issues. These findings could be understood as one of project
effects represented by support and encouragement of youth participation, as well as a
contribution to youth activism. The results of this phase of the research give strong arguments
for further development and continuation of project activities.

In order to evaluate project impact, special forms of questionnaire have been designed and
implemented. It measured few groups of indicators:
- Frequency, level and incidence of violence: was it present; how often; what types of
violence participant witnessed;

- Frequency, level and incidence of cyberbullying: was it present, how often; what types of
cyberbullying participant witnessed;

- Control measures such as: gender of participants, age of participants, school participants
attended and participation/non-participation in Togetherness project.

1. Research design

I order to measure effects of project “Togetherness”, questionnaires have been implemented: 1.

The general form of a questionnaire on the group of project participants, 2. The general form of
the questionnaire on the group of students who were not included in project and 3. Final
evaluation questionnaire on the group of project participants.
2. Subjects

The structure of the groups of subjects:

Group Schools involved Total Gender
General form of ES “Lj. Nenadović”, 215 Girls=47%
questionnaire – N=96 Boys=53%
project ES “V. Karadžić”,
participants N=39
ES “M. Rakić”,
“IV Gymnasium”,
Student’s dormitory of
Agriculture school
“PKB”, N=34
2. General form ES “Ljuba Nenadovic” 23 Girls=52%
of questionnaire – (N=23), 7th grade= 13, Boys=48%
non-participants 8th grade=10
3. Final ES “Ljuba Nenadović”, 238 Girls=48%
evaluation form N=90 Boys=52%
of questionnaire - ES “Vuk Karadžić”,
participants N=48
ES “Milan Rakić”,

“IV Gymnasium”,
Student’s dormitory of
Agriculture school
“PKB” , N=54

Average age of subjects: elementary schools: 13.5 high schools: 16

3. Results

3.1. Have you ever witnessed violence?

There is significant difference between elementary and high school participants in initial group,
considering incidence of violence. Violence is more frequently reported in elementary school.
There are no differences between initial high school group and control group in reported
incidence of violence.
T-test Df Significance
Elementary school 4.61 61 0.01*
AM=1.31 High school
AM=1.86 (yes-1; no-2),
Elementary school 2.15 21 0.01*
AM=1.31 Control group
AM=1.56 (yes-1; no-2),
Elementary school 0.70 21 0.40
AM=1.86, Control group
AM=1.56 (yes-1; no-2),

The result is in accordance with findings of previous studies that showed highest level of peer
violence in early adolescent age about 11 and 12 years (Popadić, 2009). Also, since there is
difference between project participants and non-participants of the same age, it shows that
participation in project increase readiness to perceive and talk about violence.

primary secondary control

Fig. 5. The frequency of bullying in elementary and high schools (the results were investifated in percents).
3.2. Type of violence reported (1-5)

Total project Elementary

High school Control
participants in school participants group (Non-
the program participants
N=62 participants
N=215 N=153 in the
Score on a scale of 1 to 5 the presence of forms of bullying in your class
Verbal 3.34 3.69 2.52 3.0
Physical 2.34 2.59 1.72 1.96
Social 3.18 3.25 2.98 2.5
Internet 2.02 2.15 1.79 1.42
Have you ever seen any kind of cyberbullying?
Yes %66.67 62.68% 76.27% 43.48%
Score on a scale of 1 to 5 how much you saw the following kinds of the cyberbullying on
the internet.
Photos 2.84 2.17 1.24 2.41
Videos 2.50 2.32 3.16 2.48
Gossiping 3.25 3.10 2.95 2.86
Do you know any case of a cyberbullying in your school?
Yes 47.7% 50% 41.9% 39.13%
Have you ever uploaded any compromising content on the internet, yours or someone
Yes 11.74% 10.7% 14.5% 8.7%
Have you ever been a victim of the cyberbullying?
Yes 10.43% 11.8% 6.45% 8.7%
Have you ever talked about the cyberbullying at school classes or some else events?
Yes 63.68% 60.9% 69.4% 47.8%
Have you ever been at a workshop where you played or at creative way worked at any
Yes 52.1% 57,5% 38.8% 47.8%

There is tendency in control group to perceive less violence. Also, sensitivity differs with age
and secondary school participants report different profile of violence – more video and
offensive behavior than physical and verbal types of violence.
Being a target to CB is more frequent in secondary than in elementary education.
3.3. Potential solutions for a victim of cyberbullying

(1- not good at all, 5 – best solution)

Solutions Elementary school High school Control group
participants participants Non-participants
N=156 N=81 N=23

don’t speak about 1.30 1.46 1.83

the problem
speak about the 3.93 3.69 3.74
problem with
teacher or
speak about the 3.60 4.10 3.23
problem with
speak about the 4.61 4.28 4.86
problem with
Something else Responses like: report Responses like: she Report to police, talk with
to police, ask for help, needs talk and parents of aggressive
talk to parents of support, help her, guys, talk more with
bullying person, talk to her parents, victim
punish the offenders, don’t do anything,
don’t do anything, sympathize with
ignore the case, talk to her, etc.

offenders, etc.

It is visible from the responses that parents are seen as best solution for participants according
to scales. It is also evident that trust in police as potential helpers decrease with age. Police is
mentioned as helper in elementary schools but not in secondary. It is also expected that
importance of talking with peers and friends are more convenient for secondary school
students, then for younger students. In the same time, the role of parents becomes less
important than was in earlier age.

What role would you Primary school Secondary school Control group
like to play in this N=152 N=81 N=23
Victim 15% 35.1% 9%
Aggressor 12% 9.9% 5%
Observer 26% 13.6% 39%
Parents 24% 29.8% 33%
Teachers 23% 11.11% 14%
total 100 100 100

3. Evaluation questionnaire for participants

How much is story realistic? Arithmetic mean (AM) from 1- nonrealistic to
5- completely realistic
Elementary school 4.42
High school 4.04

How much it made you thinking of Arithmetic mean (AM) from 1- not at all to 5-
cyberbullying? very much
Elementary school 3.82
High school 3.61

How much you learnt about CB from this Arithmetic mean (AM) from 1- nothing new
workshop? to me to 5- completely new to me
Elementary school 3.4

High school 3.0

Elementary school % of yes High school % of yes

N=156 N=82
Is there any case of CB In your 49.4% 28%
Were you ever the victim? 8.33% 4.9%
Did you ever do a CB to 9% 16%

How much was workshop interesting for you? Arithmetic mean (AM) from 1- not at all to 5-
extremely interesting
Elementary school 4.4
High school 4.3

Students are interested very much in this issue and find the performance interesting.

Are you interested to continue with workshop % of yes

in your school?
Elementary school 75
High school 82

Are you interested to continue with workshop % of yes

and choose your issues?
Elementary school 88
High school 64

Are you interested to continue with workshops % of yes

with drama, movement, dance, music?
Elementary school 75
High school 28

There are no significant differences between participants and non-participants regarding
 incidence of cyberbullying in school: AM participants = 1.39, AM non-participants = 1.61,
T = 3.11, non-significant for DF = 22,
 incidence of doing cyberbullying to somebody: AM participants = 1.83, AM non-
participants = 1.91, T = 0.81, non-significant for DF = 22,
 being a victim of cyberbullying: AM participants = 1.95, AM non-participants = 1.91, T =
0.57, non-significant for DF = 22.
 It is evident from all responses that there is big interest and strong positive motivation to
develop future activities in similar direction. Performance, discussion and workshop methods
seem as excellent ways to up-grade education process and enhance youth participation.


The internal evaluation was realized in elementary schools "Vuk Karadžić" and "Ljuba
Nenadović", where the first phase of the project was done. The eight workshops were
organized for grades V, VI, VII and VIII in period from 8th of April to 5th of May. The number
of students per class ranged from 19 to 27. The workshops durations were one school class (45
minutes). It includes two parts: the short performance (TIE) and drama workshops (DIE). In the
realization of the activities, a drama pedagogue / actor-teacher, three actresses / drama
pedagogues and coordinator of the project participated too.

The internal evaluation process was organized immediately after the workshops with
unstructured interview with the following two questions:

- What is your general impression about organized workshop?

- Do you think that some change was initiated with the same of workshop's activities?

The interview was recorded with permission of the respondents. The relevant data was
summarized and briefly interpreted. Recommendations and suggestions for the continuation of
work were formulated based on received data.

Technical and administrative conditions

 The every respondent had a general impression that the workshops were realized in different
conditions. The workshop place was the most indicated condition. In general, space was
correct, but several classrooms were too small. The drama pedagogies adapted the workshop
well to the situation in the schools, but the space conditions impact a lot on the quality of
workshops. In one workshop at the school “Vuk Karadžič” only several students were included.
The workshop facilitators interacted with the audience asking the questions about their
experience, what they saw. Furthermore, they invited to intervene in the scene, solve the
problem, and formulate the messages.
 The teacher, who was the contact for this project, pointed to the problem of making the
children attendance list. The school representatives reacted negatively on the term “inclusive
youth communities”. It was the terminology misunderstanding. In our local situation the term
“inclusive” related to the unprivileged groups with disabilities. The members of the local
school communities react negatively to this term mainly because of the inadequate conditions
for conducting the inclusion projects. This shows that the terminological adaptation should be
done in accordance with the local situation. Even if there is a consensus about terminology at
the level of project consortium.

The process review

 The students didn’t feel free to represent their real problems in the class. It was the
frequently situations that the students showed some banal problem as a stealing of sneakers at
Physical Education class. The groups were very cooperative, good informed about the topic,
but sometimes with a communication problem. The scenes were prepared easy and fast, but we
had the problem with starting with the discussion with the students. The facilitators observed
the importance of work with personal materials for opening the discussion and the possibility of
changing as well. The students were agreeing with the facilitators.
 We promised to the students the continuing of the work with their personal stores which will
last a long period. The idea of this work is the creation of students’ performances or drama
sequences which they could play for their colleagues.
 The important fact was that both the students and their teachers good reacted at our working
method and both were interested a lot for participating in longer processes.

Some personal observations of actors-teachers about the work:

 “Today we had an excellent group, but they were restless at the end of the school day. It was
hard to finish the improvisation”,

 “Today, the opining the topic on relation bully victim was interesting for me. This is
common among boys, who made jokes on others; abuse them for a longer period. When those
grow up and become stronger they had being to get revenge”.

 “I think they really liked all of that. For the first time we had a situation where all of them
applauded after each improvisation. They like theater, but it is clear that they have some
problems with violence”.
 “I suggest continuing the work with this group”.

 “I had very intensive experience today during the working in the groups. When we had been
working on improvisation one girl agreed to take her example. She took a victim role. She
wanted to show the real situation. When I asked them to show the solution she stopped the
process. She has tears in her eyes. She did not let others to talk about that. Then we give up
this end.”

 ” Today, I found interesting the exact division within the group by sex in VI2 class. The
teacher said to me that they do this always. She also added that they are a specific class”. “I get
impression that she is so nice and let them to do whatever they want”

 “Yesterday we had a situation with music teacher. He acted strictly, even sometimes he
acted violently. I watched how he treats them. When I saw how they see him, I conclude that
they worship him. He established the discipline, but just. He knows each of them individually.
Children like the authority.”

 “I think that is difficult to talking about change after one short workshop”, “It certainly, but
we could talk about initiation of the change or even about opening the questions”.


 The artistic team was concluded that is a necessary to continue the work with the classes
where the students shoved high problems with bullying. We investigated that the changing of
situation and altitudes were powerful in personal stories. The event started to change during the
creating of scenes trough the interventions of collective. Even the bullies had a need to act and
explain the problem.

 It is important to taking a care about the conditions i classroom during the preparation and
doing workshops. It is good to analyze the context and climate of the school.


The internal evaluation was realized after the performances in schools: in elementary schools
"Vuk Karadžić", "Ljuba Nenadović" and “Milan Rakić”, “Forth Belgrade gymnasium” and
Student’s dormitory of Agriculture school “PKB”. Ten performances were realized during the
project and five in preparation phase. The number of students per class ranged from 14 to 34.
All performances durations were 90 minutes. The students were interested in the topic and the
discussion, sometimes they wanted to stay more. In the realization of the activities, a drama
pedagogue / actor-teacher, four actresses / drama pedagogues, and coordinator of the project
participated too.

Technical and administrative conditions

 In elementary schools “Vuk Karadžić” and “Ljuba Nenadović”, the performances were done
in school hales, where we had enough space for work. In “Forth Belgrade gymnasium” we
played in classroom for Physics which were enough spacious, too. ES “Milan Rakić” hadn’t
appropriate space for our work, then we did it in Cultural center “Bežanija”. In Student’s
dormitory of Agriculture school “PKB” we performed in students’ canteen which was too small
for this group of students.

 The biggest problem in realizing the program was that we had more interested students than
the capacity of our project was. The program occurred the performances for one class, but we
had the situations that the students of the other class came oh show because teaches decided to
send them. In that conditions we had problems with a noise and not enough working space.

The process review

 The students reacted very nice on the performances. In the beginning, they sometimes
started to laugh and talk in groups, but during the show, their concentration increased.

 The performance started with personal video story of the main actress in which students
reacted very well.

 Some students expected that they will play the scenes such in the first phase, the others
didn't interest in playing the scenes. So we decided to include the control interaction in this

 ES “Ljuba Nenadović” has the students’ parliament which includes students from all grades
(from 5th to 8th). The subject of the parliament work is bullying problem. We would like to
cooperate with them in the future project.

Some personal observations of actors-teachers about the work:

 “The students needed direct imputes, which help they in better understanding of the topic”
 “Similar students are sitting together in groups. Our tusk was to include all students in

 “Everybody is loud in group, but they are completely different when they are alone, then
they want helped to the victim.”

 “Interactive parts were perfect; the group was supported to interact.”

 “This showed again that is simpler to work with the most restless small group than in bigger
one. It is hard to work interactive in school space with group bigger than 30 students. The
students are free to react in school environment.”

 ”We observed that the students don’t want to listen each other.”

 “When I compare the students from students’ dormitory with the others from Belgrade
schools, I see their maturity; they went out the parents’ home early.”


The students need a support for changing their personal experiences about the cyberbullying.
The students have to support each other, maybe it will be nice to organize some school
counseling where they can come or call the experts. The Civil society education classes are a
free environment for drama work on cyberbullying problem.

We consider that the performance was successful in every schools and that it has to continue
with playing. We need to find the money for future playing the performance, because our
opinions are that the TIE programs have to be free for all students.

Theoretical background: Gabriella Dóczi-Vámos
Quantitative Analysis: László Horváth
Qualitative Analysis: Lilla Lendvai
Theatre in Education specific content: Zsófia Jozifek

Editor: Zsófia Jozifek

Translation: Zsófia Jozifek, Zoltán Tőzsér

The name of Nyitott Kör can be translated as “Open Circle Association”. Nyitott Kör
works with Theater in Education (TiE), which is a participatory theater methodology. The main
target group of the activities are children and young people aged 6-20. Most activities involve
one class or community of young people at a time.
Nyitott Kör considers their work a process of Game-Theater-Education, which guides the
participants through an experiential activity, focusing on a particular social problem, in a safe
zone. The actor-teachers and the participants enter into a game together that emerges to be a
performative act, through which contextual learning happens.
The mission of the organization is to improve communities and competencies through
theater in education, open new aspects particularly for young people to become dynamically
balanced persons with themselves, their environment and the society. The aim is to assist them
to be able to help each other, deal with their conflicts, and focus their energy to a common goal.
The TiE company always likes to experiment with new ways of interactions, different
drama and theater forms, as well as other art tools, applying innovations of the digital age,
offering children and young people programs about problems related to their age group. The
topics of the performances come from classic plays, contemporary plays and other literary
products, improvisations, tales, real life stories, news, songs, movies, etc.
Starting from September 2016, we have attempted to develop and apply an
interdisciplinary research methodology (using social psychology and pedagogical approaches)
to measure the impact of Theatre TiE performances focusing on bullying. The research was
carried out over the R.U.In? international strategic partnership with the support of the
Erasmus+ Youth program. The focus of the research was the awareness and attitude about
bullying, which can be described as a repeated form of exclusion and intimidation in youth
groups and school environments.
The organization worked together with a group of researchers coming from ELTE Eötvös
Loránd University, Institute of Education and Institute of Psychology. Lilla Lendvai,
intercultural expert was the leader of the research, while László Horváth was responsible for
the quantitative tools and analysis. Gabriella Dóczi-Vámos, expert of bullying and school
violence concluded the main relevant theory of the subject. Zsófia Jozifek, coordinator of the
project and the research added the TiE specific aspects to the interdisciplinary observation.

We are increasingly faced with tragic events affecting young people, – such as suicide
news – which can be caused by bullying. One of the greatest threats of the virtual world is that
communication is beyond the control of teachers, parents and supporting adults. Online
platforms open up a space outside of the school building for the continuation of verbal bullying,
shaming or even intimidating. The private space of children and young people can also be
intruded by bullying, in worse cases it can be ruled by the latter.
Due to their age-specific characteristics, teenagers often have a desire to extend their
limits. We can catch them writing into each other’s’ notebooks, teasing each other or seeking
for attention through provocation of the others. Without the necessary reflection these can turn
into hurting gestures, and become especially harmful when they turn into habitual behavior
while the target person remains the same. The bullies oftentimes experience being a victim
themselves, be it in a similar or a different context. This stands also for the online space, yet it
tends to lose its’ ephemeral characteristic. In many cases cyberbullying becomes visible to a
bigger public; meanwhile the data are being saved on the internet. This can significantly
increase the anxiety of the victim who furthermore can barely lose the labels being imposed on
him/her. In the pedagogical/psychological practice, healing the traumas of the victims is the
task of Psychology, so this could not become the focal point of our Theater in Education
programme. Concerning the bully, therapy or jurisdiction can be required; these are also not the
fields of Theatre in Education.
Therefore the aim of the TiE performances and research was the observation of the
responsibility of the bystanders. How can we raise awareness of bullying concerning
communities of young people and their leaders? Is Theatre in Education able to make the issue
more recognizable? Are we all affected by bullying somehow?
These problems and questions guided us when we imagined the current project and study.

The methodology of the data collection and the connection of the elements of the project
were based on the so-called "Double diamond" model which designates four sections:
 Discovery: In the beginning of the project researchers and designers look at the field
with a “fresh” eye, thus gathering impressions and discovering novelties
 Definition: Definition of concepts collected during the discovery stage, interpretation of
phenomena, and definition of the key issues. The goal is to assemble a sketchy
framework that serves as a starting point.

 Development: a phase in the design of the research and design concept, in which the
previously created framework is repeatedly tested. In this section, you can filter out
errors and remodel and delete some elements of the frame,
 Implementation: the finalization and application of the concept based on the lessons of
the previous three phases.

In the first phase of the project, the existing TiE performance including the topic of
bullying was tested. The Nerd (“Stréber”, the title of the play) focuses on the issue of being
passive when bullying happens. At the discovery stage, the research leaders gathered
impressions about the performance and its’ process. At the definition stage we intended to write
down accurately and precisely the reactions of the participants and the interactive elements of
the performances with the help of two observers. We interviewed the actor-teachers
immediately after the sessions, and asked for a written reflection from the class leaders of the
participating classes, which was subjected to content analysis. All in all five classes and 115
students attended this section. During the development stage, the scales and questions of the
questionnaires used in the later assessment, and the aspects of semi-structured interviews were
defined along the lines of the theoretical background. The relevance of the involvement of
control groups appeared. Based on these, the final structure of the research methodology was
created. Following the pilot phase, 20 performances were measured as follows:
 prior to the performance we interviewed the teacher of the participating class about the
class, the problems that he/she felt most important, and the expectations of the
 prior to the performance, we asked the members of the participating class to fill out a
written questionnaire form
 before the performance, the same questionnaire was filled out by the members of a
parallel class that did not receive the performance (control group)
 during the performance, two observers wrote down the happenings, interactions, with
particular focus on the group dynamics and the reactions of the participants to each
 after the performance, a semi-structured interview with the implementing actor-teachers
was taken about the effectiveness of the program and their impressions about the group
 5-10 days after the performance and after the next classroom hours of the class, we
repeated the questionnaire data collection with the participating group,

 and the control group,
 and with the class leader we took another semi-structured interview in which we asked
about the changes experienced since the performance, the quantity and quality of the
conversations and the questions related to the topic.

In the second phase, we began to analyze the results of the first period and developed a
new TiE performance based on the results of the partnership and the research. We decided to
focus on cyberbullying; “Testképmutogatók” (Body-Image-Presenters) was created. Our
partners in the project, likewise thinking, specifically targeting the 13-14 age group, have
started to create a preventive program applying theatre tools. All four s reported that virtual
cyberbullying appears to be a very serious problem among their target groups and that they
would like to try to investigate the related phenomena.
For this purpose, we have developed an online, Android app for the project that models
social media surfaces used by young people. Our goal was to use the app as a tool for
involvement and interaction in the performances. During the test period, the application ran in
test mode so we included its basic options into the programs.
The performances of the second phase were also measured using the methodology
described above, and the first five times as a "pilot" served to improve the development of the
qualitative tools. During the research we were most interested in the impact of our
performances as interventions on the perception and occurrence of bullying and on the role of
the silent majority in persistent bullying situations. We also investigated the communities'
liability-control mechanisms and the degree of victimization, which can be considered as
influencing contemporary social processes in a significantly negative direction.

According to the majority of experienced teachers the problem of school aggression is a daily
issue. Sometimes media treats several of these incidences with special attention and as a result
of this the laic public opinion also senses this phenomenon better. This topic needs to be talked
about, since during the bullying process the victim lives through the humiliating situations

again and again. The victim can feel serious frustration and threat after a certain period of time.
They become reserved, unmotivated and passive and it can also result in a decline in their
studies. Furthermore, years after the event they may struggle with self-assessment problems
(Hazler, Miller, Carney & Greene, 2001; Mihály, 2005; Buda, 2009; Fodor, n.d.). Humailiation
can come from students and teachers as well (Mayer, 2009). Although according to the
international student assessment tests used for comparison the situation in Hungary is
‘favorable’ (Currie, Zanotti, Morgan, Currie, de Looze, Roberts, Samdal, Smith & Barnekow,
2012), there are still thousands of students becoming victims and witnesses day by day (Buda,
2009). Students can be participants of bullying events on a daily basis without adults knowing
about it. Teachers typically notice problematic student behaviour in the lessons, so the
phenomenon can be approached from the topic of discipline in lessons (Mihály, 2005). It can
also be approached from the question of aggression as well and this is the point where there is
no clarified, commonly used terminology in the Hungarian professional and laic communities.
So, the first step is to clarify the concepts which are important because the meaning of the
different terms and the professional definition of certain behaviour make the understanding of a
given behaviour and behaviour patterns lying behind them necessary, which can help research
and professionals working in practice (Farrell, Meyer, Kung & Sullivan, 2001; Gyurkó &
Virág, 2009; Twemlow & Sacco, 2012). This is what we are going to attempt in the next

During the investigation of the Hungarian professional literature in the topic, it could be
noticed that the use of terminology is not unified, and nor the differences between certain
meanings neither their relationship with each other are clarified. Certain concepts relate to each
other but still they are not the same. The differences between them grab concrete behavioral
peculiarities. Starting from a broader understanding, aggression becomes – according to our
understanding – school aggression when the place of perpetration of the events is the
educational institution, and/or if the perpetrator and the victim are school citizens (student,
teacher, parent, doorman, member of the cleaning staff, kitchen staff, etc.) no matter if the
aggression happens in the school or on the way to school, in the dormitory or during camping
(Herczog, 2007; Schuster, 2009; based on Gyurkó & Virág, 2009). The following figure depicts
the connection of concepts relevant to the topic and some of its characteristics (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Terminology related to the topic and their relationship with each other (Dóczi-Vámos, 2017)

School agression

Moral content Awereness,


Prosocial Antisocial

School agression

Reactive Proactive

Instrumental agression bullying

Aggression is a concept with neutral nature which we identify not just with the fight that
people put up with each other, at the expense of each other, but with the struggle that people
have in order to cope with their difficulties and reach their goals, even if it means facing
themselves (Csányi, 1999). As a starting definition, we have chosen Ranschburg’s (2008)
widely-known and referred definition in the domestic professional literature: “we call
aggression those intentional actions whose motive is – in an open or symbolic form – to
damage, cause harm or pain for somebody” (Ranschburg, 2008, p. 90). We have chosen this
quote because it accepts intention and consciousness as conditions, and it also mentions the
open and figurative forms of offending, so it is not limited to the suffering of open, exclusively
physical harm. Aggression can be embodied in behavior with different motivations. Because of
this, Ranschburg (2008, p. 92) thinks that “the first aspect based on which we have to classify
aggressive behavior, is the moral content of the behavior. This way we can talk about
destructive, so called antisocial aggression driven against the community, or about pro-social
aggression which serves the interest of the community and that of the individual. So, the fight
itself is not bad or harmful in itself (Aronson, 2004; Simon, 2009; Hárdi, 2010) and as in the
case of aggression in a broader sense, we think it applies to the case of school aggression, too.
The destructive behavior belongs to antisocial aggression, while those, whose aim is to protect
others but not with the appropriate methods, belong to pro-social aggression (e.g. when a
student hits the attacker in order to protect another student). If the teacher arrives when the
defender person’s behavior is aggressive and the teacher does not even try to find out the
reasons behind it, they can weaken the defender in front of the community by punishing the
protector (e.g. sending him out of the classroom, sitting him in the back, telling him off).

Violent behavior is obviously harmful antisocial behavior which has a damageable

effect on the individual and society as it has no positive meaning (Moeller, 2001; Anderson &
Huesmann, 2007; Sadock, Kaplan & Sadock, 2007; Buda, 2005; Hárdi, 2010). The literature is
not unified considering the question whether a given behavior becomes violence because it
includes physical harm (e.g. hitting, kicking, and beating) or not. The definition of aggression
we accept and agree with is the WHO 2002 definition which interprets aggression in a broader
sense, and we think that it applies to school bullying as well: “The intentional use of physical
force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or
community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death,
psychological harm, mal development or deprivation” (Krug, Dahlberg, Mercy, Zwi & Lozano,
2002, 23.) This definition exceeds the physical interpretation of violence and includes the
harmful intention, the mental impairment, the lack of balance of power and coersion
independently from the outcome of the events. It rates spiritual impairment to the
consequences. We treat the expression of insult in this essay as a synonym of violence knowing
that there are experts who use it as a synonym of the phenomenon of bullying (e.g. Jármi Éva’s
(2015) KiVa group, or in case of Twemlow and Sacco (2012) the translation).

Bullying is not only present in the world of school. Due to the unclarified terminology the
expression of bullying is also used in Hungarian, but we also use the expressions: intimidation,
harassment, tyranny to describe this phenomenon (Jármi, 2015). The definition of harassment
has formed during the years. The final station or first important station of this evolution was
that Olweus’s definition of bullying published in 1993 became accepted in the Hungarian and
international professional communities. This definition was first published in Hungarian in the
thematical episode of the journal Educatio in 1999: “we can talk about bullying if the following
three conditions are present: a) the aggressive or harmful behavior is caused intentionally b) if
it is committed repeatedly or for a long period of time, c) in such an interpersonal relationship
where the balance of power is missing” (Olweus, 1999, p. 718). The first unified definition
meant a milestone from the aspect of the research of the phenomenon and from the aspect of
the everyday school practice also. However, we believe that the following six aspects will help
us to understand the phenomenon more deeply. Bullying is a kind of (1) proactive, (2)
harmful, conscious, intentional and hostile behavior/series of events, (3) that is present
repeatedly for a long time, (4) and it occurs in such a social environment, community, (5)
whose conditions are some kind of obvious (e.g. physical or manpower dominance) or
perceived (e.g. fame, the attacker feels more special than the victim) imbalance of power,
to which (6) a determined system of role is connected.

Proactivity means that the perpetrator’s offending behavior is not provoked by the victim’s
behavior. Proactive and reactive aggression strongly differ from each other from the aspect of
the phenomenon, aims/reasons and psychological background (Hubbard, Dodge, Cillessen,
Coie & Schwartz, 2001; Fiske, 2006; Buda, 2015). The literature of aggression interprets
reactive aggression as an external answer for hostility, threat, while proactive aggression
is a kind of behavior which has no direct reason, which is not operated by anger or fury
and which is not preluded by the act of the other individual. According to this the nature of
aggression is shadowed by this difference. Temper is the characteristic of reactive aggression
and most likely it does not go along with bullying behavior (Popper, 2009; Ranschburg, 2008).
Dodge and Coie wrote in their 1987 article (quoted by Buda, 2015) that reactive aggression is a
characteristic of those who have weaker anger management and who tend to attribute harmful
intention to their mates in insecure social situations. Harmful proactive behavior is a goal-
oriented, not provoked aggressive behavior aiming at social dominancy. Bullying is a learned
(Coloroso, 2014) proactive aggressive behaviour the aim of which is to obtain dominancy
above others (Coie, Dodge, Terry & Wright, 1991; Smith & Sharp, 1994). According to
Hubbard et al. (2001) school bullying can be regarded as proactive aggression against weaker
people or victims, so reactive aggression can belong to the topic of school aggression, but it
cannot be regarded as school bullying. The research of bullying later differentiated the two
types of aggression: instrumental aggression having an obvious benefit and bullying. (See
Figure 1) The aim of this latter is not necessary some visible benefit, but the increase of fame
and prestige (Buda, 2015).

Even if they have real power or if they just feel themselves “more special”, bullies feel that
they have dominance over their victims and they show it within the given community. Within a
community whose members are bystander, that is witnesses who do not prevent the continuous
harassment. And nonetheless initially bullying was regarded as an event between two students,
the diverse research have justified its collective ‘group” nature . For instance, a Canadian
research pointed out that in 85% of bullying events occurring in schools other children are also
present (Craig & Pepler, 1995). The Japanese researcher Morita also has a similar point of
view (see Vízer, 1999). Moore, Jones & Broadbent (2008) determine this type of threatening
behavior as a kind of group phenomenon. Coloroso (2014) compares bullying to a theatrical
play in which the events are played according to a specific script with a particular set of roles.
As Buda (2009, p. 4.) put it “bullying itself is a kind of behavior that is inseparable from (its)
social context”. Hungarian researchers examining bullying deeper from different aspects
interpret bullying as a group phenomenon bound to roles (e.g. Buda, 2009; Figula, Margitics &
Pauwlik, 2011; Nagy, Körmendi & Pataky, 2012; Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a).

As we know by today, a typical set of roles is connected to bullying. The emphasized aim of
initial Hungarian and international research was to explore the nature of the roles. An important
result of these research was the recognition of the fact that these groups are not homogeneous
and also that these roles can be approached from different (Pearce; 1991 idézi Buda, 2015;
Olweus, 2001, 2003; Figula, 2004; Peple, Craig, Jiang & Conolly, 2008; Figula et al., 2011a;
Twemlow & Sacco, 2012; Coloroso, 2014). These research have mainly made attempts to
describe the groups of bullies, victims and bystanders and less to depict the defenders.
Although each research has provided numerous useful information to the description of roles,
we are going to present the “cycle of bullying” (see Figure 2) elaborated by Olweus, in which
he describes a set of 8 roles (one role, the bully-victim group, does not appear here). We have
chosen this model because the antisocial, prosocial and neutral roles (that are really important)
can be separated well from each other2. In the model apart from the victim there are four
antisocial (grey circles), two prosocial (white circles, solid edge) roles and there is one role that
is not involved in the events (spotted edge). Of course it is a question if there is neutral attitude
or role in a bullying process. In the following we start off from Olweus’ model (2003) and use
it as visualization and present the results of other research in order to describe the roles. (1)
Bullies are those who choose the victim, who initiate harassment and take participation in it
actively. They are socially intelligent and have an expanded social network which make it
understandable that they could turn their mates easily against the victim, isolating him/her from
the group, community. Empathy correlates negatively with all forms of bullying. This shows
that empathy and social intelligence are nor dependent neither independent from each other.
They partially cover each other but we must differentiate between them due to the emotional
component, since social intelligence can function without emotions (Kaukianen, Björkqvist,
Lagerspetz, Österman, Salmivalli, Rothberg, & Ahlbom, 1999; Björkqvist, Österman és
Kaukianen, 2000; Buda, 2015). Followers, supporters and passive supporters also belong to the

Olweus initially did not divide the certain roles on an antisocial – prosocial basis
circle of bullies. (2) Followers are those who do not initiate harassment but they like it and
participate in it actively, (3) supporters are those who do not initiate harassment and do not
participate in it but they encourage the bullies. (4) Passive supporters or possible bullies do
not show but they like harassing. Other experts work with other models (Pearce, 1991; Pepler
et al. 2008; Coloroso, 2014). The group of bullies is not unified. However, there are some
common characteristics that apply to every bully. These people like to have the others in their
power, they desire attention, they tend to use others in order to reach their goals, they only
think of themselves and do not care about others’ rights, needs, interests and emotions. Also
they blame and judge the other person (unfairly). Usually they hurt others when there is no
adult nearby and they usually choose a victim who is weak and cannot protect himself/herself.
A small circle of bullies become victims, they are the bully-victims or anxious victims. They
are characterized by low self-esteem, they are uncertain of themselves, they are frequently
lonely and they can be provoked easily. Because of this they become victims frequently, so
they may be the most endangered group. These students are less proactive, have weak anger-
control, they are hot-tempered and integrate difficultly. They are less liked by the others
because they are victims and violent at the same time and this ambivalence can appear in their
self-esteem. They are more likely to be depressed and are frequently feel alone. According to
research results it seems that these kids are the ones who are not able to master more effective
social integration strategies as time goes by (Buda, 2015).

Passive bullies and supporters can be rather seen as (8) disengaged onlookers by the
outsiders who are not involved in the events neither from the harasser nor from the defender
side. In the professional literature they have different names. As opposed to onlookers
bystander is described as someone who is an outcast, someone who acts as if he or she was not
paying attention to the events (Figula, Margitics & Pauwlik, 2011b). According to a certain
description (Figula et al. 2011b) defenders belong to the group of bystaders. The difference
between them and the other not defending bystanders is that their attitude is positive towards
the victim and they do not support violence.

So those students belong to the group of bystanders who support the events with their
participation actively or passively. However, this group is not homogenous. There are people
who actively encourage the bullies but do not join them and there are those who just smile and
this way they are also included in the events just not in a spectacular way. Disengaged
onlookers do not take part in the events neither from the bullies§ side nor from defenders’ side.
The picture is further refined by Twemlow & Sacco’s (2012) naming. They call avoiding
bystanders those who deny having personal responsibility in harassing since they “are not
involved” in it. Those students who avert their personal responsibility by blaming either the
bully or the victim for the events are called distanced bystanders. Finally, those who do not
take anyone’s side and who decide who to join based on their personal interests are called
cunning bystanders.

There can be multiple reasons why students do not involve in protecting the victim or
why they do not call an adult. Justifiable fear can be if the student is afraid that he/she might
become a target or victim if he/she intervenes. He/she might be afraid that the situation may
become worse, for example, the victim will “get in trouble” because of her/him. It can also
occur that he/she does not know what to do because he/she has not been prepared for this
situation. It is not justifiable excuse that the victim is not his/her friend or that the bully is
his/her friend. He/She may think that “this is their business” and he/she might blame the victim
(“he deserved it”, “he has to get strong”, “he is lame anyway’) (Coloroso, 2014). It is not easy
to quit a role, accordingly it is not easy to quit the role of a bystander, since all these role
are in tight interdependence with each other. Fear can be justifiable no matter that the bully
can turn against the intervening bystander. The bully sometimes threatens his/her mates so that
they do not uncover him/her. If at this point the child or youth is “decent and brave enough to
stand up for his/her mates then the circle of care and love will get power in the community”
(Coloroso, 2014, p. 104). Bullying is a learned behavior and this way the methods of
intervention must be taught to children as well (Coloroso, 2014).

(5) Defenders are those who disagree with bullying and try to help victims. (6) Possible
defenders disagree with bullying and they feel they should help (but they do not do anything).
Presumably those students who belong to the latter group live through the biggest tension by
assisting bullying events (Buda, 2015). We can find less description about the group of
defenders in the literature than about the roles introduced previously. Defenders are decent and
brave and in contrast with the bully they are emphatic (Coloroso, 2014). Twemlow & Sacco
(2012) call defenders as bystanders and list them in separate groups. Helper bystanders are
those who can be counted on and who play an important role in the initiation and maintaining
of positive changes in their environment. Finding these people is a first priority, no matter if
they are students, teachers, administrative co-workers, kitchen staff or doorman. Three
personality traits or characteristics were determined what these people (children or adults)
possess: 1. the seeds of someone becoming a natural leader, 2. the metalization and last but
not least 3. altruism. Those can become natural leaders who are able to encourage the group to
follow some kind of behavior. As opposed to the charismatic leader, the natural leader does not
regard himself/herself as a leader and his/her deeds serve the benefit of the group. This kind of
leader is dedicated to his/her activity and he/she pays attention to others and does not feel that
he/she makes sacrifices. What is more, he/she is surprised if others point at this fact. He/she
does not want to become a leader; his/her intrinsic aim is to help the evolution of the creativity
of the group, to support asking for help and giving help with goodwill. These types of
bystanders – being metalizing people – operate as helper bystanders as well. In their
interpretation metalization means that “people regard their mates as thinking and living
creatures […] and they do not judge others based on their roles, but they regard them as whole
people. They regard human relations as unique and unrepeatable which influence them […]
they care about the emotional and psychological wellbeing of others. They solve conflicts by
negotiation and not by fighting, they understand themselves and others as well and they are not
afraid of difficulties” (Twemlow & Sacco, 2012, p. 122.).

(7) Victims are those who suffer the bullying events. Their group can be regarded as
heterogeneous in a way that research have not supported the fact that someone would become a
victim based on external features. This way the victim can be tall, short, poor or rich,
overweight or slim, can wear glasses or braces. Those whose origin, religion is at a lower level
according to the bully, the smart and talented student and also those who are less successful in
studying. This list can be continued with many characteristics that might arouse a bully’s
interest which make the victim “different” in the bully’s eyes. There are examples when
victims behave in an irritating, proactive and nervous way and that is why they become subjects
of ridicule. If we look for the common features of the victims we can see that they are
frequently infamous, alone and feel lonely. They are also sensitive and blame themselves for
getting into a certain situation. Usually they have low self-esteem and they do not believe in
breaking out from the role of victim. They are reserved and cautious, they show fear and shame
(Pauwlik, Margitics & Figula, 2011), but this is due to the bullying they went through. They
are incapable of defending themselves and if they fight back they do not do it in an assertive
way. These features give bullies sign that they can have power over the given individual.
According to a research victimization is connected to subordinating behaviour, the anticipation
of danger, reactive aggression, the anticipation of aggression and the negative consequences of
assertive behavior. Subordinating behaviour is naturally related to certain personality traits, but
it is also obvious that victimization is a viscious circle type of process within which it is hard to

separate the reasons and the consequences later” (Schwarz et al., 2008; quoted by Buda, 2015,
p. 118).

These roles described in the literature cannot be separated in everyday life. This way it
is a dilemma that teachers consider passive supporters to be bullies or disengaged onlookers. It
is a further question where do they list possible defenders (Figure 2).

Figure 2: based on "The Bullying Circle", Olweus (2001); judgement of the different roles
on the prosocial-antisocial axis (Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a)


Henchmen Defender

bullies/ Possible
supporters defender

supporters/ Disengaged
Possible onlookers

We can categorize the types of violent and bullying behavior based on various aspects. We
have chosen to describe them along the following dimesions: the direct and indirect forms of
bullying, verbal and non-verbal behavior, and within non-verbal behavior the separation of

physical and non-physical types of behavior (Table 1). It is important to review these since both
research and daily school experience show that several types of behavior - such as
excommunication, gossiping and threat by violence - are not regarded as violence or bullying
neither by teachers nor by students in everyday practice. Moreover, teachers cannot necessarily
react to these forms of behavior (Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a) while their frequent and repeated
presence can cause serious physical and/or emotional harm to the victim.

Table 1: Main types of bullying behavior (Buda, Köszeghy & Szirmai, 2008)

Types of bullying Verbal
Physical Non-physical

Hitting, pulling, Mockery, showing

kicking, jostling, obscene or offensive
Direct Mocking, threatening spitting, locking-up, gestures, disgusting
forcing, damaging, objects
stealing the victim's

E.g. asking someone Sharing satirical

Rumours, destroying else to beat the drawings, images,
relationships victim, steal his/her excommunication,
belongings icing the other

Since every violent, bullying event happens in social environment, therefore in spite of
the colloquial use the expression “social violence”, it is not a synonym of excommunication.
“Relational aggression” is the terminology for the act/process when the bullies destroy the
victim’s group status through personal or online channels. Both direct and indirect aggression
typifies it since the aim of the perpetrator is to destroy the victim’s social relationships, ruin
his/her social position, status2 (Dailey, Frey & Walker, 2015).

We can examine violent and bullying behavior happening at schools via diverse approaches:
evolutional point of view, bonding theory, theory of social learning theory, socio-cultural
approach, social information processing, theory of consciousness, theory of similarity, theory
of dominance, theory of attraction and the ecological perspective (Margitics, Figula, Pauwlik
& Szatmári, 2010). These issues complement and not exclude each other. They are alternatives

of each other that try to understand school violent behavior from different perspectives.
“Students’ bullying behavior is as multifaceted and complex as many other continuously
forming behavior full of emotions embedded in social environment – like friendship, love or
competence that also have no overall theory” (Buda, 2015, p. 29).

In order to understand the complex phenomenon of school bullying Espelage &

Swearer (2003) elaborated the ecological model of bullying based on Bronfrenbrenner’s
human ecological model of 1979. They started off from the fact that bullying cannot be
described from one aspect; therefore, answers should be looked for at individual, family, peers,
school, societal, community and cultural levels. The expectations of the people important for
the individual can differ from each other and as a consequence, it can occur that a certain
behavior break the norm in one environment while it is acceptable in another (Margitics et al.
2010). The role of environment becomes emphasized due to this, just like the interpretation of
behavior based on the interaction of different systems. This justifies the research of the
phenomenon in a given environment, with given participants. The model interprets school
bullying in the individual’s micro-environments and in their interaction, in the embedded
nature of the micro and macro-systems as well as it stresses school level as an important
element of it. Hungarian and international research and theoretical studies collected data related
to each level of this model by investigating the field of school (Figure 3.). They interpret the
phenomenon of violence and bullying related to the level of the individual (Figula, 2004;
Muñoz, 2013; Dailey, Frey & Walker, 2015; Simon, Zerinváry & Velkey, 2015), the family
(Patterson, Cohn & Kao, 1989; Chan, 2006; Margitics et al. 2010), the peers (Craig & Pepler,
1995; De Bruyn & Cillessen, 2006; Yamasaki & Nishida; 2009), the school (Pinheiro, 2006;
Paksi, 2009; Buda, 2009; Hajdú & Sáska, 2009; Nagy et al., 2013) and the society and
community (Császi, 2002; Pinheiro, 2006; Moore et al. 2008; Hajdú & Sáska, 2009).

Figure 3: International and Hungarian research focusing ont he different levels of the
interpretation framework of school violence & bullying – the social-ecological perspective

Culture (e.g. Császi 2002; Zimmerman et al., 2004;

Pinheiro 2006)

Society, community (e.g. Zimmerman et al., 2004; Pinheiro


School (e.g. Zimmerman et al., 2004; Pinheiro 2006; Gyurkó & Virág
2009; Paksi 2009; Földes & Lannert 2009; Buda 2009; Hajdú & Sáska
2009; Smith 2011; Nagy et al. 2012; Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a)

Peers (e.g. Craig & Pepler 1995; Zimmerman et al., 2004;

Honkatukia et al. 2006; De Bruyn & Cillessen 2006; Pinheiro 2006;
Yamasaki & Nishida 2009; Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a)
Family (e.g. Patterson et al. 1989; Vajda 1999; Zimmerman et al., 2004;
Chan 2006; Pinheiro 2006; Margitics et al. 2010; Muños 2013; Dóczi-
Vámos, 2016a)
Bully, victim, bystander(e.g. Pearce 1991; Olweus 1999;
Zimmerman et al., 2004; Figula 2004; Figula et al. 2011;
Muños 2013, Simon et al. 2015; Dailey et al. 2015; Dóczi-
Vámos, 2016a)

The model is appropriate for the rigorous examination of how the different levels influence
school bullying in general, but it is also useful in investigating the nature and the risk factors of
bullying and violence within the world of a given institution (e.g. the students, their family
background, the cultural peculiarities of the given community, society, the characteristics of a
given era). Likewise, it is applicable in interpreting and understanding the phenomenon of
classroom and school discipline.

To sum up we can say that risk and protective factors appear connected to each level of
the social-ecological model, with which problematic school behavior (including discipline
problems during the lessons or violence and bullying) can be explained. However, we think that
when examining the school level, a sociocultural point of view appears, which focuses more
on the role social factors play in understanding behavior rather than on the understanding of
individual differences (Margitics et al. 2010). According to this theory, violent behavior must
be interpreted in that special environment where it appears, which is supported by those
research which indicate that violence is not typical in non-democratic schools with autocratic
rigid structures and hierarchy (Roland & Galloway, 2002). In the following chapters we are
going to see how international and Hungarian research in the topic has evolved.

International interest in school aggression, violence, bullying began at the end of 1970s,
Hungarian research attention increased at the end of first decade of 2000s. Because of its
significance the topic is examined by various fields of science based on diverse aspects.
Teenagers’ violent behavior was first noticed by medicine and jurisprudence: the aim of
research appearing in the world of school was to reach the biggest number of teenagers and
children and school seemed the most appropriate field for this. Since then the pedagogical
interest in this topic has grown. Peter K. Smith (2011) has divided the evolution of the
international research of bullying into four major periods: (1) Origins, 1970-1988: research
initiated independently of one another, with findings that are still relevant today (Olweus, Peter
K. Smith, Morita, Craig & Pepler). (2) Establishing a research program, 1989-1990: the
systematic study of bullying commenced, an increasing number of countries carried out
research in the field (e.g. Scotland, Wales, the United States, Canada, Australia). (3) An
established international research program, 1990-2004: research conducted in different
countries began to interconnect. Scientific interest in the topic boomed in many European
countries (Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal), then in Asia and
throughout the world. (4) Cyberbullying, from 2004: following the rapid technological
advances of the 2000s the online world increasingly appeared as another scene for acts of
school bullying. As intimidating behaviour moved to yet another space, scientists posed new
questions and directed their attention to bullying in cyberspace.

In Hungary, however, scientific interest towards the topic emerged only at a relatively
later time. And even by today there have been very few research carried out in the topic. In
2008-2009 we could see some boost in the interest of the laic and professional community due
to the events in media The first research was carried out in this topic by Figula (2004) in
Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg County. This research was undeveloped; nevertheless it is a pioneer
work since it examined the phenomenon of bullying in Hungarian schools first. It was the first
research to collect data about the identification of the different roles (victim, bully, aggressive
victim, bystander) and it examined the distribution between sexes and ages, the types and risk
causes of bullying from the victim’s and bully’s perspective, the emotions following a bullying
event among the bullies and the localization of events in school. Later with her research team
they carried out research among primary and secondary school students in connection with the
validation of the “School Aggression” questionnaire (Figula, Margitics & Pauwlik, 2011a).

Due to the controversial events in media3. the study of this topic began to boom in 2009
(Trencsényi, Maleczkyné, Rucska & Prémné, 2008; Mayer, 2009; Buda, 2009; Gyurkó & Virág,
2009; Földes & Lannert, 2009; Paksi, 2009; Hajdú & Sáska, 2009), but after this there was a
drawback in the scientific interest (Margitics et al. 2010; Margitics & Pauwlik, 2011; Nagy,
Körmendi & Pataky, 2012; Simon, Zerinváry & Velkey, 2015; Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a). Within
these studies we can find research conducted with high school students living in the capital city
(Mayer, 2009), regional research (Figula, 2004; Buda, 2009) and nationwide research, too
(Földes & Lannert, 2009; Hajdú & Sáska, 2009). During Buda’s 2009 study 1000 elementary
school students filled in questionnaires and the aim of this study was to explore the relationship
of school climate, class atmosphere and bullying. Entrusted by the ESZTER Foundation and
with the support of the MFPI, Gyurkó Szilvia and Virág György conducted research in 2009.
Four group-focused interviews were made with experts working in Child Protective Services
and educational institutions in order to investigate the differences and similarities of their
perception of school violence. Földes Petra & Lannert Judit (2009) surveyed a nationwide
representative sample online in the framework of the Kölöknet. The aim of the research was to
explore the frequency of violent behavior in schools and to find out how teachers think about
certain prevention programs and which are the ones they prefer and the ones they do not. Paksi
Borbála (2009) repeated her 2004 nationwide representative sample research in the same year
in which she examined the prevention/health development programs applied in the system of
public education with regard to the prevention of aggressive behaviour as well. A year later
Margitics Ferenc et al. (2010) published their study on the behavioural patterns connected to
aggression in school and their relation to the different ways parents treat their children. Nagy
Ildikó, Körmendi Attila & Pataky Nóra (2012) examined the the connection between bullying
and class atmosphere in the framework of a questionnaire based survey in February-March
2012, then a national representative sample research was carried out in 2014-15 by the
Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development involving more than 3000
elementary school students (Simon et al., 2015). Another study relevant here was made in
2015/2016 which made it possible to undertake the in-depth examination of a single social unit,
one school, the organization of the school. The aim of the research was multifold. It was to get

There was a story about a student threatening his teacher with a tap in class

to know the nature of violence and bullying in a given schools and make the role of the
environment visible in connection with a given phenomenon, behaviour or process. Among
others it included the examination of how teachers handling of cases or the role of reflection,
bullying prevention and intervention solutions contribute to the maintenance or decline of the
phenomenon. This case study collected data from all the levels of the human ecological model
in order to get have a deeper understanding of the school community (Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a).

Hungary participated in international comparative research, too, some of which focused

on the exploration of violence and bullying among school-aged children (HBSC, ESPAD,
TALIS). The Kidscreen project was carried out in 2004 and examined the extent of bullying in
11 European countries within the frameworks of a health related quality of life questionnaire
for children and young people. The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey
(TALIS) is an international research made in 2008 in which teachers from 23 different
countries were asked about the circumstances of their work and about their attitude towards
their work. For example about the factors they consider as disturbing in their lessons. HBSC
(Health Behaviour in School-aged Children) research examines bullying regularly; Hungary
participates in it since 1985. The Hungarian study of 2014 expanded the questions related to
bullying more than the study of 2010. HBSC separates fighting from bullying. The frequency
of bullying is examined through the different actors’ involvement in the events. A new thing in
the 2014 data collection is that it examines online insulting and its relationship to conventional
bullying. In order to do this it uses two questions and it also examines the role of the bully and
the victim. Also complementing previous Hungarian research it examines the reporting of
bullying and asking for help. HBSC approaches bullying only from the involvement in events
and it does not examine the frequency of bullying events. Furthermore, it takes involvement
into consideration only from the victims’ and bullies’ perspectives, so it does not include
bystanders in spite of that it would be important because bullies do what bystanders let them to
do (Craig & Pepler, 1995; Twemlow & Sacco, 2012; Coloroso, 2014). These research represent
milestones because they allow us to see the situation in an international comparison and to
interpret results and draw consequences accordingly, in connection with the peculiarities of the

Almost all the research focus on the school level but getting to know the role of
individuals for the exploration of genders and ages are also important just like the role of the
family. Few people investigated the correlation between societal processes and school
aggression both at Hungarian and at international level, too (Buda, 2015). It is hard to separate
which factors of the problematic school behavior, violence and bullying are related to school
level and/or which to peer level, since however students’ lives outside the school are also
determining, school as a setting has a big role in creating friendships and social networking
(Buda, 2015). This way these two levels can be interpreted in an interaction with each other.
Furthermore, if bullying is a group process then every community of school can participate in
it. “Teachers, students and parents regard, interpret and assess school basically as the result of
the educational activities, the interactions and relations between the ‘actors’. For them, the
everyday happenings and phenomenon accompanying them mean the school and the inner
world of the school” (Golnhofer, 2006, p. 4).

We can see that more Hungarian and international research focus on bullying between
students than bullying between teachers and students. With key word searching in the
Hungarian research published we found the expression “organization” in 5 studies (Mayer,
2009; Buda, 2009; Paksi, 2009; Margitics et al. 2010; Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a). The importance of
organizational functioning (i.e. the reaction of the organization to bullying) appears in the
theoretical or summary chapters of these studies, but the organizational focus appears only in
two cases in the planning phase of the research. Within the frameworks of prevention activities
Paksi (2009) investigated school aggression prevention programs, and she explored the
teachers’ perception of aggressive behavior among the students in relation to organizational
trust. The only Hungarian research that investigates organizational functioning in relation to
bullying and violence is the case study done in 2015/16 (Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a) getting to know
a wide range of actors and viewpoints in the same school. This made it possible to discover the
role of certain dimensions of organizational operation (e.g. involvement of teachers in
preventive activities and case handling, reflection, teachers’ learning) in school violence and
bullying. As a consequence of the research, it can be said that it is reasonable that research
examining the inner world of school pay special attention to the organization and its

As for the sample, research focus on students or teachers and there are very few
research focusing on other stakeholders. Those which examine both the teachers’ and the
students’ groups at the same time, take their sample from different schools. In those cases when
they ask teachers and the students these teachers teach, research do not examine a whole
school, but pick classes, students and their teachers from different schools. Only one research
chose to investigate different participants3 of the same institution by collecting data from every
level of the ecological model, with a strong integration of the sociocultural model (Dóczi-
Vámos, 2016a). Two research investigated the perspective of non-teaching experts working in
schools (e.g. psychologists, child protective professional) (Gyurkó & Virág, 2009; Dóczi-
Vámos, 2016a) however their roles are important from the aspect of prevention. The most
commonly used method is the survey method, while the interview and focus group interview
are used less frequently; nonetheless they refine the results gained by the questionnaires
(Mayer, 2009; Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a).

It can be said that Hungarian research in the topics are in their infancy (Buda, 2015). School
bullying is a hiding phenomenon related to subjective experience, individual beliefs; therefore,
its investigation comes up against difficulties even if researchers strive for anonymity.
Reviewing the challenges of research methodology is important in order to see clearly those
reasons that can explain the controversial results of different research as well as in the light of
which it is worth to deduct consequences related to given groups rather than generally.

In case of studying frequency, we must consider individual distortional effects; therefore we

should elaborate the instructions and the choices for answers of the question examining the
frequency of bullying events by considering certain factors. Due to the hiding nature of
bullying the literature is not unified regarding the exact frequency of bullying. Frequency is
usually determined by the number of victims, bullies, bystanders or by the number of bullying
events. The exploration of different roles is necessary, but it can happen that one student is
bullied by more schoolmates and it can also occur that one student threatens more schoolmates.
Hence, the number of bullying events seems to be a more precise way to assess frequency
(Buda, 2015). Since in the case of bullying emphasis is on frequency and repetition, it is useful
to ask about a period of time in the instruction, like “in the past 12 months” or “during the
school year so far”. As for the answers, on the one hand research use the so called “soft
category” such as “sometimes” or “often”, on the other hand categories such as “1-2 times”,
“twice a week” and “more times monthly” show a more exact picture of frequency. What
makes the situation more difficult beyond all these is that professional literature does not help
the researchers in deciding which answer category can be considered as bullying. When using
soft categories, we can rely on Olweus’ categorization who regards those events bullying that
are marked “sometimes” or with answers indicating higher frequency (Buda, 2015).

What makes it hard to identify the phenomenon is that when answering anonymously it
can occur that certain written and unwritten social and cultural rules influence the answerer
(e.g. would a boy confess that he is a victim, or would a girl confess that she is a bully (Buda,
2015). If we ask students about each other then it may be a control for their own answers as
well (pl. Peer-Nominated Index of Aggression (Eron, Walder & Lefkowitz, 1972 quoted by
Huesmann & Guerra, 1997). This confirms research validity and helps to have a more
objective perspective of the situation. Asking mates about the events can soften the distortion
effect of “double standard” according to which we assess acts committed against us more
seriously than if we commit the same thing against somebody else as well as we assess acts
differently if it is committed by a friend of ours..

When we collect data about students’ behaviour with each other from adults we need to
know that adults cannot always see clearly the frequency of bullying behavior. Therefore, we
have to count with diverse distortional effects. On the one hand adults report less bullying
events than students due to the fact that bullying events remain hidden. On the other hand,
adults often meet “only” the physical parts of bullying, or they perceive events only when they
are getting worse and they do not consider indirect forms (gossip, excommunication) as

Individual experience and beliefs influence what the respondent and researcher mean by the
different expressions. Everyone interprets this phenomenon in their own way, therefore it is
important to clarify at the beginning what we mean by certain terms (Farrell, Meyer, Kung &
Sullivan, 2001; Gyurkó & Virág, 2009; Twemlow & Sacco, 2012). There are different
possibilities for this: (1) defining the terminology in the research instrument, (2) the listing of
the typical, most frequent bullying behavior (e.g. mocking, gossiping), (3) the combination of
the two previous strategies. As it is not sure that the respondent can categorize his experience
exactly to the abstract definition offered by the researchers, Buda (2015) recommends the use
the list of typical, most frequent concrete events, behaviour to ensure the respondent’s and
researcher’s common frame of interpretation. In this case however interpretation is reverse and
the surveyed person has to carry out the abstraction of the concrete situations. The question is
whether the respondent is able to distance him/herself from the events listed in the
questionnaire and at the same time to interpret his/her experience within those frameworks.

Further difficulties in interpreting the results are that in most cases we do not know
from the research reports whether the proactive and reactive natures of the behavior were
differentiated or not in the instructions appearing in the research instrument. Therefore, we do
not know how the respondent interprets the events happening to him/her or the question asked
in the research instrument. In light of these, the results of Hungarian and international research
focusing on the frequency of bullying can be examined based on two aspects: the rate of
students participating in bullying and the frequency of bullying events in the school.

Although violence and bullying are general phenomena, Buda (2015) emphasizes the
differences between cultures, which also influence the research in the topic and the results.
Differences can already stem from how much a country deals with school violence and
bullying. There is a difference between those countries where there is a national prevention
strategy and they deal with bullying within schools regularly and between those where it is not
the case. Since in those places where there are prevention programs since elementary school, it
is easier to for school citizens to have a (common) understanding and interpretation of the
phenomenon what can support research reliability and validity. Pinheiro (2006) presents in his
international research related to violence against children that there are significant differences
between the types of behavior students meet in different places and their correlation with
gender, family and peer relations, or school life. There are differences between collectivist and
individualist societies, so for instance “in such a collectivitst culture like China, children
manifest more cooperative behavior and less conflicts than in individualist cultures like Great
Britain, Canada or the USA. Certain types of behavior are treated differently in different
cultures. For instance, shy students are refused or marginalized in Canada, while they are
famous in China“ (Buda, 2015, p. 23).

Morita Yohiji (quoted by Vízer, 1999) points out societal changes in her research. In
Japan in the 1980s aggression was not a societal problem, yet school violence still meant to be
a problem. The number of suicides due to school bullying increased, which got a strong media
and governmental attention. By the end of 1990s Morita explains the phenomenon of school
bullying with social changes and she says that group pressure has a huge effect on students in
Japan and this way school bullying and the extreme reaction of victims has spread rapidly. In
the case of bullying, the power of the group does not only appear in relation to the support of
bullies but also in connection with the defense of victims. That is to say, as we have written it
before, the interaction between the victim and the bully depends on the bystanders’ “answers”
since they are those who regulate events through their behavior. Morita calls these reactions
control brakes, which can be found both in individual and in groups. The functioning of control
brake primarily depends on the roles the individuals play in the group and on their bonding to
the group, which – according to her – can be found less and less in Japanese society, where
individuals look for their own prosperity (societal privatization). It would not be a negative
process in itself, but it goes together with the denying of social responsibilities and with the
passivity towards the violence against others (Vízer, 1999) and with the growth of involuntary
tolerance against violence.

Few international and Hungarian research focusing on school violence and bullying analyzed
teachers’ answers to concrete violent or bullying events, although it has a determining role in
the behavior of participants in the long run. Violent behavior occurs in the future more
probably if it has no consequences, so not reacting to it maintains the cycle of violence,
bullying (Yoon & Kerber, 2003). What is more, most of the bullies are afraid of consequences
(Figula et al. 2011a). Many doubt the success of those school violence prevention solutions
that are not based on community. “Pump-Handle interventions” as called by Aronson (2009),
which were introduced in the USA in 1999 after the Columbine school massacre, can influence
the feeling of trust (e.g. metal detector, security gate, presence of security or police). These do
not increase the feeling of security, but they raise the feeling of suspicion (Brady, Balmer &
Phenix, 2007; Aronson, 2009; Henry, 2009; Watkins & Maume, 2011). In the long term the
solutions like “sending students to the principal”, “calling parents” and “suspending students in
extreme situations” do not work either (Twemlow & Sacco, 2012). According to Hirschfield
(2008) zero tolerance creates a school environment where teachers’ individual opinion and
discretion are undermined by uniformed system that punishes students’ behavior in an
undifferentiated way rather than looking for personal solutions of given problems. Kupchik
(2009) examined four punishment-disciplinary procedures in the US including their ethnical
and social aspects as well, and he found that instead of understanding interactions about
discipline issues as learning possibilities in which they involve students, schools handle it as a
possibility of punishment without discussion.

The victims’ “expectations” differ in respect to the impeachment of the bullies, and this
is the point where the handling of violent cases is in strong connection with the detecting and
reporting system in the school, which again shows the need for the building of a confidential,
honest and taboo-free atmosphere (Dóczi-Vámos, 2016c). While some expect the strict

punishment of the bullies, others are satisfied with lighter punishments and – as in the case of
trust – they rarely choose formal ways. Victims often cannot avoid their bullies since bullying
events happen in the school. Because of this, for the sake of their own safety, victims do not
report bullying incidents to their teachers, since they are afraid of their bullies getting into
bigger trouble (e.g. school suspension) due to what they take revenge on the victims. It can be
assumed, that strict punishment procedures involve the increase of the threshold, at which
students will raise their voices. So it can be supposed that as a result of strict punishment
victims, being afraid of their bullies’ revenge, do not report certain serious violent acts to the
adults (Skiba, Simmons, Peterson & Forde, 2006). Therefore, in our understanding, trustful,
taboo-free atmosphere means not only having open discussions about violent and bullying
events, but also about punishment-disciplinary procedures.

We have found relatively few Hungarian studies that collect (Hajdú & Sáska, 2010),
systematize and analyse teachers’ solutions to handling cases (Simon et al., 2015; Dóczi-
Vámos, 2016a). The famous national research (Hajdú & Sáska, 2009) also known as
‘Ombudsman research’, systemized the different interventions of teachers based on the type of
behavior. It examined teachers’ answers to (1) disturbing classroom work, (2) backtalk at the
lessons, (3) opposition and (4) fighting in the breaks. Based on the research we can see that
teachers hardly use corporal punishment as methods of keeping discipline. However, we do not
know whether they interpret solutions like throwing chalks, pulling ears, smacking as physical
violence or not. Based on the teachers’ answers, these disciplinary methods are not used with
17-18 years old students with discipline problems. Very few teachers who were asked said that
they punish behavioral problems with low marks. They said that when there is discipline
problem during lessons or a fight during the breaks they usually discuss them with students. In
case of fighting it is typical that they let the principal decide about the punishment, so basically
they shift the responsibility of decision making to the principal. The results do not show
whether teachers act the same way if they know the bullying student or if they do not know

The other Hungarian study that examines case handling (Simon et al. 2015) typified
teachers’ and students’ the reactions in the following way: usual, ideal, atypical, desired. (1)
Usual reactions: formal written regulation (e.g. School code of conduct), shouting, separation
(e.g. excluding student from common activities, transferring student to another class), nullify,
discrimination. (2) Ideal reactions: cease of hierarchy for better communication, study of
stress-solving techniques, differentiated treatment, parents’ immediate involvement, legal
consequences, social support and teachers’ attention. (3) Atypical reactions: those answers
which the researchers thought to have a role in certain situations, but they just remain
unformulated and unexpressed. On the other hand, those answers that become unusual due to
the lack of information felt by the students. That is to say something happens to the student
about which his/her classmates do not know, e.g. those events when students think that
teachers’ involvement is necessary because of the acceptance the teacher’s personality and not
because of the victim’s personality. Another atypical case is when the bully gets personalized
punishment. In these cases, schoolmates feel that “there was something wrong” with the
bullying student, because of which he did not get a stricter punishment. Separation also belongs
here, for example keeping the bully away from the group for a certain period of time. Physical
violence, shaming make also part of thi group, but it can occur that teachers decrease the
bully’s average marks. (4) Desired solutions: communication appropriate to the situation,
openness and smoothness at discussions, patience and persistence from the teacher’s part,
consistency, justice, strictness and the creation of an atmosphere in which students can express
their need for a safe, open, honest and taboo-free ambiance (as it appears at Mayer (2009) in the
focus group discussions).

In the third research investigating teachers’ case handling (Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a)

students also express their need for more effective teachers’ reaction to bulliying situations. For
typifying the teachers’ reactions to bullying events, the research used three of Black’s (1976)
systematization of social control. These divide the systems of social punishment-discipline
from the aspects of (a) the style and logic of regulation, (b) the formal characteristics of
control and (c) the degree of disciplinary punishments. Based on these the research analysed
the pedagogical steps handling violent behavior in school.

The (a) theory concerning four different legal styles and social control examines
the logic and style of the monitoring, evaluation and regulation of behavior appearing in
school communities (Nagy & Várhegyi, 1992): penal, compensatory, therapeutic and
conciliatory styles:

(1) Penal style regulation: form used in criminal law, aim is to punish or penalise
offenders in some manner for acts considered blameworthy or morally repugnant. When
breaking this law, the group or community stands up as a whole against the perpetrator.
The deviant act is in the center of attention, which is sanctioned by punishment. The
aim of this procedure is to determine guilt or innocence and to prevent the repetition of the
(2) Compensatory style regulation: the insulted initiates this procedure. The deviant
person is the indebted who did not fulfil his obligation, therefore the insulted got harmed.
The consequence of deviant behavior is in the center of this regulation style, which can
be diverse, so it requires different compensations. The aim of procedure is to restore the
damage. (Similarly to the previous procedure, here as well one party wins while the other

(3) Therapeutic style regulation: it is a regulation form applied in juvenile delinquency or

psychotherapy, which treats the deviant person as victim. He himself (as a victim) initiates
the procedure, as the person who needs some help. The deviant person is in the center of
regulation and the aim of the procedure is to reach “normal” state with the help of the
helper by ceasing the “bad situation”.

(4) Conciliatory style regulation: this style is consensual and not coersive, the procedure
is initiated by the people who are arguing. The deviant individual is one of the parties
participating in the argument. The conflict is in the center of regulation and the aim of
procedure is to solve conflict and restore the relationship between the parties.

As for the (b) formal characteristics of control the bilateral and trilateral model is

(1) In the bilateral model the punisher and the punished take part in the procedure.

(2) In the trilateral model regulartion procedure in which an external third party e.g.
mediator is present who helps to create a compromise between the two parties.

From the aspect of (3) the degree of punishment we can differentiate between three. Nagy &
Várhegyi linked them with the pedagogical solutions applied in 1992:

(1) Correction: the correction of inappropriate behaviour, for example with telling the
student off

(2) Scaring: preventing the repetition of inappropriate behavior, e.g. sending the student to
the headmaster, telling somebody off, etc.

(3) Retaliation: After inappropriate behavior the student has no “more chance”, since the
consequence is suspension from school or exclusion. Another solution typically applied is
to give a “private student” status to the student who continues his/her studies “at home”.

A situation created by a violent event is complex, therefore it is impractical to analyze
the teachers’ reactions only from one aspect. Because of this the case study (Dóczi-Vámos,
2016a) used all three analization aspects for case analysis. According to the results (see on
Table 2) the different regulating styles, forms and degrees are simultaneously present and it
depends on the given situation and on the actors taking part in it which regulational solution is
chosen. The most frequent regulating forms are penal and conciliatory. Penal regulating form is
typically used in the cases when students are violent against teachers, while conciliatory form is
typically applied when it is about students with each other. The other two regulating forms
occur very rarely and mostly in determined cases (e.g. compensatory: destroying or damanging
of school property). Teachers typically intervene in violent events but students in different roles
perceive intervention in different ways. Those who are farther from the events and whose role
is not obvious (e.g. passive supporters) do not perceive that discussions follow the events. So
teachers involve only those students in case handling who can obviously identified as
participants. However, this way those students who felt they were part of the events as audience
since the “play” happened in front of them may feel excluded (Twemlow & Sacco, 2012;
Coloroso, 2014). This way nonetheless bullying is a group phenomenon, solution does not
apply to the whole community.

Table 2: Systematization of the discipline-punishment solutions typical of an organization,

according to forms and regulations (Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a)

Compensatory Therapeutic Conciliatory

Penal regulation
regulation regulation regulation
The two parties taking
In case of damaging In case of part in the violent
school property. cumulative acts. situation deals with the
Typically student- Typically events without
Bilateral The hierarchy between institution student involving a third party.
the different parties Degreet: Scaring, Degreet: Typically student-
taking part in the Retaliation Scaring, student
violent situation can Retaliation Degreet: -
be well detected in its
Typically student- The discussion
adult between the two
Degreet: Scaring, parties of the violent
Trilateral Retaliation X X situation is led by a
Typically student-
Degreet: correction

It turned out from the research that it is strongly related to individual beliefs which
solution is chosen in which cases. Very few cases reach the principal; the vice-principal is the
most informed about disciplinary issues or violence in the school, he is the one who takes a
central role in the iconduction of disciplinary procedures. Certain cases do not reach the
teachers, or after they reach them, the teachers decide not to intervene because they think that
the students can handle it among each other (conciliatory regulation – bilateral model). Those
teachers who do not intervene if only by reflecting on the way the students solved the
situation contribute to the maintenance of the taboos.

Bullies Teacher as
Followers/ figure
Henchmen Defender

bullies/ Possible
supporters defender

supporters/ Disengaged
Possible onlookers

Figure 4:
The circle of bullying and the presence of authority people (Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a based on Olweus,
Social psychological aspects must be taken into consideration to explain how case
handling and the lack of adult intervention contribute to the maintenance of violence and
bullying in an institution. There are three experiments that are milestones proving how social
environment and an authority figure influence an individual’s answer in a given situation:
Kurt Lewin’s leadership decision experiments in 1930s, Stanley Milgram’s
experiments on obedience to authority figures in 1960s, and Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford
Prison Experiment in 1971. This is further refined by John Darley and Bibb Latané’s
bystander effect experiments from the 1960s, to understand why people do not help those in
need. Since in our case all this happens in school, the teacher is present as an authority
figura, as it is shown in Figure 4.

This supports the necessity of teachers’ reaction, because it depends on their intervention
how roles, events, power dynamics (so bullying) evolve in the everyday life of an institution
through the years. We may take the risk to suppose that in lack of intervention the organization
can appear as aggressor.

Hungarian research show that the adults working in a school react differently to the
different violent behaviour. This can be a result of not learning case handling at an
organisational level. Foreign studies (e.g. Yoon & Kerber, 2003) show that there are certain
types of bullying, such as excommunication, to which teachers do not have answers, methods
to handle. It is proven that students expect more serious, stricter reaction from teachers (Mayer,
2009; Simon et al. 2015). Students do not like ignorance in these cases and more of them
expect punishment in comparison with those perceiving it (Simon et al. 2015). When teachers
ignore violent events victims feel that they do not pay attention to them (Yoon & Kerber, 2003).
Many studies found that a clear majority of students do not feel protected by teachers (Mayer,
2009; Figula et al. 2011b; Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a) and this can be explained by bullying being a
taboo topic in schools or by teachers not talking about it (Figula et al. 2011b; Dóczi-Vámos,

It can be said that severe and punishing discipline (Henry, 2009; Allen, 2010), fear of
being different and discrimination, authoritarian and strict atmosphere, zero tolerance
(Hirschfield, 2008), the acceptance of violence and its treatment as a masculine norm (Johnson,
2006; Henry, 2009) and the lack and inconsistency of intervention and case handling (Yoon &
Kerber, 2003) all contribute to the maintenance of violence and bullying within an
organization. The organization’s answer to violence is determining from the aspect of its
occurrence. The aim is the building and increase of trust in interpersonal relationships and the
evolution of the culture of safety (Warner, Weist & Krulak, 1999; Greene, 2005), because an
organizational culture full of fear splits participants and through “social exploitation” makes
those who have less power become victims (Thompkins, 2000; Watts & Erevelle, 2004; Lindle,

Hence we think that case handling, a well functioning detecting and reporting
system is already part of prevention (Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a) as the developing of which is the
goal of numerous prevention programs (Watkins & Maume, 2011). Several international
programs have been born since the 1980s, as well as the number of international meta-analyses
dealing with the efficiency of the anti-bullying programs have grown significantly (Smith,

While scientific analyses of intervention and prevention programs appear more dynamically in
the international arena (Elliott & Tolan 1999; Orpinas, Kelder, Frankowski, Murray, Zhang &
McAlister, 2000; Farrell, Meyer, Kung & Sullivan, 2001; Fagan & Mihalic, 2003; Smith,
Schneider, Smith & Ananiadou, 2004; Ferguson, San Miguel, Kilburn & Sanchez, 2007;
Vreeman & Carroll, 2007; Dailey, Frey & Walker, 2015), there is no such scientific meta-
analysis in the Hungarian context, due to what the related terminology is not clarified either
(Dóczi-Vámos, 2016b). There is no official definition of bullying prevention programs or
violence prevention programs, while we differentiate at least 2 types of programs. One type
includes those few hour-long presentations, several day-long programs, which are elaborated
and brought to the school by out-of-school organisations (e.g. National Crime Prevention
Council). The other type includes those programs which require organizational
implementation, which can become a part of the inner world of school (e.g. KiVa, restorative
conflict resolution, OBPP). The previously mentioned “Pump-Handle interventions” cannot be
listed in the category of programs and “they are argued from the aspect of prevention”
(Aronson, 2009). As opposed to the presence of the police or the security, students’ perception
of safety depends on their teacers’ presence. One of the most determining protective factor
against bullying is the students and teachers’ relationship and the extent of the teachers’ caring
attention (Astor, Meyer & Beyer, 1999; Watts & Erevelle, 2004; Lindle, 2008). The more
personal school culture is, the less probable violent events occur (Warner, Weist & Krulak,
1999; Greene, 2005).

The aim is not to introduce a long-term prevention program, but to develop an anti-
violent school atmosphere, which can mean the reformation of the organization (Twemlow &
Sacco, 2012). The change of atmosphere is a reflective learning based self-diagnostic process,
which can mean the remarkable change of the life of the community (e.g. change of norms,
customs), for which process the organization must be ready. Change can appear in the
revolution of routines, transformation of structure, culture and in the change of strategy, and it
also can be elaborated by teachers (Czakó, 2011). In case of those organizations, which aim to
develop a non-violent approach, all these can mean the elaboration of pedagogical answers
given to antisocial behavior both at individual and at organizational levels, the functioning of a
good detecting and reporting system, the organization of community life through regular
activities, the practice of non-violent communication, common learning about school violence
and bullying and the support of an empathic atmosphere and emotional recreation as well
(Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a).

Besides the implementation of these programs it is worth knowing that not only the
frequency of bullying but its decrease and prevention are also in connection with the different
levels of human-ecological model. If bullying is a systematic group process, which involves
bullies, victims, peers, parents, home and school environment as well, then intervention
focusing on only one level (e.g. level of individual) do not seem to be effective in creating
consistent significant impacts and result in a real change of the school life. To sum up, the lack
of the system-level approach of the interconnected human ecological approach and
sociocultural models is likely to undermine success (Vreeman & Carroll, 2007 quotes by
Moore, Jones & Broadbent, 2008; Buda, 2015; Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a, 2016b).

As far as we know there is no overall meta-analysis about anti-violence programs in

Hungary. Although the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development
supported initiatives to collect programs in the country (ISKON knowledge center), we know
about only one research that collected information in connection with prevention programs in
public education. It reveals prevention of school aggression, but not from the point of view of
the programs (Paksi, 2009). So, we need to rely on international works when we want to know
about the main experience concerning the introduction and maintenance of such programs. By
today, the meta-analysis of the success of anti-bullying programs and the number of studies
dealing with the effects of the programs have grown significantly at the international platform
(Smith, 2011). The results are diverse. According to the first meta-analyses, the programs
usually seemed to be minimally successful (Orpinas, Kelder, Frankowski, Murray, Zhang &
McAlister, 2000; Fagan & Mihalic, 2003; Smith, Schneider, Smith & Ananiadou, 2004;
Ferguson, San Miguel, Kilburn & Sanchez, 2007; Vreeman & Carroll, 2007; Dailey, Frey &
Walker, 2015). A study in 2007 revised the prevention programs of 10 countries implemented
between 1966 and 2004 (Vreeman & Carroll, 2007). According to their results 26 programs
fitted their system of criteria, which meant the presence of control and test groups and there
was a follow-up accompanied by monitoring and assessment. Later analyses have brought more
encouraging results. For instance Ttofi & Ferrington analysed 44 good-quality anti-bullying
programs in 2011 and found that the presence of bullying behavior decreased by 20-23% and
that of victimization decreased by 17-20%. In cases of programs like the Finnish KiVa or the
Norvegian OBPP they found a decrease of 40-50% which can be considered to be a significant

As for the target groups there are universal programs, selective or indicated programs
focusing on different groups of students. There are whole school programs and interventions
focusing on special schools or classes and also there are comprehensive/multimodal programs.
There are differences in their definitions, however, as the big picture shows, whole school
programs embracing the whole school population are more successful than those focusing only
on certain students or groups of students of the school (Olweus, 1993; Farrell et al. 2001;
Vreeman & Carroll, 2007). Their advantage is that they do not label or categorize, and since
every student works together, the endangered ones can learn from their socially more
competent peers. Professionals consider this kind of prevention useful mainly in the form of
whole school prevention but less effective with certain students (Barnes, Smith & Miller,
2014). Nevertheless the success of universal programs cannot be considered as to be general.
Orpinas et al.’s (2000) program implementation trial shows that not all the schools can
introduce a program at school level, since there are institutions which are not capable of
investing substantial resources so suddenly, the organization is not capable of quick renewal
and of rapid change. Further danger of these programs can be that their attention skims over
endangered studentswho would need more intensive psychological or pedagogical
interventions. Working in smaller groups seems to be useful for the individuals, since teachers
can accommodate better to the students’ personal characteristics. However the possibility of
stigmatization can be there and since violence and bullying are sensitive topics to talk about,
and due to the distortion effects enlisted previously it is not sure that in the course of a situation
analysis we get a clear picture about student involvement. This way it can happen that those
students are selected who do not need this targeted intervention and those who would need it
are not included in the program (Barnes et al. 2014).

Farrell et al. (2001) and Fagan & Mihalic (2003) put extra emphasis on
implementation, because of the recognition of common problems and difficulties during the
process. Programs do not only mean the presence of certain technical elements, which could be
implemented as they are, without any changes. Success mainly depends on the receiving skills
of the organization (Fagan & Mihalic, 2003; Twemlow & Sacco, 2012). It also depends on how
the colleagues are able to form the program to their own image besides keeping certain
elements of the program as they are. Furthermore, the program coordinator’s or manager’s
implementation competencies and attitude towards innovation, towards violence and bullying
and his/her openness to change are very important and determining factors. Fagan and Mihalic
(2003) that only 5% of the impact assessment reports mention implementation. It can be seen
that there is little information available about which could be the elements of successful and
non-successful program adaptation, implementation and institutionalization.

To sum up, it can be seen that organizational embeddedness, the involvement of

teachers into decisions related introduction and the formation of a common theoretical,
conceptual and terminological framework are necessary for success. Furthermore, it is
important to define and set common goals, to formally organize institutional level groups
accepted by everyone and to introduce systematic follow-up and monitoring (Dóczi-Vámos,
2016a, 2016b).

Based on their research Mavroudis & Bournelli (2016) think that the use of drama methods is a
possible and useful solution from the aspect of bullying prevention. Drama can be an effective
supplementary activity of bullying prevention programs, since it makes the recognition of
human nature possible in a deep way and therefore it is more successful than other programs.
Furthermore, drama improves self-knowledge more than other programs. By using different
methods of art and culture, the methods of drama pedagogy make it possible to explore and
experience identity and its expression. However, there are limited evidences about the effects
of the implementation of drama and theatre pedagogy although they are widespread in different
health-promotion programs. In their study Joronen, Konu, Rankin & Astedt-Kurki (2011)
examined the development, introduction and realization of a school drama program and its
impact on elementary school students’ social relationships as well as its effect on the decrease
of bullying present in the school. They considered the program as complex, since it contained
classroom drama activities, follow-up activities and also parents’ evening-meetings as well
throughout the whole school year. In their research they worked with test groups and control
groups and they also carried out pre-test and post-test. Nevertheless the researchers could only
draw tendency-like conclusion about the improvement of social relationships (in the case of the
classes where the implementation was more intense, the impact was also statistically more
significant), bullying decreased significantly (by 20,7%) in the test group. This supports the
significance and importance of the application of drama methods in dealing with bullying.
Based on the above mentioned results, it seems reasonable that we make an attempt to
explore the possibilities of the application of Theatre in Education in handling school bullying
in the frameworks of a Hungarian research. Before introducing the research methods, we would
like to deal with a phenomenon that is becoming more and more significant: cyberbullying. It
seems to be a growing tendency and the second performance of our investigation focuses on
this phenomena as well.

We have a special focus on cyberbullying, i.e. bullying in the online space. Kowalski, Giumetti,
Schroeder & Lattanner (2014) name it as bullying conducted via electronic communication
channels, because events do not necessarily have to happen online, so for instance sending
SMS belongs here. The Tabby Projekt in 2011 defines it as the use of internet or other types of
digital technologies for bullying others. Due to the novelty of the phenomenon and to the rapid
development of technology the definition is looking for its place, its interpretation in relation to
the “conventional” forms. According to some approaches online bullying is an independent
category, but others consider it as not. The American National Center Against Bullying
considers it an independent category, which is supported by those arguments that events in
cyberspace leave marks, not like the “conventional” forms of bullying. It is not necessary that
the bully and the victim are in the same place, furthermore, online bullying, for example a
rumour spreading online creates hundreds of witnesses, i.e. bystanders, who do not necessarily
want to be part of the events but they do not have a decision about it. Moreover, electronic
bullying has sub-types, just like conventional forms. Willard’s (2007) taxonomy is the
following: flaming (online argument, provocation), bullying (harmful messages repeatedly),
cheating (a personal matter which is acquired by some trick), exclusion, excommunication
(blocking), imitation (sending messages on behalf of another person), cyber-stalking (repeated
threatening communication), sexting (sending sexual contents without permission).

There are arguments supporting that electronic bullying is the appearance of bullying
through a typical channel and that it is not an independent category. Bullying is antisocial no
matter on which interface it happens. It is about unbalanced power relations among
participants, regularly repeated series of events. Furthermore, studies found strong correlation
between the roles in virtual and in physical world. Those, who play a role of a bully are more
likely to harass online, too (Smith, Mahdavi, Carvalho, Fisher, Russell & Tippett, 2008). The
correlation between conventional and electronic bullying forms is also reinforced by a

Hungarian research (Simon et al., 2015). Both standpoints agree that the appearance of
cyberbullying has numerous new dangers in relation to the previous ones.

Teachers and students judge cyberbullying differently. Teachers regard physical bullying
the most serious form of bullying, while students regard diverse forms of online bullying
(sharing awkward pictures, offense on an online platform) the most serious ones (Simon et al.
2015). Moreover, teachers claim online bullying to be more powerful than students (Muñoz,
2013; Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a), although we have talked about the possible distortion factors of
invetigating bullying, like this the distortion based on self-assessment. Accordingly, a 2016
case study (Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a) found that half of the examined student respondents feel that
online bullying is present among them. The latest Hungarian national HBSC research (Németh
& Költő, 2014) examined cyberbullying. They examined offensive messages and sending of
awkward photos. They found that in the case of 5-11 grade students bullying messages are the
most common. Approximately 2% of the students were bullied by their peers in all three ways,
that is awkward picture about them was shared, offensive message was sent to them and they
were bullied in the school as well. 7.5% of the students got offensive messages and 3.2% got
awkward photos besides not being bullied in the school in a conventional way. For deeper
understanding of the phenomenon further research are needed to be carried out in Hungary.

“The Nerd” is a Theatre in Education performance that focuses on being excluded because of
being different. Niki is a 16 year-old girl in a small town (Földvár) who is an excellent student
and athlete. Her teachers like her too.
One of the students in the class, Gazsi/Cili regularly mocks Niki's achievements and interests.
The class’s reactions and the attitude of the classmates to the situation are determined by the
participants. The main focus of the program is: what is the responsibility of those who are
staying outside of the conflict situation as observers? In addition, the following issues are
tackled: What is the consequence of the observers staying passive? Can passivity be considered
as activity, and if so, is it against harassment or, on the contrary, does it strengthens it? Where
is the limit of exclusion, where do the bystanders feel the need to intervene?

The story of the TiE takes place in a Canadian elite secondary school. Among young people the
online application CYBER is trendy, a social media interface that lets you send private and
group messages and pictures. CyberDee, the popular Youtuber, receives a video recording that
shows a school fight, and in the end a phone number. The young man begins to investigate and
report to his constant followers about the extreme, yet seemingly everyday case. He meets the
owner of the phone number, Laura Garcia Gonzalez personally. She tells a story: Scarlett
recently had a naked picture spread across the school after being asked to take a picture of
herself by Russell, the coolest football player of the class. But Russell has a girlfriend, Kate.
Scarlett was always a “girl like that” and never really got accepted by the class community.
Laura has to be friends with Kate if she wants to be cool. The fifth actor is Jay, a shy boy,
Russel's teammate, who finally turns out to have recorded and sent the video. The most
important characters of the story for the interactions are Laura and Jay, the two members “in
the middle”. What is needed to stand up against the aggressors, to protect the weak, or just
ourselves, and justice if we endanger our popularity? The actor-teachers are looking for
answers in the classroom, together with the participants, based on the play of Even Placey
called “Girls Like That”.

The research was planned based on the methodology of impact assessment, which is an
evidential method, assessing whether a certain intervention met its certain goals for a certain
target audience. When working with this approach we shall take into consideration that above
the direct and intended impacts some indirect and unintended impacts may arise. Our research
may be categorized as a natural experiment, because we integrate into the everyday work of an
organization and we examine the implementation of its' activities, moreover in the natural
environment of the schools, and the classes involved (Sági & Széll, 2015). These specialities
set a few barriers in front of the research, about which we will talk later in the framework of the
summary. To sufficiently reveal the impacts and their contexts and dynamics, we applied a
mixed methodological approach. Therefore, the quantitative analysis was also supported by
qualitative data collection, with a test group and a control group, where data was collected from
before and after the envisaged intervention. Also, we have taken the classroom ecology into
consideration as an analyzation unit, and the school climate as an important variable, which are
both suggested for researchers in this field by Pryce & Frederickson (2013) based on examining
numerous papers about bullying.

At the beginning of the research we carried out a preliminary examination and we tested
the planned tools to find the sufficient techniques for the test period, lasting until 2018. At the
first five tested performances of “The Nerd” (“Stréber”, title of the performance) we formed
those frames by which we would later test the following 15 performances of the same play.
Afterwards the actor-teachers and directors created a new TiE performance, titled “Body-
Image-Presenters" (“Testképmutogatók”) which was meant to focus more on cyberbullying.
Also 5 performances belonged to the preliminary examination period, and later we tested 10
performances until 2018 with the method we will later detail.

Regarding the structure of the research, before the planned intervention (Theatre in
Education “TiE” performance) data collectors have made a semi-structured interview with the
teacher about the special characteristics of the class and asked the students to fill out a
questionnaire in the test group and in the control group as well. This was followed by the
intervention at the test group, where two data recording observers were present, who observed
the behavior of the students, the implementation of the workshop and its perceptible impacts,
and its reception in the group, supported by a structured aspect list. Afterwards the same people
recorded a semi-structured interview with the actor-teachers about their opinion of the
performance and their impression of the group. One week after the workshop the data recorders
returned to the class and recorded a second semi-structured interview with the teacher, this time
about the post-life of the performance, the impacts on the group and the questions raised since.
The students completed the second questionnaire in the test group and in the control group as
well. The teachers and the participating students’ parents signed a consent form before the
performances. The same data recorders recorded the interviews who have carried out the
observation and the completion of the questionnaires in order to increase the focus of the
observations, however this was not always possible as the group of volunteers and occasional
data recorders were challenging to organize. The next figure visually demonstrates the
methodologies applied during our research (Figure 5). With this research structure we have
information about the process itself above the input and output data. Based on our assumptions
the co-analyzation of these can give quite a complex picture of the mode of action of the TiE
intervention and its role in dealing with the phenomenon of bullying.

Figure 5: Structure of the research

We completed the quantitative parts of our research with qualitative examinations in order to
reveal the cause-effect relations, and to get wider knowledge of the examined subject. Applying
the open, qualitative observation and the semi-structured interview technique led to the
opportunity to reveal the minor changes about the perceived concept of bullying or the behavior
related to bullying. Based on the aforementioned theoretical background the aim of our
research is to reveal the impact of the two TiE performances regarding certain factors of the
nature of bullying and/or the knowledge of and attitude towards bullying in the adult and
student communities of the schools.

We analyzed the recorded scripts of the semi-structured interviews and the observations
with qualitative content analysis. As a first phase of this the analysts formed coding units,
which were constantly changing during the coding. Latent contents also emerged at the
analysation period; the codes were classified into main- and sub themes. From the teacher
interviews before and after the performance (before- and after-interviews) we examined the
involvement of the class, its cohesive force, the attitude of the teacher towards their class and
the subject, their image and knowledge of the performance, and the preferable conflict
management techniques. The after-interviews were recorded one week after the performance,
for the teachers to have an opportunity to discuss the performance with their class. The focus
was on the possible changes in the attitude compared to the before-interview, and we could get
familiar with the opinion of the teacher about the effectivity of the applied TiE method. During
our open, qualitative observation two observers were present at each performance, preferably at

the two ends of the room. This way they had the opportunity to follow the small group
communications of the students working in a circle. The observers took notes based on priorly
agreed aspects, which served as a starting point, but they were open to any other events which
seemed relevant, so they built in new criteria from performance to performance (based on
Szokolszky, 2004).

The teachers could only take part in the performance as observers according to the
agreed terms, but still they did interfere many times, which was also an interesting information
for the observers and analysts. The observers entered the room at the same time as the actor-
teachers. Then they recorded the unique features of the environment, the characteristics of the
classroom. The students joined them later, when the lessons started. In the before-interviews
the teachers gave a description of all the students whose behavior they thought could be of
interest and should be at the centre of attention of the observers as they were involved in the
subject (victim, bully, or they are on the periphery of the group etc.). In many cases they also
discretely described them before the performance to the observers, considering where they sit
or what kind of clothes they were wearing. We present the analyzation criteria (the direct
impact of the application of the TiE, the context, the teacher's attitude and presence,
attitude towards the participants of the bullying situation, and the gender role
expectations and stereotypes) established during the performances and based on the
examinations in more detail in the discussion.

After forming the goals and frames of the research based on the conversations carried out with
practicing experts we marked those areas we could measure regarding the intervention. We
revealed the tools applied in national and international researches and we were searching for
already calibrated, tried out tools, or at least those about which there was available proof of
reliability. While searching for the tools, it was an important aspect that it becomes possible to
approach bullying from more perspectives, taking the context and group aspects into
consideration as well. Based on all of the above we chose the Student School Survey
measurement tool of Williams & Guerra (2007) from the collection prepared by Hamburger,
Basile & Vivolo (2011), which reveals more aspects that are important for us. We chose the
main scale based on this tool, customized the group of background variables according to the
relevant context, and when picking the scales. After the data recording we carried out the
reliability examination (Cronbach’s Alpha) of the scales of the tools, which is shown at the next
table (Table 3).
Table 3: Reliability of the used scales for the sample of the performances each and for
the whole sample

Scale name and number of items The Nerd Body-Image- Whole sample
sample Presenters Cronbach alfa
Cronbach sample values
alfa values Cronbach alfa
Social coherency and trust (7 items) 0,732 0,753 0,745
School climate (8 item) 0,826 0,855 0,847
Bullying problem perception (22 0,940 0,949 0,944
Bullying behavior (3 items) 0,888 0,880 0,883
Bystander behavior (8 item) 0,606 0,827 0,766
Victim behavior (4 item) 0,806 0,889 0,883
Perceived social support (6 items) 0,770 0,816 0,824
Self-respect (8 items) 0,858 0,860 0,858
Moral judgement of bullying (10 0,835 0,852 0,849
Social control of students (4 items) 0,848 0,879 0,867
Social control of teachers (4 items) 0,917 0,921 0,919
Physical bullying (5 items) 0,804 0,805 0,804
Social bullying (5 items) 0,874 0,890 0,881
Verbal bullying (7 items) 0,887 0,899 0,893
Cyberbullying (5 items) 0,808 0,775 0,789

Based on the values in the table we can deduct that the originally used items also group
into a reliable (high Cronbach alfa values) scale on the Hungarian sample. In the following
chapter we look at the most important characteristics of the students participating in the data

In the framework of the research we examined the implementation and impacts of two
performances (The Nerd, Body-Image-Presenters). Regarding The Nerd, we have data from 10
schools, 15 classes altogether. After the data cleansing, 1140 usable completed form remained
in the database. Resulting from the structure of the research the sample requires further
division. In the test group there are data available from 593 students altogether (335 students
completed it before and 258 after the intervention), and in the control group 548 students
completed the survey (285 before and 262 after the intervention). Regarding the Body-Image-
Presenters we have data from 8 institutions altogether, from 9 classes. In this case we have data
from 1199 students in all after the data cleansing, meaning that 556 students completed the
survey as a control group (286 before, and 270 after the intervention), and 643 students
completed it as a test group (356 before and 287 after the intervention). In all we have 2339
completed surveys from 18 institutions, from 19 classes.

The performances took place/were implemented in secondary schools (there are

grammar schools as well as vocational schools in the sample) and elementary schools mainly in
Budapest, Pest, Heves, Veszprém and Fejér Counties. We refer to the institutions by
codenames in order to protect the privacy of the participants.

The average age of the respondents were 15.8 years regarding the performance The
Nerd. 63.2% of the respondents were boys, 36.8% girls. About the number of siblings, 43.5%
claimed to have no brothers, 42% has one, 10% has two, 3.4% has three and 1.1% has four or
more brothers. 44.1% of the respondents have no sisters, 41.5% has one, 11.2% has two, 2.3%
has three and 1% has four or more siblings. Based on the statement of the respondents 3.6% of
their mothers (or stepmothers) have 8 years or less elementary school attainment, 62.2% have
medium-level qualifications (matriculation exam or a technical qualification) and 34.2% have
higher education qualifications, among the fathers (or stepfathers) 6.8% have 8 years or less
elementary school attainment, 69.5% have medium-level qualifications (matriculation exam or
a technical qualification) and 23.7% have higher educational qualifications. The school grades
of the respondents are excellent for 21%, good for 43.5%, 30.9% has average grades and 4%
has bad grades based on their self-declaration. Regarding their social situation, 8% of the
students claimed to live among significantly better, 33.5% among mainly better circumstances
than average families. 55.8% marked an average standard of living, and 2.8% claimed that they
live in worse or significantly worse circumstances than the average.

The average age of the respondents is 13.2 years regarding the performance Body-
Image-Presenters. 47% of the respondents were boys, 53% girls. About the number of
siblings, 41.1% claimed to have no brothers, 39.5% has one, 15.1% has two, 2.3% has three
and 2% has four or more brothers. 40.6% of the respondents have no sisters, 44.2% has one,
9.7% has two, 3.7% has three and 1.8% has four or more siblings. Based on the statements of
the respondents 5.4% of their mothers (or stepmothers) have 8 years or less elementary school
attainment, 35.9% have medium-level qualifications (matriculation exam or a technical
qualification) and 58.7% have higher education qualifications, among the fathers (or
stepfathers) 5.6% have 8 years or less elementary school attainment, 39.2% have medium-level
qualifications (matriculation exam or a technical qualification) and 55.2% have higher
educational qualifications. The school grades of the respondents are excellent for 53%, good
for 33.8%, 11.9% has average grades and 1.3% has bad grades based on their self-declaration.
Regarding the social situation 10.7% of the students claimed to live among significantly better,
39.4% among mainly better circumstances than average families. 47.3% marked an average
standard of living, and 2.6% claimed that they live in worse or significantly worse
circumstances than the average.

Regarding the whole sample the average age is 14.31 years (between 10-19 years),
54.1% of the respondents are boys and approximately 42% is an only child. The students live in
families where the mothers (or stepmothers) mostly have a middle-level (47.6%) or higher level
(47.8%) educational background, while 52.7% of the fathers (or stepfathers) have middle level,
and 41.2% have higher level educational qualifications. The majority lives in towns (48.6%) or
the capital (22.6%) and approximately a quarter (26.1%) lives in villages. Regarding their
social situation 51% of the students claimed to have an average standard of living, and 2.6%
claimed that they live in worse and 46.3% in better circumstances than the average. Overall the
respondents claimed to have good grades (38.1%), 22.8% marked below average, and 39%
marked above average grades.

In the following we present the general analyses of the quantitative data records. We
continue with the synthesis of the quantitative and qualitative information regarding each
performance we attempt to find an answer to our research question.

Firstly, we are going to present the results of the questionnaires belonging to the two
performances through describing statistics. The average of the main scales created by measures
is presented by pre- and post-questionnaire, and the tables of The Nerd (Table 4) and Body-
Image-Presenter (Table 5) describe the significant differences between them.

Table 4: Main data of The Nerd questionnaires

Significant difference
Scale name Average between the pre-test and
the post-test

pre- post-
pre-test post-test
control control

Social cohesion and trust 19,8577 19,6620 20,6047 19,9216 -

School climate 26,3911 25,5591 27,0529 26,0825 -

ANOVA F(3)=10,507;
Bullying problem perception 81,1883 66,9385 77,5093 63,8950 p<0,001

Games-Howell: p=0,001

Bullying behavior 14,7027 14,1595 14,2154 12,8085 -

Bullying bystander behavior 21,6404 18,4678 20,4727 17,1429 -

Bullying victim behavior 34,6973 27,6409 33,4453 26,6116 -

Perceived peer support 15,6839 16,0235 16,1563 15,7771 -

Self esteem 25,2548 25,3989 24,4133 24,1749 -

Moral judgement of bullying 15,6714 16,5189 14,1206 15,4837 -

Peer to peer control of -

8,6881 8,9744 8,6465 8,5946

Teacher to student control 11,5488 11,2500 10,8286 10,9372 -

Physical bullying 14,7027 14,1595 14,2154 12,8085 -

ANOVA F(3)=8,072
Social bullying 21,6404 18,4678 20,4727 17,1429 p<0,001

Games-Howell: p=0,01

ANOVA F(3)=16,477;
Verbal bullying 34,6973 27,6409 33,4453 26,6116 p<0,001

Games-Howell: p<0,001

Cyberbullying 11,6396 10,8805 11,9723 10,4477 -

Table 5: Main data of the Body-Image-Presenters questionnaires

Significant difference
Scale name Average between the pre-test and
the post-test
pre- post-
pre-test post-test
control control
Social cohesion and trust 20,11 20,59 20,84 21,08 -

School climate 27,66 27,84 29,33 28,74 -

ANOVA F(3)=15,011;
86,32 64,27 75,51 63,16 p<0,001
Bullying problem perception
Games-Howell: p<0,001

Bullying behavior 10,59 10,16 10,81 10,06 -

Bullying bystander behavior 24,98 25,15 25,63 24,54 -

Bullying victim behavior 12,38 12,91 13,01 13,00 -

Perceived peer support 16,69 17,04 17,23 17,53 -

Self esteem 24,44 24,81 24,78 25,28 -

Moral judgement of bullying 15,65 14,91 15,52 15,44 -

Peer to peer control of -

8,92 9,60 8,87 9,19
Teacher to student control 11,12 11,40 11,76 10,82 -

ANOVA F(3)=6,740;
16,20 13,12 15,45 14,01 p<0,001
Physical bullying
Games-Howell: p<0,001

ANOVA F(3)=14,488;
23,28 17,70 20,69 17,34 p<0,001
Social bullying
Games-Howell: p<0,001

ANOVA F(3)=18,487;
34,71 25,41 29,94 25,82 p<0,001
Verbal bullying
Games-Howell: p<0,001

ANOVA F(3)=4,762;
13,18 10,77 12,43 11,08 p=0,003
Games-Howell: p=0,004

In most cases comparison did not show a significant difference in case of the test group
at the pre- and post-testing. Our expectation was this in one part of the scales; in others we held
a hypothesis that there would be a change. In case of some variables we could not expect this
move. If we examine those variables that count as contextual variables from the aspect of the
individual or the group (social cohesion and trust, school climate, social support and self-
esteem), then it would be good if the value of variables remained stable in relation to the pre-
and post-test, since the intervention did not aspire to change these. These are constructs based
on theoretical consideration, which are more stable in time. As it is shown in Figure 6 we

cannot experience any changes in these variables neither in case of the test group nor in case of
either performances in relation to the pre-and post-test.

Figure 6: Contextual variables related to the two performances’ questionnaires

With respect to the nature of intervention (period and repetition) that is in focus of our
examination, we cannot expect significant change in the behavior of participants. This is
supported by the fact that in the scales (bullying behavior, bystander behavior, victim behavior)
related to different types of bullying and roles, we did not experience any significant change in
the performances in relation to the pre- and post-test. In order to change these, we think that we
need interventions with a holistic approach and lasting for an extended time, and this opinion is
also supported by literature. These values are shaped according to our expectations, which is
shown on Figure 7.

Figure 7: Change in bullying behavior and roles related to the two performances according to
the questionnaires

We gave too much importance to the factors related to the control of bullying, such as the
moral acceptance of bullying or social control from students and teachers. These are the
characteristics of the context that can directly affect the appearance of bullying. We thought
that the performance can affect the awareness of responsibility of different participants, and we
expected change on the level of hypothesis, but it did not happen in neither of the
performances. Figure 8 describes this issue.

Figure 8: Change of control of bullying related to the two performances questionnaires

In those variables, in which we asked about the different types of problem handling of
bullying, we expected a decreasing tendency based on hypotheses, which was supported by
analyses. In case of The Nerd performance, we could observe types related to social and verbal
bullying (which also strengthen our expectations, since we focused on these types primarily).
While in case of the Body-Image-Presenters there is a statistically significant difference in
relation to the pre- and post-test and it is highlighted that in case of the Body-Image-Presenters,
the difference appears related to cyberbullying. This is shown on Figure 9.

Figure 9: Problem perception of bullying and its’ types related to the two performances

Indeed, we should not forget about the fact that the variables presented here are in close
relationship with each other, they can be interacted, and they affect each other. If we analyze
the correlation matrix we can see that social cohesion between trust and school climate (The
Nerd: r=0,709; p<0,001; Body-Image-Presenters r=0,765; p<0,001) and between social support
(The Nerd: r=0,463; p<0,001; Body-Image-Presenters: 0,565; p<0,001) is positive, which
means that contextual variables are present in a way that they strengthen each other. All the
three variables show a negative correlation with the problem perception of bullying (and with
the sub-types of bullying), which indicates that the organisational and social environment, and
individual characteristics have an important role in the prevention of bullying. Naturally we can
notice that bullying behavior helps the appearance of bystander behavior (and it is true vice
versa too, since we talk about interaction). The more bullying is judged in a community, the
less it appears (The Nerd: r=-0,276; p<0,001; Body-Image-Presenter: r=-0,203; p<0,001). It is
important to mention that we can see significant correlation between the social control of
students and teachers (Nerd: r=0,266; p<0,001; Body-Image-Presenters: r=0,446; p<0,001),
which indicates the importance of the two participants. Contextual characteristics (social
cohesion and trust, school climate) are in tighter correlation with the social control of teachers.
It is important to understand these correlations from the aspect of the interpretation of the
detailed analyses.

The picture is further shadowed if we examine which variables determine the extent in
case of those variables, where we can find significant difference in the pre- and post-test group
(bullying problem perception, physical-, social-, verbal- and cyberbullying). We analyzed the
previously mentioned variables as dependent variables with linear regression (in case of The
Nerd performance the variables of social and verbal bullying, the perception of bullying
problem, while in case of the Body-Image-Presenters we examined all the variables), and we
built in our created scales and the collected background data in our analysis (age, gender,
number of brothers, and sisters, order of brothers, residence, school performance, social
situation, etc.) by the stepwise analysing method, so only the variables with significant impact
remained. In case of The Nerd performance, the same 6 factors played significant roles: social
cohesion and trust, behavior of victim, peer support, moral judgement of bullying, social
situation, related to the pre- and post-data collection. The next table (Table 6) describes the
statistics and values of coefficients of the most fitted models. The correlation can be clearly
seen from the data, that the perceived peer support plays an important role in case of social
bullying, and it is social cohesion and trust that have a big effect on independent variables.

Table 6: Variables affecting the perception of bullying, appearance of social bullying and
verbal bullying related to The Nerd performance
Independent variable:
Dependent variable: Independent variable:
problem perception of
social bullying verbal bullying

Model statistics

Corrected R2 0,375 0,365 0,345

ANOVA F(6)=28,061; p<0,001 F(6)=30,114; p<0,001 F(6)=26,371; p<0,001


B=203,235 B=58,873 B=85,938

p<0,001 p<0,001 p<0,001

Social cohesion and ß=-0,334 ß=-0,319 ß=-0,314

trust p<0,001 p<0,001 p<0,001

Pre- or post- ß=-0,265 ß=-0,220 ß=-0,282
questionnaires p<0,001 p<0,001 p<0,001

Moral acceptance of ß=0,226 ß=0,176 ß=0,205

bullying p<0,001 p<0,001 p<0,001

ß=-0,159 ß=-0,171 ß=-0,195

Victim behavior
p=0,001 p<0,001 p<0,001

ß=-0,180 ß=-0,239 ß=-0,145

Perceived peer support
p=0,002 p<0,001 p=0,010

ß=0,128 ß=0,104 ß=0,094

Social situation
p=0,008 p=0,023 p=0,049

The following table (Table 7) shows the most important results of linear regression related to
collected data of Body-Image-Presenters. Here we can observe that other dependent variables
relate to certain independent variables in significant extent.

Table 7: Variables affecting the perception of bullying, appearance of social bullying and
verbal bullying related to The Body-Image-Presenter performance
Independent Independe Independe Independent
variable: ntvariable: ntvariable: variable Independent
problem physical social verbal variable:
perception of bullying bullying bullying cyberbullying

Model statistics

Corrected R2 0,497 0,368 0,458 0,475 0,324

ANOVA F(5)=34,12 F(5)=49,92 F(8)=33,219

F(6)=41,969; 8 0 F(6)=23,641;
p<0,001 p<0,001 p<0,001


B=227,490 B=35,358 B=72,575 B=87,734 B=38,554

p<0,001 p<0,001 p<0,001 p<0,001 p<0,001

Pre- or post- ß=-0,257 ß=-0,149 ß=-0,237 ß=-0,210 ß=-0,171

questionnaires p<0,001 p=0,002 p<0,001 p<0,001 p=0,001

Control- or test- - - ß=-0,094

- -
group p=0,031

Social cohesion and - ß=-0,246 ß=-0,188

ß=-0,135 -

p=0,076 p<0,001 p=0,007

ß=-0,260 ß=-0,365 ß=-0,177 ß=-0,186 ß=-0,245

School climate
p<0,001 p<0,001 p=0,009 p=0,006 p<0,001

Perceived peer ß=-0,188 - ß=-0,185 ß=-0,214 ß=-0,248

support p=0,002 p=0,001 p<0,001 p<0,001

- - ß=0,202 ß=0,143
Bullying behavior -
p=0,010 p=0,021

ß=-0,174 - ß=-0,199 ß=-0,219

Victim behavior
p=0,001 p<0,001 p=0,001

ß=-0,124 - ß=-0,320
Bystander behavior - -
p=0,010 p<0,001

Bullying moral ß=0,124 ß=0,292 - ß=0,195

acceptance p=0,009 p<0,001 p<0,001

Have already - - - ß=-0,124

participated on a -
TiE programme? p=0,014

Mother's highest ß=-0,162 - -

- -
level of education p=0,001

We can state that in the case of data connected to the performance of the Body-Image-
Presenters, the values of models are higher, and they involve variable factors to describe the
correlations. For instance, the problem perception of bullying is influenced by the school
climate, while in case of The Nerd this factor did not appear. In case of physical bullying it is
much more important how much bullying is accepted in the community, than in case of any
other bullying form. The effect of bystander behavior is shown mostly in connection with
verbal bullying, which can be explained with the fact that it is easier to be a viewer or observer
in such situations than in an active, physical confrontation.

Correlations presented here play an important role in case of further analyses, since we are
going to use these factors as control factors, when we present the detailed comparison of certain

We found it important to examine the level of unified communities besides analyzing
questionnaires. We wanted to know what happened to the effect of certain performances. Here
we support the quantitative data with information deriving from the qualitative data collection.
Figure 10 shows the summary of the quantitative data of The Nerd performance.

Figure 10: Detailed analysis of The Nerd

K1: social cohesion and trust V3: Victim behavior

K2: school climate C1: Moral acceptance of bullying
K3: Perceived peer support C2: Social control of bullying
K4: Self-esteem C3: Teacher control of bullying
V1: Bullying behavior T: test-group
V2: Bystander behavior C: control group

This table introduces the contextual variables of certain classes, the behavioral forms
related to bullying and the control aspects of bullying, as background variables, that help to
get familiar with the context, the class. We have indicated with 3 icons that the given variable,
considering all classes, is average (rectangle), above average (up pointing arrow) or below
average (down pointing arrow). In the second block of the table we are introducing the
problem perception of bullying in case of the test group (T) and the control group (C) in frame
of the changes based on the pre – and post questionnaires (the rate decreased, increased or
stagnates). We marked it with a down pointing arrow if the value decreased in the
examination group (this was the desired result) and we marked it with a rectangle if it
remained unchanged and with an up pointing arrow if it increased. In the third block we used
the complimentary questions of post-questionnaire to rate, in which students reported what
direction the occurrence of bullying events took in the last one week (less, more or
stagnating). Considering this we marked with up pointing arrow if the occurrence of bullying
events reached an improving tendency (the average of 22 variables), so if bullying decreased.
We marked it with a horizontal arrow if it stagnated, and we marked it with a down pointing
arrow where the situation got worse according to the judgement of the students. Finally, in the
last column we see the marks of the actor-teachers, which tell how successful they thought the
performance had gone.

Based on the quantitative results, one of the most fruitful performances happened in
Beta 1. group. The teacher of the group emphasized the responsibility and role of the victim
in the interview before the performance, although based on the data of questionnaires the
bystander behavior appeared more compared to other classes of the research. They did not
work on the abolition of bullying since she considered a good solution for the victim to leave
the school. The class got to a similar decision in the performance: they blamed the victim, and
they thought he/she should better leave their school. The actor-teachers thought that the
performance was shallow, the students did not really want to get involved but it was important
for them – as a sport class - to arrive to the putative expectations. Despite of this, the class
shows positive results according to the data of the questionnaires in connection with the pre-
and post-test and the change of the problem perception. The teacher was positively surprised,
since she thinks that “the students were more active now than at any non-compulsory task of
the lessons” and their decision applied to a concrete person (a girl). The results may be due to
these phenomena, but it also must be examined in its’ context, since their activity was higher
(as compared to themselves) according to the teacher, while according to the actor-teachers
they were less active as compared to other occasions of performances.

The teacher thought that communication was important, the class could relate to the topic,
since excommunication was quit frequent, and many students were seeing the school
psychologist. Officially there are no students with special educational needs among the class,
but according to the teacher the problem is present (4 students are involved), and 2 of them
have “behavior disorders”. Generally, the students have poor economic backgrounds. During
the performance, most of the students blamed the teachers and called them responsible, and
from the teachers’ role they pictured Niki, the victim negatively. The teacher burst into tears
during the performance when the actor-teacher, who played the role of main teacher of the
class was not taken seriously. The resistance was huge against the character. One of the boys
thought that the harasser did not get enough attention. The class as a community did not take
responsibility, and everyone blamed the harasser and “Boti4”. The latter participant was
tightly related to Niki. They sympathized with the behavior of the harasser, they found it
funny, some boys even imitated his behavior, so we can draw the conclusion that the moral
judgement of bullying in this class is worse, than in the other classes (so they accept it better).
They stood out next to him, when it came up that Gazsi should go to a different school and
not Niki, which strengthens the role of the social control of bullying, which is also supported
by the data. According to the actor-teachers a powerful but shallow performance was behind
them. They felt that the students still have questions. This was well-shown by the quantitative
results, since we did not experience any move in most of the variables case of the test group,
and the change was judged negatively by the students (maybe it can be said that they became
more aware of the problem). The teacher did not tell the class why she cried in the
performance, but she reflected in the after-performance interview that the class thought that
the main teacher and the other teachers could be hold to be responsible for what happened to
Niki: “they expect solution and control from the adult who spends most of the time with
them”. She emphasized identity and independent decision taking, and she did not speak about
the responsibility of teachers in situations of bullying.

According to the story, Botond is a classmate of Gazsi/Cili and Niki. When Gazsi starts mocking Niki in front of
the class, then Botond dislikes it. He does not say anything that would protect Niki, he just disagrees with
Gazsi/Cili. The decision of the participating class about the relationship of Niki and Botond is important. It is
possible that they think they are friends, and they pass the responsibility of protecting the victim to Botond, as
we can see it here. In other cases they can interpret the situation in a way that Botond is also a good student as
Niki, but this fact does not necessarily make them friends. Or Botond does not like Gazsi/Cili and he gives voice
to his opinion. The interpretation depends on the class.
The teacher who participated on the program was very enthusiastic and open. The
class of institution Alfa applied to the performance as a group involved in bullying, since one
of the students is a “nerd”. The teacher considered the solution the change of the behavior of
the bullied student, who will only raises the hand on the lessons when the others won’t. She
stated that bullying has stopped since this improvement and due to the facts that several
bullies left the class, and that they talked with the class about the affected student. According
to the observers the class was a good community, and they tried to involve everyone. This is
supported by the data of the questionnaires, since they show a higher value than other classes
in case of every contextual variables. They thought that parents were evidently responsible for
the situation, and initially they expressed that the harasser was funny, but later he became
hostile for them. According to the actor-teachers, the class cooperated with them very well,
and they could work with an active group, that was involved in the topic. According to the
after-performance interview, even those students expressed their opinion, who usually “hide
under their desks during the lessons, so that they can get away from having to say something”.
The teacher could notice the change after the performance, since one of the victims was not
“mocked” anymore. This is shown in the quantitative data also, since we could notice change
in most areas, except in case of physical bullying (but it is possible that it was not present
initially, it did not mean a problem, so considering that it stagnated was not a negative result).
To be put in the role of the teacher was a new experience for the class, and according to the
teacher, the students tolerated the teachers better since, “they understood the other side
better”, but she noticed the lack of their competences to argue effectively. She thought that
“most students would blame their classmates, but interestingly they blamed the parents”. The
reason could be that most of the class had a poor family background, and the lack of one of
the parents was significant. They could identify with the character of Gazsi (the harasser), and
while talking to each other after the performance they stated that “they would not want to
have such a classmate as Gazsi”. Perhaps this involvement and connection meant the success
of the performance felt by both the students and the actor-teachers.

According to the main teacher, “one of the hardest” class from her classes is the Gamma
group, which counts 21 boys and 4 girls. She stated that she goes to their community
programs rarely. These students live under very tough economic circumstances, e.g. 3-4 of
them are raised by their father alone, and they are more aggressive than the others, according
to the teacher. She listens to her students, she knows their problems and she could tell
examples and names of excluded students, since bullying was a present issue in the class. In
case of this class, the problem of the bystander behavior was visible, in comparison to the
other classes. Besides the teacher, the contact person from the school and the social worker
were also present. The teacher was present throughout the whole performance, she also took
notes sometimes. All the students spoke. In this class there were more protectors than
harassers. Most of them named the class as the main holder of responsibility because of the
situation5, but the responsibilities of the teacher, the parents, the coach of Niki and Niki
herself also emerged. It could be felt that the class is involved in this topic as a community
and as individuals also, and they expressed it as well. One of the girls confessed that she
knows what it is like to be Niki, since she has experienced something similar. The class
defined several factors why Niki was hurt: origin, sexual orientation, religion, different views
because of her upbringing, but the concrete reason is unknown since they don’t know her.
They think that these conflicts can be discussed “within small circle of friends but in a bigger
circle, at a class level, conflicts can be deteriorated”. The actor-teachers thought that the
performance was successful, although change can be experienced in few aspects: there was a
decreasing tendency in the area of verbal bullying, but the change of problem perception was
rated as stagnant by the class. The actor-teachers claimed that it could be felt that the class
was more mature than others, and that they were involved in the topic. Presumably the class
was more affected and there could be deeper reasons in the background, so an intervention
like this is not enough to have a long-term impact. The teacher did not meet the students from
the performance to the post-performance interview, but according to her, the “captain of the
class did not participate so much”, and she thought it was a problem that there were so many
good students who “would like to participate”. In connection with the “aggressive girl”, she
noted that she is rather aggressive only with her.

28 boys and 5 girls attended the sport class, and their main teacher only teaches them for half
a year. The competitive spirit and success orientation is strong. 6 students from the 33 have
special educational needs and 1 student struggles with attention disorders. The discrimination

In the story of the performance Niki disappears for an afternoon and after being found at her grandmothers’,
she remains silent, her father visits the classroom and asks the class if they know anything about her problem.
because of gender and done sport activities could be seen from the attitude of the teacher as
well. Bullying was characterized by her as an attitude of “personality-dependent”. The teacher
showed a victim-blaming attitude. She further stated that the responsibility of the parents is
unquestionable, since “those kids who do not get enough attention at home get in trouble
more likely”. According to her, it would be the responsibility of the school psychologist to
handle bullying properly in school, but in their school no one fills this position at the moment.
We asked about her relationship with her students, but she said she did not know, we should
ask it from the students, but she mentioned that communication was important. She expected
from the performance to make the students understand that “if they face a situation like this,
then it is not sure that supporting it is the right solution […]” The 4 girls of the class moved
always together during the performance, and formed a common opinion during the whole
time, but they talked very rarely. The teacher laughed loudly with the class, sometimes she
asked the students questions, explained things, and she left the room at break time and
returned being late. When she was late, the performance stopped since students made a joke
about her being late. Students were active; they reacted immediately to the questions, and
acted openly. They supported the bully, imitated his behavior, and followed him as a role
model. These observations are supported by the quantitative data, since in this class the moral
acceptance of bullying and the social control ensured by teachers was worse than in other
classes. At the end of the performance, the three “loudest” boys took the responsibility of
ruining the certification of Niki. They were against Niki, they depicted her with negative
characteristics, and as a solution they said that she should leave the school. According to
them, the parents have the main responsibility in the situation. The girls of the class also
named Niki as responsible besides her parents, although most of the students blamed the class
and they expressed the presence of common responsibility (all parties of the situation) too.
Students acted undisciplined during the performance: they repeatedly wanted to take a break;
they ate, behaved disrespectfully with each other and the actor-teachers as well. One of the
boys even hit the gong, which was an important tool of the actor-teachers in the program. At
this point, the leader of the performance stepped out from his role and he stopped the
performance. In the pre-performance interview the teacher of the class said that in her class
there is no excommunication, but after the performance she said in the interview that it occurs
“only in a small amount” but according to her “small amount” can be accepted. The decisions
of the students in the roles, offered to them by the performance, reflected to the ways of
problem solution of the teacher and her attitude to bullying. In the post-performance

interview, the teacher told about the opinions of responsibility that “many students thought
that the Niki was to be blamed, but others pointed at that her family”. Her conclusion was that
“in many cases students do not have a close relationship with their parents: the parents do not
have enough time for their children, they are too busy, they put their own problems first, etc.
This was interesting for me.” As her idea of possible solution, in the post-performance
interview she articulated: “I believe that deconstructive students must be removed”. She
always wanted to intervene in the performance, since she did not accept the instructions of the
actor-teachers, and she expressed this in the post-performance interview also. “I think the
teacher could have been involved, she could have been the one that becomes the victim of
excommunication. I think the attitude would have been different then”. The performance did
not show the expected results. This can be explained by various reasons: the lack of discipline
of students during the performance, the repeated intervening of the teacher, and her general
attitude toward the issue. The values have increased in a paradox way in every variable
(maybe this phenomenon is due to the fact that students became more conscious about the
problem). The common effect of more factors (moral judgement, attitude and lack of control
of the teacher, unsuccessfulness of the performance) could lead to these results.

The number of students in the sport class is 29, and the main teacher teaches them for 2 years,
although she could not tell the ratio of boys and girls. She thinks that the class has “good
skills” and the “class community is also good” since there are no strong cliques. 1-2 students
stand out but not roughly. According to the data, the class has worse values in every
contextual variables, than other classes, and the ratio of bullying behavior is also higher. They
participated in a performance about bullying in autumn. The teacher told that the class is no
longer involved in this topic. She thought that if a situation like this would happen, then
“everybody is responsible, but first we need to talk with the class”. She thought that the role
of the parents played a key importance, and she herself had a good relationship with the class.
In the performance 11 girls and 12 boys participated. The teacher observed The Nerd with
interest, sometimes took pictures, and the class took the performance seriously and they
stayed in their roles all the time. They laughed at the behavior of the harasser, although 3 girls
did not laugh at all and they wanted to know more about the victim. They had a positive
opinion of her taking her teachers role, and they depicted a negative picture about her
classmates. At first, they blamed the coach as responsible, then they reflected on their own
responsibility, but afterwards they started to point at each other. They thought that the
teachers and parents were also responsible and that Niki “should also communicate” to solve
the situation. According to the actor-teachers, not everyone expressed his/her opinion in big
circle conversations, but in the small groups everyone could say something, so “no one was
oppressed by the others.” The teacher told that she saw her responsibility in this situation, and
she expressed her will to continue talking about the topic with the class. “This conversation
can be continued, and that should be the responsibility of the main teacher” – she stated. It
was a positive impact that the teacher wanted to work further on the topic since this could
strengthen the results of the programme. Based on the data, we can experience positive
change in the main variables, but based on the responses of the students, in the recent period
the occurrence of certain bullying phenomena did not get better, despite the fact that they
participated in a successful performance. This is phenomena is supported by the fact that
reaching bigger changes is a longer process, includes repeated activities and it requires the
intervention of more parties. Despite of the negative background aspects, important changes
could be experienced about the attitude of the class.

The catholic school has special faculties of engineering and economy, and the class consists
of 32 students. The teacher uses methods of drama pedagogy during the lessons, and the
students are offered to participate on several out-of-school activities. They participated in
another performance of the company, and “that was a special experience for the class, because
since then things went in a better direction.” According to the teacher, the class has improved
a lot during the last 9 months, the “class is together”, and “they are open to each other”. She
cried during the pre-performance interview when she talked about a charity activity, the class
has organized, since she got emotional talking about her class is being so helpful and good-
hearted. About her own role she mentioned that “they expect to be together, and they accept
that I do not want to harm them”. According to the teacher, the main problems of the class
came from their family background. Excommunication is mostly based on appearance, but
they talk about the issue a lot. The class was involved in the topic, in more aspects. According
to the teacher, one of the victims was not only a victim but sometimes “the source of the
problem: e.g. this student told his twin brother that he was bullied, and as a response his
brother visited the class and hit a student, who supposedly had hurt his brother”. According to
the quantitative data the moral acceptance of bullying and the teacher and student control is
worse, than in other classes, and also the social cohesion, trust and school climate is more
negative. The venue of the performance was their own classroom, which had posters on the
wall with the following sentences: “Thank you.”, “Forgive me.”, “I love you.” “Greetings”.
26 boys and 5 girls participated on the performance, and the latter did not say a word during
the entire activity. The main teacher and the “vice” teacher of the class were also present as
observers. During the performance, the main teacher stood up many times, went near the
small groups and listened to their conversations, sometimes taking pictures. Students were
stressed at the beginning, they were reluctant to react and take the offered roles. When they
did not answer, the teacher indicated without verbal communication that they should express
their opinions. The students also remained passive witnesses when the actor-teacher generated
arguments between them in the situations of the story. During the performance they passed a
“sign” amongst them: they held their right wrist in front of their mouths [mocking the boy
with special educational needs by this action: autistic children are taught to use this gesture as
a handle to be able to speak]. They supported the harasser and did not sympathize with the
victim: “teachers make exceptions with her unfairly. […] She should not be here, attend this
school. Miss, you know that the situation won’t change”- they said as if they would talk about
a girl from the class. “She should rather accommodate to the others” – said the class later on
in the story, but in the small group scenes they performed a situation, where the classmates
were pushing and mocking the victim. At the end, they came to the conclusion that every
party of the situation was responsible – except the principal of the school – and the victim was
blamed by no one. According to the actor-teachers, students were passive and the community
was not like the one, the teacher has previously described. Based on the quantitative data, the
evaluation of the actor-teachers is strengthened by summarized responses of the students.
They were surprised that the excommunicated boy wanted to take the role of the victim, and
the others really did hurt him in the roles. The teacher said in the post-performance interview
that they saw themselves in a mirror, and “now they see many things from a different aspect.”
She still thought that: “it happens that somebody excommunicates himself or he is
excommunicated by external circumstances”. It seems that we can experience a positive
change in the main variables based on the questionnaires, although the problem perception of
bullying stagnated in the post-questionnaires’ responses, which again calls attention to
consider long-term interventions. In case of this class, it could be worth to improve the control
factors to work on dealing with the presence of bullying.

There are almost only boys in the class (2 girls, 23 boys) and according to the teacher, the
generation gap is huge between her (61 years old) and her students (16 years old), therefore
she only has a “superficial insight” about them, and this makes them feel “really good”. “They
are trying hard to arrive to my expectations, and they behave accordingly”. The quantitative
data showed that the pedagogical control of the class is stronger, than in other classes. The
teacher has no close, confidential relationship with her students, except for 2 girls. As a
response to the questions about the class as a community, she said: “I am not sensitive enough
to these things”. According to her, she could not see and handle problems properly. Whom
she saw was not finding her place; she asked to sit with the others, while she thought about a
“loiterer boy” (who was never online on Facebook) that he was not feeling bad because of
being distant from the class. She told several times, that whoever is marginalized, could be
hold to be responsible for his/her own excommunication: “I see innocent, excommunicated
children rarely”. The teacher did not mention her responsibility in these situations. The venue
of the performance was a big physics classroom with strong echo, so the actor-teachers had to
facilitate the performance within difficult circumstances. During the performance, the teacher
documented the performance and took photos. Students in the role of the teachers had a bad
opinion about the victim, and they depicted Niki’s qualities as disadvantages (e.g. “Niki
always raises her hands”), and in the role of Niki’s classmates they said that Niki was ugly.
There were two “louder” boys in the class who participated more actively and controlled the
behavior of the others. They supported the harasser all the time. The other boys followed the
situations as witnesses, bystanders, or as supporters of the harasser. The two girls were
disagreeing, and they tried to make the harasser face his own behavior. One of the boys told
one of the girls “Shut up you, rat!”. In the small group scenes performed by the class, Gazsi
was the protagonist. One of the girls even expressed that “Almost no one takes Niki’s side, at
least half of the class supports Gazsi.”. At t the end of the performance the two girls said:
“they [the boys] think supporting Gazsi makes them cool. No one is with Niki, and I cannot
be with her, since I am a girl, and no matter what I say, I am being told to shut up”. At the
end, the majority blamed the situation on the class, but thinking about Niki, they said that
“those are responsible, who are silent”. According to the actor-teachers the two “loud boys”
were students, who were repeating a year, and they were the ones who “affected the team
negatively, only few of them could argue, because they were so dominant”. The teacher was
surprised by the outcomes of the performance, since there was a student whom she never saw

“so open, and since then that student remained much more open”. She took many pictures
during the performance, and then she watched the faces of the students at home from the
pictures. She disagreed with the student’s decision, which pointed out that the class was
responsible, and that they should have done something differently. She thought that the
student was responsible for being on the periphery. What makes the involvement of the
students strong, is that based on the quantitative results, we can see positive changes (except
in case of physical bullying), although the change of problem perception showed negative
results, based on the post-questionnaires. The performance could not evoke a long-term
positive change, which can be caused by attribution.6

This class is attending a special course of language with a preparatory year [in Hungary a 0.
year of high school is possible to attend in some institutions, which serve to obtain a certain
competence, for example a new language], so most of the times they are divided to smaller
groups, so they rarely have lessons together. Perhaps this explains the lower values of social
cohesion, trust and school climate; compared to other classes. The class is involved in the
problem: one of the boys stole the phone from one of the girls, and the parents of the boy and
the boy “showed no regret after the situation”. The boy was suspended, which meant in this
case that he could only attend school until the end of the school year, and the situation “could
be normalized on the community level”. The quantitative data suggest that this class is
affected more in the phenomenon of bullying than other classes. Besides the main teacher, the
“vice” teacher, and 3 volunteers of the company were present. The majority of the class was
male, there were only 4 girls, of whom only 3 worked together during the performance, and
one moved completely separately from the others. The common discussions in big groups
could not work effectively, because always the same few students were speaking. The class
sympathized with the harasser, Niki was not considered to be a victim, and they even blamed
the situation on her. Eventually the class blamed the parents and the teachers besides Niki and
they also articulated the responsibility of Gazsi. As a solution of the situation “passive
responsibility”, aggression and “attack” were mentioned. Based on the quantitative results, it
can be seen that the values, compared to other classes are worse in both aspects of social
This term, taken from Social Psychology, refers to the process by which individuals explain the causes of
behavior and events. The development of models to explain these processes is called attribution theory.
Psychological research into attribution began with the work of Fritz Heider in the early part of the 20th century,
subsequently developed by others such as Harold Kelley and Bernard Weiner.
control: of teachers and of students. The actor-teachers evaluated the effectivity of the
performance with a 3 (out of 5). According to their interpretation, “it would have helped if
they played in smaller groups instead of the whole group”, because they felt that for the class
it was unusual to be all together. Furthermore, it was hard for them that they had to “return to
the fact that it is not just about the tension between Niki and Gazsi”. The male teacher always
talked about his students as “guys”, because of the 4 girls he corrected twice he corrected
himself and said “students”. He said that he had no previous expectations regarding the
performance, and those were more active, who he thought would act accordingly: he thought
“for the others it was difficult to get involved”. He saw that in the offered teachers’ roles, the
students interpreted their own teachers. He was surprised that only a few of them blamed
Niki’s parents. “It was a positive experience for me that the majority blamed the class of Niki
for the situation, but I also understood it afterwards that they cannot place themselves in the
roles of the parents, or the teachers. I am sure that I would have voted to other roles as well,
but I do think the class is to be blamed the most”. To sum up, regarding the worse starting
point of the class, it can be said that the performance had a positive impact, and primarily we
can see positive changes in case of physical and social bullying, and also the problem
perception of bullying showed a similar result.

The class has 19 students and the teacher is proud of being a leader of a special group of a
prestigious school, “since it is a prestige if one is selected to attend a class like this”, therefore
students take studying seriously. According to her, they have their own opinions, which they
dare to express. “They come from a very good school, so there is nothing wrong with them”.
– she stated, but later she mentioned and defended “some students who mock others” by
saying that “they are just joking, but the others do not understand it”, so she did not consider
mocking to be a sign or symptom of bullying. Excommunication was present, in the form of
verbal bullying, affecting one girl who was “acting like a nerd”, which was judged as “joking”
by the teacher: “They were kidding with her, but the she did not understand it. Then it
passed”. The problem was handled by telling about it to the parents and then “gathering” the
mocked girl and the others. According to the teacher, it is her responsibility to handle such a
situation, and the necessary mutual trust is present between her and the students. She applies
drama elements, games on the literature lessons, so this performance was interesting for him
professionally as well. Data suggest that the class is affected in the phenomenon of bullying,
and their results are more negative regarding contextual variables than other classes’. On the
other hand, their results are positive in the aspects of moral judgement of bullying and social
control of students. From the 19 students 13 are girls and 6 are boys, but only 4 boys and 11
girls participated on the performance. They were looking at and watching the teacher and the
observers and their reaction several times during the session. The teacher took notes all the
time but she left the room twice. At the beginning of the performance the students wanted to
know if someone from them would need to play the role of the bullied girl. A boy who was
bullied in reality, stood behind his opinion that he had a similar role in the class: “It was really
awful that I was mocked!” During the performance he tried to remain an outsider, since in the
class he was called “nerd”, just like Niki in the play. During the whole performance he did not
pay attention, played with his phone, chit-chatted, he even covered his ears once. In the
offered teacher roles, the class had a positive opinion about Niki. Bullying behavior was
hostile for them. They applied that method of conflict handling what they just use in real life
too: “It would be decent to sit down with Niki”. It was said several times that the situation
should be solved with Niki’s presence. In the part of the performance, where the students are
asked to say out loud what the teacher thinks about the situation, they did not implied that the
teacher would have any responsibility. In the interpreted scenes, they applied other methods
besides verbal violence. They poured water on Niki and through salt at her also. Mostly they
emphasized the responsibility of Gazsi, but they also blamed the class, the teacher, the victim
and the parents as well. The actor-teachers thought the performance was successful. They felt
that students “were involved but did not step a level. They handled this thing intellectually,
and the boys fully stayed outside”. The teacher thought that the performance was interesting
and useful from a “professional” view too. She drew a parallel between the previously
happened “similar situation” and the story of the Nerd. She thought that students made
“similar, mature decisions in the play […]. I was happy that their values are good”. She
believes that the performance was successful since “students could experience what it is like
to be excommunicated”. In the scene creation part that happens in small groups 1-2 students
took the role of the victim. They discussed this issue and told the teacher that “they would not
take the role of the harasser for sure”. It can be also seen from the strong statements in
interviews and from the quantitative data, since we experienced positive change in every
examined variables, and the actor-teachers also evaluated the performance positively.

The class consists of 30 students, who attend 9th grade. The school is a 6-grade secondary
school, so students are already together for 3 years.8 Despite of this the teacher could not tell
the exact ratio of boys and girls. There are no out-of-school activities since “there is no
demand for that”. She claimed that students consider her to be a strict teacher. She said that
the students changed a lot recently due to puberty – especially the boys – therefore “they
formed clicques. […] There is a boy who is very much an outsider.” According to the teacher,
this boy had a peculiar body posture, and it could be easily recognized that he was stressed.
Still, the teacher said that he was not excommunicated by the class, but he was on the
periphery because of himself. They had problems previously (in 7th grade) because of the
“cliques”. That time “two students with strong personalities had a fight […] and it had to be
organized”, in which she put herself in the role of the moderator. This is parallel to the high
value of the social control of the teacher, based on the quantitative results. In cases like this,
she feels that the involvement of an expert is necessary. Bullying is strongly present: one boy
put a pin in a bottle of water and offered it to another student. “Eventually there was no
problem, because the boy revealed the situation before the other could have drunk from the
water. I had to discuss where the limit was with the boys. The boy did not feel that he had
done anything wrong, since he revealed that there was a pin in the bottle, but I told him that a
the problem firstly was that he put a pin in the bottle. This situation kind of freaked me out.”
The teacher was informed about this case 2 days after the event from one of the parents of the
victim, and not from the students. The teacher stated that she did not know she could be
present on the performance, so she only spent around 20 minutes inside the room in the
middle, because she had some other program. Boys and girls stayed separated from each
other, and the outsider boy mentioned in the pre-performance interview was easy to spot, but
during the performance there were no actions against him. In the roles of the teachers offered
to the participants, they had a positive opinion of Niki, but they defended, supported the
harasser character and behaved disrespectfully with head teacher character. In the small
groups part one of the louder boys took the role of Niki. He was thrown by paper pellets, and
the others yelled at him. The others in roles approached the victim and performed aggressive
actions, they even told that “they would take always his food”, “they would kick him” and

In this performance the harasser character was played by a female actor-teacher (instead of Gazsi her name
was Cili).
In the Hungarian education system there are 3 types of secondary schools based on the number of the years
of secondary education: there are high schools of 4 years, 6 years and 8 years. This way it can happen that a
9th grader is in the first year of high school, third year or fifth year.
“they would crash him on the shoulder” [Hungarian slang] – and the victim was mostly alone.
The resistance against the principal was also strong since the students expressed that they
needed a better leader than him. Most of them blamed the teachers for the situation, but they
mentioned the responsibility of the class, the head teacher and Niki herself. They even
confessed: “many times the class community chooses a victim without any particular reason”.
They thought that Niki should leave the school. If she stayed than the head teacher should
organize common programs, with which the situation could be corrected. In the past 3 years 2
students left the class. For the actor-teachers the resistance against the director was new.
When someone said that “they had a good relationship with their head teacher, the others
were just staring with widely open eyes, but did not say a word”. The head teacher was not
really interested in the performance and its’ topic, she did not feel at all how much the class
was involved in the issue: she was present for 20 minutes, and during the lessons with the
class ”we could only talk about it a little since we had many other things to discuss”. She
thought that the class and the school are not affected by this topic, but the experiences
obtained here can be useful since it made students more sensitive: “for example whether they
would talk about it with others in the future”. She claimed that meeting an “affected person”,
from whom they could ask, would have been more useful, since “if there is only a fictional
story then does not become such a deep experience than meeting with someone”. Perhaps
these thoughts are reflected in the quantitative data, since in most of the variables we did not
see change (we could only experience decrease in verbal bullying), and the change of problem
perception seems to be stagnant in thinking.

The 9th grade counts with 32 members, from whom 17 are girls, 15 are boys, and the teacher
teaches them for 2 years. On physical education lessons they are divided by genders, and at
English lessons they are also working in smaller groups. Perhaps it is due to the divided
groups that the value of school climate is below the average. The head teacher teaches the
group that has better school performance. During the whole of the interview she mentioned
boys and girls separately. She stated that girls have very strong cliques while it is not the case
with the boys. The community of the class was important for the head teacher, so she tried to
organize common programs, even out-of-school activities (e.g. a grill party), but she stated

In this performance Gazsi was the harasser
that “now they are facing with a serious problem”, which derives from a conflict of a
relationship: “What is going on now is rough […] I am getting desperate about how I can
handle this.” She took responsibility and saw the chance of intervention. Moreover, parental
help would be useful but she thought her own personality was a complicating circumstance as
she was aware of her limits and deficiency. “I’m quite a strong person and sometimes I feel
that I am just oil to the fire. I myself do not know how to handle this properly”. She believed
that she had a good relation with her class, and generally students dare to turn to her with their
problems. At the beginning of the performance, the girls organized themselves into cliques (it
was determining who sits next to whom). In the low value of the social control of students, the
phenomenon of cliques appeared. Everybody sympathized with the harasser in the beginning
of the performance, but later they started to attack him. They blamed the teacher for treating
Niki with special care. The girls were really active during the performance, and during the
bullying situation they started to insult Niki’s appearance: “You are fat!” “You are too short!”
“How does your make-up look like?!”. One of the girls was against Niki in the beginning, but
after the small group work, where she stepped in her role, she defended Niki. They thought
many of them made mistakes, responsibility should be divided, but mostly they blamed Gazsi
and the head teacher. Gazsi was responsible because of bullying Niki, and the teacher was
responsible because of the favoritism to Niki they assumed was present previously. About the
responsibility of the class, they thought that “they should have supported Niki, it is true, but
she should have initiated communication. She should be more open and not let this
relationship to be one-sided!” Parents made a mistake by “making a maximalist from Niki”,
and Niki was also blamed – mostly for not being open – but the class caused the problem by
excommunicating her. They thought that the teachers saw the problem, yet they have done
nothing against it, and the head teacher “treated the situation by closing her eyes”. According
to the observers, “the problem of excommunication was not visible” in this class. According
to the actor-teachers, this was an excellent performance. They felt that this skilled group was
not affected in bullying, they just “had to imagine” a situation like this. They thought the class
was different from the others because here there were no “opinion leaders and aggressors”.
The head teacher of the class thought that she could not participate on the performance,
although she really wanted to watch it. She thought that there was an al problem also since
“schools do not like if teachers are missing from lessons, since substituting is problematic.”
Mainly girls talked about the performance to her. According to her, students of this class were
emphatic, but also wanted to arrive to her expectations, and she always tried to have many

common programs together: “They learned to value the community, the time spent together,
so by now it has become important for them”. Results showed the positive effects of the
community spirit explained by the teacher (e.g. value of self-esteem above average) since in
most of the variables (except for cyberbullying) we could experience positive move, although
the judgement of the change of problem perception showed decreasing tendency based on the
opinions of students, which possibly showed the consciousness of the phenomenon.

By analyzing the performances of the Body-Image-Presenters, we can state that in

almost every class the rates of the test group showed a positive change. We could experience
unchanged results only in case of some variables, and we could see increase of the
phenomenon only in few cases. The change in terms of the problem perception of bullying
was positive in most cases, in some cases it stagnated, and in one case students evaluated the
tendency of the previous period negatively. Since it was a new performance, the actor-
teachers rated the performances as medium, although it was hardly reasonable based on the
results. Those classes results’ who participated on the Body-Image-Presenters performances
showed more positive changes than the ones who participated on the performances of The
Nerd. Furthermore, it is important to highlight that in case of the Body-Image-Presenters they
experienced positive change related to cyberbullying more often, due to the fact that this
performance presented this world in an explicit way. The data divided to certain classes are
included in Figure 11, and after that the synthesis of the quantitative and qualitative results
follows related to certain classes.

Figure 11. Detailed analysis of the Body-Image-Presenters

K1: social cohesion and trust V3: Victim behavior

K2: school climate C1: Moral acceptance of bullying
K3: Perceived peer support C2: Social control of bullying
K4: Self-esteem C3: Teacher control of bullying
V1: Bullying behavior T: test-group
V2: Bystander behavior C: control group

In the pre-performance interview it was mentioned that this school is a “collector”
where those students are hosted who do not get admitted elsewhere, so they have already met
every topic offered by the performance, even with more extreme cases. There is one class in
every age, and the classes consist of few members, where most of the students have difficult
backgrounds (criminal parents, alcohol- and drug addiction, etc.). Because of the few
participants, in case of two variables there were not enough data for the calculations. The
number of the class members continuously changes: there were 11 members when the
performance happened (6 boys and 5 girls), and here “everybody has some disadvantage,
everybody has special educational needs and each student struggles with integration
problems”. Besides the family background, this factor could appear in the data showing that
this class had a lower self-esteem than others. The teacher was their head teacher only for one
month long, but he had already taught them before. The operational conditions are restricted,
since they have to work with a significant “lack of staff”. The teacher emphasized that despite
of this fact they like to try out new methods. It was “really strange” for him that in terms of
the behavior of the students the needs of smaller children were mixed with adult behavioral
patterns. He seemed to be dedicated to his job, and cared about the students, and his biggest
fear was that his students will not be able to place themselves on the job market. He stated
that there were “groups” within the class community, and the boys and girls were separated.
He thought that one girl was on the margin, yet they shared everything with each other (food,
cigarette, sometimes money), so they “sticked together”. These appeared in the high rate of
social cohesion and trust as well. The mother of the student on the periphery was in jail, and
since then the student “was hiding from the others” (she was wearing hoodies), she did not
talk to anyone, although she was the best student and was honest, which was very rare in this
context according to the head teacher. They had many common programs, but he believed that
teachers were cynical, since they felt that they could only handle the students this way. He
stated he could not communicate with the parents, so basically there was no relationship with
them. He took the blame, and he thought that “deviance is caused by pedagogical mistake”.
He had an extremely good relationship with his students; they looked up to him and
confirmed him having a good impact on them. As they expressed it: “when we are with you,
we are not bad, and we can pay attention and study, and this is better for us. Although if we
are not with you, than we act worse, scream and do not study a word”. According to him,

bullying was present here every day – in the whole school, even in 5th grade – and “what
seems a brutal attack for us is just a simple game for them”. Despite of this, the quantitative
data showed that different bullying roles occur in smaller amount than the average (so the
judgement of variables is positive), that can be a contextual distortion, or certain actions were
not perceived as bullying, or can be due to the characteristic of this class, possibly differing
from other classes of the same institution. According to the head teacher, these situations
could be handled if children were faced with each other in the presence of adults.
“Appearance is not so important for them, the biggest problem is their background, and they
typically excommunicate the newcomers”. The head teacher does not use Facebook at all. He
expected from the performance that “they would experience the consequences of their actions,
because this is the hardest thing for them to consider.” According to the observers, the
equipment and circumstances of the building were rather poor: the school had small, narrow
and dark rooms. There were mostly posters of fairy-tale heroes on the walls, which is parallel
to the duality that was mentioned in the interview by the teacher. 9 students participated on
the performance. The head teacher joined later during the session, but two of his colleagues
were present during the whole of it. Students were sitting on benches, only the marginalized
girl sat on a chair, but her classmates did not mock her, and she was active in the discussions.
The curse words, the physical fight and the naked picture did not seems to be outside of the
comfort zone of the students, but they laughed sometimes at curse words and the puppet,
representing the victim of the story. They differentiated based on gender stereotypes: “Boys
do not f**k the world in reality. Girls would do it even with a person, like [they said the name
of one of their classmates who was really active during the session]”. They were involved
immediately; they compared the characters to themselves and the class. They said that they
used facebook every day. The actor-teachers had to stop to clarify which name belonged to
which character repeatedly. At first the characters were seen by them together with their
backgrounds and motivation. They thought Jay (bystander character 2) was muscular, violent,
the same age as them, and he was sympathetic to them. They thought he liked Kate (aggressor
character 2), but did not want to intervene in the conflict situation because he was scared.
They saw that Laura (bystander character 1) expected help from Jay and she rather wanted to
go home, than to get involved in the conflict. They thought that Scarlett (victim character)
was Russel’s (aggressor character 1) girlfriend and she was famous. They thought that she
took a photo of herself because she was in love with Russel and she could make Russel and
Kate break up. She was afraid of Kate and was encouraging herself to stand up for herself.

They thought Kate was jealous of Scarlett’s boobs and that she was disappointed in Russel. At
first Kate was seen as a cool character because everyone was afraid of her, but at the end of
the performance only few of them could sympathize with her. Towards the end they had a
really negative opinion about Russel, because he cheated on his girlfriend, forwarded
Scarlett’s picture and he behaved really badly with his friends. Moreover Russel did not want
to confess what he has done, and he did not recognize the problem in his actions. Everyone
blamed Russel since “he was the one who was responsible for everything, so things happened
because of him that way”. Kate was also not a positive character for them but they did not
blame her this much. They paid attention until the end of the performance, and they
participated really actively. The actor-teachers felt of the performance went well: “I felt it for
the first time that it worked. They were curious and they liked it. It was fruitful”. They
thought that students enjoyed and understood the performance, but they “did not get” the
cyberbullying part. Despite of this the quantitative data showed a positive change. The post-
performance interview could be made with the pedagogical assistant, who was present on the
performance and teaches some subjects to the class. He was afraid before the Body-Image-
Presenters whether students can pay attention for 3 hours. He thought that this performance
affected students significantly – later they talked about it a lot, re-played the situations, talked
about the dialogues. After the performance they re-discussed the question of responsibility,
and they came to the conclusion that Russel is to be blamed. The pedagogical assistant
expressed that the marginalized girl was often bullied (verbally) and he felt useless since he
did not know what he could do to protect the girl, so that he could temper this situation.

In the 8th grade there were 10 boys, 10 girls and 2 private students, whom the head
teacher treated differently – she did not mention their gender. She teaches the class for 4
years, and she thought it was more effective if “the weaker ones” and “the better ones” were
taught separately, so they were working in groups. Cliques were typical in 5th grade, but by
present times the class community was good, and there was only 1 girl who “was really
distraught” and who was not part of the class community. She arrived to this cool last year
and she lives with her father - they moved frequently. According to the teacher, this girl was
to be blamed for being excommunicated, since the class would have accepted her but she was
not open. She did not even speak with the teachers, only with 3rd grade students, “where she
can mother others”. One of the teachers passed away last year and it was a trauma for the
class. The head teacher does not use Facebook, although she uses the internet. Her colleagues
and children raised her attention to the “flirty” pictures of one of her students, on which “the
student was sitting in the back seat of a car with two 20 years old boys”. After this the mother
of the student was invited to the school and the pictures were shown to her, and the teacher
asked her to talk about it with her daughter, “but she did not take this well, although she is of
low intelligence”. In this class students do not have secure family backgrounds, so they
discuss the problems “with each other”, and not with the family. According to the head
teacher, the relationship between her and the students was very good and she described herself
as “mothering”. She thought that students were protected in this community, and “they are
going to meet such things now that are different, that can be emotionally disturbing. […] They
do not experience bad things now, but when they finish school they will.”

Except for the 2 private students, everyone participated on the performance. The head
teacher paid attention with interest all along. Boys and girls were not separated. The new girl
mentioned in the interview excelled from the others easily. She was on the periphery in the
class, she did not answer the questions of the actor-teachers, she only expressed her opinion in
small groups, where she read the chat conversation out with one of the actor-teachers.
Students asked if they have to raise their hands. They laughed at the puppet and at the fight
scene, and the theater part was unsettling for them, especially Russel’s behavior. They said
Jay was excommunicated because of his religion. Initially he was thought to be very cool, but
others were disappointed later, because they formed a different picture of him based on his
profile than what he was like in reality. Students thought that Kate and Russel were cool.
Laure seemed different online than in reality, since she was more modest offline. Others
thought Scarlett was excommunicated. One of the boys thought that since they could not see
the face of Scarlett on her profile picture, supposedly she had problems with her body too. In
the beginning, one of the small groups thought that she is the “coolest”, but eventually
everyone was cool except for her. The opinion of Scarlett was different for the boys and girls:
girls thought she was not a wh**e while boys thought she was. Boys said that “normal girls
do not send naked pictures of themselves”. They thought boys and girls have different
motivations in case of sending pictures like this. Some of them said that “it does not matter if
a boy or girl sends naked pictures”, while others thought that “it is different in case of a girl,
since she can send it because of her feelings, while a boy sends it based on his egoism”.
Emotion is beyond intelligence, and Scarlett is probably in love with Russ, so that is why she
did it. They thought “the way of thinking and actions depend on upbringing”. Students

thought that Kate was cool because she was with Russel, who was also cool. She disappointed
Laura, and at the end of the performance she was still in love with Russel. They thought Jay
was afraid and wanted to escape from every conflict. Russel’s behavior was entertaining for
them, they sympathized with him. They thought he was afraid of losing Kate and he wanted
Jay to stand up for him. They thought Laura was very reserved, she was afraid of almost
everyone. They saw that Scarlett was disappointed in everyone and blamed herself too. They
decided that everyone was guilty in this situation – Laura and Jay too, since they did not do
anything against it. The actor-teachers rated the performance as medium, since they thought
students could not involve themselves in the story, and only 1-2 people were active. The focus
was on those who did not intervene, and on gender roles, and on who is cool and who is not.
For the head teacher it was surprising that students “were afraid to say anything” when they
were all together. They expected more than “sending pictures”, they thought that they would
receive a concrete list what they must and must not do. The head teacher felt that there was no
conclusion at the end of the performance, and the closing thoughts were missing. She felt the
“curse words” were used as a method, since this way “children could be faced this behavior”,
although she forbids the use of curse words to the children. She rather spoke about the
performance than about her students.

The head teacher of the 7th grader class is a male teacher, who teaches them for 3
years. The class has 20 boys and 7 girls. According to the head teacher their “communication
skills are not too good”, therefore he tries to “motivate them”. Students require and initiate
common programs. He could not tell if the class had a problem with the class community, but
he “was struggling with them”. One girl and a boy were on the periphery. According to the
head teacher the boy had special educational needs, since he “was acting strange” and he had
no common topics with the others, but he could not tell the reason of excommunication in
case of the girl. He thought it was important to talk a lot with the students, and to face them
that “what is funny for someone may not be funny for the others”. The teacher said he was
surprised that students turned to him with their problems. He thought they would primarily
turn to their friends if they were affected by bullying, then to him and finally to their parents.
He actively used Facebook, he even had a group with his students, but he regularly checked
their profiles and he thought they “did not pretend to be someone else” on Facebook. 18 boys
and 7 girls participated on the performance. At first students were afraid of the puppet, and at
the end of the performance they did not take it seriously. According to the participants, the
characters wore uniforms so that they could not be judged by their clothing. During the
performance the students tended to look at the teacher and talk him. Many were surprised by
the naked picture (“Oh my God!”) and the boy who came later from the development class
(for students with special educational needs) even covered his eyes and put his other hand in
front of his mouth. Sexuality was often mentioned as a topic (e.g. they mentioned biology
lessons), but gender roles and stereotypes were also present (e.g. according to the class girls
“do the washing up, cleaning as a form of entertainment”). During the performance, only boys
were talking. “Everyone knows what the situation is with men and women”. They made a
difference between men and women, since they thought true men have “many women”, and
“many women love them” or “they are the breadwinners” and this was considered to be cool,
while it was a shame in case of women if “they are flirting with more men”. Students saw the
characters as: “cool”, “looser” and “neutral” (for the ordinary students). The group thought
that Russel and Kate were cool, but the latter was less cool than Russel, whose behavior was
funny for them. They thought that Kate was “the bitch of the class”, Laura was insincere,
since she was nice with both girls, Scarlett was in love, so “she can be easily influenced.
Therefore, she is not a bitch”. They did not like either of the female characters. Scarlett was
strongly blamed for the situation, but they thought she sent the picture because she was in
love. They said that not only physical or verbal bullying existed, but one could insult by
“laughing”, but “it is also bullying if one does not hear it”. At the end Russel (pressured by
the students) confessed that he has made a huge mistake. Students thought that everyone made
mistakes, even the community, not just Russel and Scarlett. The class took responsibility; they
felt they “should have done something”. At the end Scarlett was released, they said she could
be easily influenced because of being in love. At the end of the performance they said that in
this case they should turn to an adult whom they could trust, and the head teacher was a
person like that. The actor-teachers rated the performance good. Although they thought the
focus was on the difference between men and women, the students blamed the victim to some
amount and they were thinking together about the types of bullying. In small groups many of
them expressed that they were afraid of being molested online. “For some reason I think it is a
topic in the class”. About Laura they said she was an “immigrant”, then they mocked
“immigrants”. This could have had an influence on their negative perception about Laura.
After the performance the class discussed the Body-Image-Presenters performance.
According to the head teacher, the performance made students realize that “Internet is not a
game, […] and they thought about what they post on the Internet matters, as well as how they

talk to others online”. Students recognized and understood that this could happen to them
also. He has done a sociometry before the performance, “where one of the girls was on the
margin – not due to aggression – and interestingly I experienced this interesting phenomenon
on Friday, that they were together, they were playing together. She was always alone and
excommunicated before the performance. I think this can be the result of the programme”.
Besides these, he experienced that those students also raised their voices on the performance
who have not done this before. He thought the reason of this was that they experienced that
they could bravely express their opinions, and “they raise their hands more bravely at lessons

According to the head teacher there were 10 boys and 22 girls of the 32 members of
the 7th graders class [although the two observers counted 12 boys and 20 girls]. The teacher
taught the students only for a month by the time of the performance, therefore she barely
knew them, but based on her experience so far she thought “they are really smart […] they
really want the community to be good”. They were skilled students who were considered to
be “nerds” in their previous community, and now they enjoy that here everybody is an
excellent student and here “studying is not a shame”. The class is involved in the topic, since
“somebody posted something very rough publicly” and the teacher thought this showed that
they did not know “the limits of the freedom of expression” on internet, but she did not want
to say more about that case. She thought that the class lived in a virtual space, and this was
part of their everyday lives. She told that appearance – for the girls – was very important, and
the head teacher was afraid “that 1-2 girls will be excommunicated by their appearances”. She
thought bullying could not be handled by “punishments” and “words” but more parties should
collaborate to solve it: the parents, the teachers and the school psychologist should work
together since the responsibility of the family and the school is unquestionable. She knew that
half of the class used Facebook, although officially they still could not have an account. Some
of them were registered by fake name. She said that the family background of the students
was very diverse, and with problems the students turn to their parents first. She expected
preventive effect from the performance: “So if somebody has already experienced something
then the performance should help to digest it. If not, then it should prevent it to happen ever”.
The head teacher was not present; she arrived by the end of the performance. Students felt
awkward many times; therefore they laughed and seemed to be feeling uncomfortable. After
the theater part some of them said they were “shocked”, and they did not expect this. They did
not take the puppet seriously, they laughed at it. During the break one of the girls caressed the
puppet and said: “Hi Scarlett, don’t worry, I believe you!”, then she did the same at the end of
the break. They were not emphatic with the victim, they blamed her. They said about her that
she seemed “cooler” based on her profile, but “on the internet we can show fake pictures of
ourselves, because if we do not like who we are then we can be someone else, and that is why
Scarlett seemed different based on her profile […] on the internet one can live their
personalities differently, one might be freer there”. Based on their CYBER profiles, students
thought that Laura was not beautiful, not even cool – neither was Jay – despite Russel,
Scarlett and Kate, who were considered to be very cool based on their profiles. They thought
Kate was in the center of the attention of the class and she was afraid of losing Russel, and
she was disappointed in Laura. They interpreted that Scarlett was in love, and she took the
picture naively, because she was in love. They defended Russel and they thought that the
gossip spread only to make him to be seen negative. According to them Jay was afraid of
being humiliated and he wanted to escape from taking any kind of responsibility. About Laura
students made an assumption that she found Russel rude, but Kate was very important for her.
Russel could be very mad at Scarlett and Laura both according to the students, and he would
express his frustration very aggressively (“It is over for you!”). Thinking with the head of
Scarlett, students asked why nobody has defended her. Others blamed her, and said “she
should not have done this”. Some of the students emphasized that Kate was too rude, and
everybody was guilty who did not intervene any way.

About the differences between genders, they said that women are vulnerable in
situations, which is culturally coded. They thought that “women were oppressed through
centuries and this influenced people […] Russel defended himself but Scarlett could not […]
maybe she gave up because no one would believe her since she is just a girl”. The actor-
teachers rated the performance as very good, since students “were really active, intellectual
and sophisticated”. They thought that “they understood the story, and thought about it” and it
affected them emotionally too. They felt that there was such a “hatred and despise against
Russel”, which they have not experienced anywhere so far, and students even clapped when
Kate left him. According to the head teacher, the performance fulfilled his expectations “with
regards to focus”, but students told him that for them there was too much sexuality, and the
fighting scene was too loud and in the neighbor class they thought students used those curse
words, which was really unpleasant for the teacher. She thought it was beneficial that the

performance also focused on the situation of bystanders, but she thought this play was not
suitable for this age group: “children are not at this level yet”.

There are 22 boys and 12 girls in the 8th grader class of this catholic school. The
interviewee is their head teacher for 2 years, and students had a hard time when the previous
head teacher left. The teacher was proud that it was a “mixed class”. Students had to adapt to
the fact that although they were the best in their previous classes, in this class everyone had
similar qualifications, and the head teacher thought it was hard for the students. It occurred
many times that students “found some weaker or more vulnerable boys, who were smaller
than them and perhaps less qualified, and started bullying these boys”. There was a case when
“someone wanted to be the clown of the class and he played this role so well that he could not
escape from this role later”. According to the teacher the victim was responsible for getting
into this role, and the parents should intervene in a case like this. Bullying was present in the
class physically, and events happened sometimes in the presence of the teacher. On the one
hand, the reason for this was their gender according to the teacher, and that there were too
many boys closed “within a tight place”, and “it is natural to a certain extent”, since stress can
be caused by the lack of place to move. Presently there is a boy on the periphery whom the
teacher mentions as Ádámka [we changed his name]. The teacher thought he was an
outstandingly talented student, who “always thinks others do not like him in the class, so he
has a very negative world view”. The teacher said she expected more activity from the girls,
and talked about them using gender stereotypes: “The little girls are very shy, they get lost
among the many boys who are trying out this cool style and the girls with their gentle souls do
not dare to speak up at lessons, being scared of the boys that they might say something wrong.
This is the girly adaptation, and it is not so good, it would be better, if they would be able to
express more thoughts also”. She thought that there was a boy-girl opposition in the past, but
it stopped. She said that in case of “some” students their background was strict, they could not
even use phones, therefore they “miss out on things”, but the class had common programs.
The head teacher followed them on Facebook, although she thought only few of them used
their own names, but they “showed the reality”. One girl could not be there at the
performance. In the classroom boys and girls were sitting separately. The head teacher left the
room often during the performance, and during the break she said that this topic is so distant
from his students. Students said studying, eating, sleeping could be a Friday evening program
for the members of the catholic school of the story, which could represent the moral
expectations of the institution. Students were quit passive during the performance; it was
difficult for them to express their own opinions, even when they were directly asked about it.
During the performance they said that “famous and cool people express their feelings easily”.
Then one of the actor-teacher asked if the reverse of this was true also and she got the answer
“yes”, so it can happen than in this class it is the privilege of a tight “famous circle” to have
an opinion, and others cannot express their thoughts. If they did so, the consequence was
prompt verbal bullying, as it happened at the small group part. Within the frames of verbal
aggression, they called each other “migrants” and “immigrants” and asked if Jay was gay or
not. Also, they had comments about special needs people: one student said by seeing a picture
of a person whose one leg was missing that he would send this to one of his friend who is
handicapped, and he would say “this is you”. They thought about Laura that she was ashamed
of her appearance and scared about what others say about her. In case of Jay they always
referred to his sexual orientation, while Kate and Russel were seen to be cool. What grabbed
the student’s attention was the fact of being popular and how to be popular. “Being someone’s
girlfriend who is cool, means that you are cool too. […] Scarlett would do anything for being
cool and receiving love and attention that is why she wants to be with Russel”. They judged
Scarlett, who was thought to be cool by the boys, but after her naked picture she was
considered to be a “looser”. They thought that the girl would like to get a positive feedback
(that she is beautiful). Her action was completely refused, no one expressed empathy towards
her, but by the end of the performance, others felt sorry for her and considered her to be
vulnerable. The actor-teachers rated the success of the performance to be a medium level.
They thought nudity was a taboo in the catholic school, which put its stamp onto the Body-
Image-Presenters. They thought that the 36 members were too much for the class, and it
could be seen that “no one talks with these students”. They said that students considered Kate
to be a victim, since she became a victim of such a girl who was “morally questionable”. They
felt that the attitude of the students was characterized by blaming the victim all the time.
“They were fake actives”, and there was a highly perceivable personal bullying, verbal
bullying in the small group parts. The head teacher was afraid that the “curse words and the
harassment” would discomfort students and would have a “bad effect on them”, since this “is
a catholic community”, but students told him that they did not live “in a hemlock”. She was
surprised that this topic and style was familiar to them. She thought that students found the
puppet strange since it had no face. She explained them that it was an alienating effect, and

they used it to involve them not only emotionally but intellectually as well. She agreed that
boys were louder and “oppressed” girls. She told a story that happened before the
performance. It implied that the group was involved in the issue: after a competition one of
the students started mocking Ádám [who was introduced previously as the boy on the
periphery], who “just” won the third prize. They were telling him all the way on the train that
“even XY [he said the name of a student who was stigmatized as silly] was better than you”.
This situation got worse during the travel and “when they took off the train, the boy who was
the subject of mocking went insane and started kicking – literally – the other boy who mocked
him at the train station. The teacher who was accompanying them felt really uncomfortable,
since the parents of some students were present when it happened and saw the boy going
insane. This is really typical for this boy, he does it with everyone, and he cannot be
controlled, he is just unbearable”. The head teacher did not discuss this case with the whole
class since she thought it did not affect everyone. She said she did not use Facebook regularly
since she had no time, and she had “access to few profiles of her students” and she did not
start to “spy on them” after the performance either. She felt that they devoted “a lot of time”
to the performance and research, but she misses reflection. She thought students “had a
positive experience” on the Body-Image-Presenters performance, but she was surprised that
the topic and communication style did not surprise them. She thought the empathic skills of
students was not developed enough. Despite all of these, she felt that this topic was far from
the students.

In the 7th grade there were 37 students (10 girls and 27 boys), and 16 of them were
specialized in mathematics. The head teacher taught them only for a few months. She thought
this was a class with very good skills, they were outstanding in every subject, but they were
mainly interested in mathematics. She thought the class had a good community, and they had
many common out-of-school programs. She expressed that she would like to change the
strong (4 boys) clique, who attended the same school previously, since they were only
spending time with each other. Competition was present in the class since “everyone would
like to perform well”. She thought that only the community can solve a bullying situation, she
alone cannot. The class was affected, since one boy was excommunicated, but the teacher
thought this was not deliberate. She thought appearance was not important in this class. The
teacher used Facebook, she followed her students and saw that they showed a real image of
themselves, although many of them did not have Facebook since their parents forbid them.
Some of her students turned to her in cases of bullying, but most of them “do not turn to
anyone”. The teacher mentioned her students could count with the help of the school
psychologist, but she thought students “will not turn to a psychologist for sure”, and she did
not know what they thought of it. 22 boys and 11 girls participated on the performance and
they were sitting separately according to genders. The drama teacher colleague of the head
teacher was also present besides her, and they told their opinions during the performance
loudly. [The drama teacher did not stop intervening and at the end of the performance she
remarked that she was a drama teacher for 20 years, so she knew what war right and was not.]
About the characters the students said that they did not have a party, did not drink on the
weekend. They could not ignore the fact that the school in the story was religious, and they
thought students were different there. They thought that the uniform was unnecessary since it
could be seen anyway if someone was wealthier. Those students “tend to be famous”. They
thought they “were not interested in ugly people, only in nice ones […] This is why parents
do not let children uploading pictures, especially in case of the girls”. They thought Scarlett
was very ostentatious and vain, and they did not have a good opinion of her. They thought
Kate and Russel were very cool, but their relationship was not honest, since they were
together because “they looked good together”. They thought Laura and Jay were moderately
popular, and Scarlet was not at all. Russel was considered to be dishonest and insincere.
Scarlett was thought to be incautious, and someone who just wanted to be cool: “She has two
personalities, she is struggling with inside. She would like to be cool. When she talked with
Russel she thought she could be cool. She did not defend herself from Kate, and I think she
regretted it”. They thought Russel should be excommunicated, and not Scarlett. Jay became
the center of attention, the responsibility was passed on him in the last scene. According to the
actor-teachers the focus was on “who was cool”. They experienced that students were
involved, and they were very intelligent. For the head teacher “it was a great experience
listening to them” and she liked that students paid attention to each other and they were
active. The boy on the periphery wanted to be a volunteer who makes a film about the
feedback of the performance. The teacher was happy that others wanted to help the boy,
earlier they acted hostile with the same student. About the naked picture they said: those
people post pictures like this on the internet that “are very confident” and they did not think
that the truth was the reverse of it. They talked a lot about the puppet; they thought it was a
good idea that there was no concrete performer of Scarlett.

The 8th grader class had 34 students, and the head teacher taught them since the 5th grade –
this was her last class. Students were hard-working, and the only problem was that “they want
to meet the expectations and they are maximalists”. She thought that the class community was
very good, but the “boy and girl questions arise”. The group was not separated by genders.
One girl was excommunicated during a class trip – no one wanted to be in the same room
with her, and “the other girls did not change it during the trip. They have not talked about it
since then”. So the head teacher did not react on the situation, but she thought that in case of
these problems students “would turn to her and their parents”. She thought students saw her to
be strict but consequent. She did not follow her students on the social media.

In the performance one student was missing, and the boys and girls sat separately.
Except the head teacher her vice was present, with whome they were talking during the whole
of the performance. The girls laughed at the naked pictures, while some of them were
surprised by the curse words. The head teacher laughed together with the students. They were
paying attention to the fighting scenes. Students found Russel to be very cool, in the order
Kate, Jay and Laura followed. They thought Laura liked being alone, Jay was “more talented”
than Russel, and Scarlett was not cool at all, and she only sent the picture because she wanted
to be cool. They thought “the community puts labels on people, and this is how someone
becomes cool”. They had a positive image about Kate, but after the theatre part she was not
considered to be cool. They were really active at the small group work parts. They thought
that the picture would be forwarded in the future as well, and Jay and Laura could have
prevented it, but they were not famous enough for people to believe them. They thought
cooperation is the power of the community, and common responsibility would be a solution.
They said they would stand up for Scarlett: “I would stand up for her!”. The actor-teachers
rated the success of the performance to be a medium. They emphasized that boys and girls
“sat really separately” and the “common work started roughly”. In big groups “they were not
brave enough to say anything” but in small groups they expressed their opinions. In this case
the focus of the performance was the criticism of bystanders, and about how to stand up on
behalf of the truth. The head teacher was satisfied with the performance, but she thought
students were shy to express their opinions. She said that the 4 boys’ team was sent home
from the class trip due to alcohol consumption, and then their parents turned to the head
teacher that “the boys were excommunicated”. The class “turned together to the head teacher”
that “it was not okay what these boys were doing”. After the performance students said that

they would never do such thing like Russel, and they would take responsibility in handling the
situation as an external viewer. They also talked about the question of trust, since the Russel
trusted his friend when he sent the picture, and he thought “he knew how to handle this, what
he was sent to”. About the performance the teacher said that students have normal family
backgrounds, a good school so they have not really experienced big conflicts, so Internet is
“just a game” for them so far. She thought that handling this situation was the responsibility
of the parents and not her.

The 8th grader class counted 10 boys and 23 girls. The head teacher taught them from the 5th
grade. He thought students had good skills and they wanted to go to university. “They came to
this class with defined goals”, since this is the best school in town according to the students.
About the community she said that “there are those who still have the soul of a little child and
those who already grew their spikes, and we together form a big scoop”. She said they were
not altogether, there were cliques, and boys and girls usually mixed with each other.
According to her, not everyone participated on the out of school activities. The class was
involved in the topic. There was a new student who could fit in soon, but “there was a girl
who was excommunicated. Excommunication is not a good word. […] She was stinking
concretely”. The head teacher talked with the friends of the student, and she got a deodorant
as a gift. One boy was mocked by “liking other boys”, therefore he did not like attending this
class. According to the teacher, common programs could solve the tensions and
disagreements in the class. She thought that parents were responsible for the fact that “some
children are difficult to deal with”. She thought children could be cruel, and she talked with
them many times and said to them that “what is not good for you do not do it with the others”.
She thought that it was the common responsibility of the parents and teachers to handle
problems, since it was important “what the child learns from the family, and what kind of
upbringing is going on in school”. Appearance was important in the class, “they even had a
definition of being cool and looser, and this was not based on their skills”. The teacher had a
Facebook profile although she did not use it. She believed that her students thought she was
strict, but they turned to him with their problems rather than to their parents. She expected
from the performance to see her students “in another situation”. The venue of the performance
was the dormitory, which was unknown for the students. The whole class participated on the
performance, the boys and girls sat together, mixed. The students laughed that the venue of
the Body-Image-Presenters is an elite high school, since they were attending that kind of
school too. About the characters they told that girls and boys also played football, and in their
free time they went to church. They thought if they drank they would do it only because they
did not want to be outsiders, and they wanted to be similar to the other students. Their
relationship to physical appearance was relevant during the performance: “who follows
fashion that is usually cool”, although they thought “whoever tries to be popular at this age
will not study and becomes nobody as an adult”. They thought Laura was too reserved, did
not accept herself, and did not like being alone and she wanted to make a good impression.
Scarlett was not attractive for them, since they thought she was invisible and ordinary. They
found that profile pictures did not show the reality, since Jay and Russel seemed to be
completely different. They felt Jay was closer to them, they felt sorry for him. They thought
Kate was “naive and pathetic”, who defended Russel, and Laura defended Jay. Students
encouraged Laura then Kate to slap Russel. Finally, Laura – at the party scene – slapped him,
than Russel frightened her and made her leave. They stated that the photo about Scarlett could
not be stopped, it would be spread everywhere. They did not take responsibility at all, they
said they would not help the victim. They said that in this situation they “would have cheered”
“laughed”, and “I do not think anyone would have helped [Scarlett] for the fear of losing
his/her popularity.” They did not change the bullying behavior, and they said Russel’s final
thoughts aggressively, without every regret: “I am cool enough because 2 girls are fighting for
me. You [Scarlett, Jay, Laura] should shut up or I will beat everyone! If Kate get to know
about anything, you will get in f*cking trouble!” The actor-teachers rated the performance as
a medium, since the students were paying attention all the time, but they felt them passive
many times. At the end [when they could instruct performers] “they were involved
emotionally, something happened there”. They thought students were open but “they could
not connect at this level”. So far there was never a slap in the face in the instructions of the
students. For the head teacher it was strange that students chose physical assault as a solution.
Students explained her that “but there was no other choice, Laura tried everything she could,
this is was the only option left”. The teacher was surprised and hurt that students laughed at
the fighting scene [when the Kate attacked the puppet on the floor]. Since the performance 4-
5 students became her friends on facebook. The teacher asked “who else could have helped”
and she got the reply “no one”, since they thought that a young person would not turn to the
parents, or teachers with such an issue, only maybe to a friend.

The students attended the 7th grade of a catholic school; their teacher was teaching them for
one and a half years. She taught to Hungarian literature and grammar the students with
“weaker skills”, and English to students with better skills, and she did not teach some of the
students at all. She stated that based on her experience the “community of the class is made
slowly and hardly”. There was a tension among 8 girls (they split to two cliques), but the
teacher asked them on the morning liturgy to have peace between them, and the mother of one
girl needed to stay in hospital, which made them to stick together, so the tension disappeared.
The teacher was an active Facebook user, she even had groups with her students. The teacher
thought that mainly the parents could be responsible for dealing with bullying. The class was
involved in the topic. One boy drew on images about his classmates and posted it without
their permission. The head teacher told him to delete the pictures immediately since it was
violation of personal rights. She said that students would turn to their parents with their
problems. She thought that students considered her a nice and open person. The performance
was held in the chapel of the school. Students had a rather bad opinion about the school of the
story (St. Margaret), and the uniforms the characters wore. They got involved in the activitiy
and reacted loudly. About Scarlett’s profile they thought it was a “porn page”, and they did
not want to believe that she was attending the same catholic school as the others. They had a
really negative opinion about her. They thought Russel was the coolest, he was attractive for
them. They thought Laura was as unpopular as Scarlett, and about Jay they thought he did not
belong there, although he was quite popular. They stated that profiles were not like the
performers. They laughed at the puppet and the fight because “it seemed funny” but “if we
were there we would have obviously helped”. In the last scene the students cheered for Jay
and Laura, and they encouraged the latter. They were not happy that Kate and Russel made up
with each other. Both classes thought that a girl becomes “cool” if she was with a cool boy,
but its reverse was not true. At the end they disliked Russel. The actor-teachers rated the
performance as a medium. All of them felt that the class was emotionally involved, but they
missed self-reflection, and they felt the students did “what was expected from them” (e.g. how
to behave properly), “although they could not give a reason why”. The teacher7 did not have
previous expectations, she liked the performance, but she felt sorry for being just a passive

Due to an organisational misunderstanding two classes participated on the performance, but the interview was
recorded with the head teacher of just one class. The observation was taken of 32 students, while the class about
which the interview was taken counted 18 members.

observer. She was surprised many times by the comments of the students, and she felt odd
that “the boy” [Russel] was not found guilty by the class. She thought Scarlett was naive, and
the class was blaming the victim. She was further surprised that students did not judge “the
cool girlfriend” when she bullied Scarlett: “They completely believed that Scarlett is guilty,
and this surprised me a lot. It was hard to avoid intervening, to make them realize they are
wrong…” As the effect of the performance, one similar case was revealed, about which
students did tell anything to anybody before. They treated it “as a totally normal thing”, but
the head teacher talked with the class and with the boy who “committed it”.

To interpret the results of the research we have to mention the compromises of the research
methodology, which arose during the process. We aspired to organize the research in a quasi-
experimental way and to apply the methodology of impact assessments, so to plan such a
research that applies measurement before and after the intervention, and happens in a test and
in a control group as well. Furthermore we found the mixed methodological approach
important to shadow the results with mutual reflection of data, collected by quantitative and
qualitative methods.

The research can be listed among the category of natural experiments, since we
examined an operating ’s activity in a live and continuously changing environment. We had to
struggle with numerous influencing factors, that derives from the natural flow of real life, e.g.
the absence of students (in case of pre-test, performance and post-test) could be controlled
hardly. In order to preserve the anonymity of the research and the parental approval, we have
not connected the data at individual level from the aspect of pre- and post-examination, so the
connection of data and the examination of the changes were only possible on the level of the
classes. This was a serious methodological compromise, which made us miss many analytical
possibilities, but if we could follow certain students then that would have generated more
missing data, which would have weakened the analysis again.

To provide the involvement of the control groups was a further diffculty. Generally, it
can be stated that in such a complex system like certain student- or class communities, we
cannot find entirely matching control groups, since every individual and class community
have their own peculiarities that cannot be controlled. As a methodological compromise, we
have set a goal to pick parallel classes of the same school as control groups (this way the
students, the school contexts and their characteristics could be on the same level from the
aspect of developmental psychology). Although there were cases when there was only one
class per year, and in some schools there were more performances of the same (which was
also a peculiarity deriving from the practice, the research could not control the co-operations
and bookings of the company). In those cases the classes in the year above or in the year
below the examined class could be picked.

Finally, it is worth highlighting that many voluntary and occasional data collectors
participated in the research, so the organization, logistics and personal competencies and
styles lead to differences among the interviews and observations, despite the fact that before
starting the examination the observers participated on the same preparation. In connection
with this, further challenges could arouse in the the communication with the teachers, due to
their about the length of the interviews or the inclination of the control group to fill out the
questionnaires. Generally, the research demanded a lot from schools besides the Theatre in
Education performances, which might have exceeded the tasks that could optimally be put on

From the aspect of the content, it is worth to re-think the age categorization of the
Body-Image-Presenters, since it seemed that the majority of elementary school students were
not matures enough yet to interpret the content properly. The text and the presented image
caused problems in some cases. It happened that the teacher did not understand the
methodology of theatre education, since she expected the presentation of a list of right
answers (Mu Elementary School, 1st performance and Mu Elementary School 2nd
performance). Here the task is to better clarify the information and the expectations between
the schools and the organization. From all these it is possible to see that Theatre in Education
as a method has not yet spread widely in schools, and neither did its way of abstract thinking.

In order to interpret the results properly, we have to consider these methodological

limits. Independently from these facts, it is worth in case of every research to add critical
reflections, from which this study does not form an exception.

The aim of the research was to get to know the impact of the Theatre in Education
performances of The Nerd and the Body-Image-Presenters on certain defined elements of the
nature of bullying, and/or on the adults and the students’ knowledge and attitude towards
bullying in the school. We have got answers of different depths in the case of The Nerd and in
the case of the Body-Image-Presenters. In The Nerd the focus was on the responsibility of the
parties, while the theme of the Body-Image-Presenters was more diverse and bullying was not
strictly in its focus, therefore gender stereotypes, sexism, relation to sexuality and
cyberbullying have arosen in almost every case. However, the results showed many common
features as well, so when summarizing the results we discuss these together. We divided the
discussion according to the dimensions of analysis elaborated based on the performances and
the investigation: direct impacts of TiE, the context, the teachers’ attitude and presence,
relation to the participants of bullying-cycle and the gender role expectations and stereotypes.

The direct impacts of the application of theatre in education already appeared in

the interviews carried out after the plays and/or in the results of the questionnaires. According
to the actor-drama teachers and the observers, the Body-Image-Presenters had the most
serious impact the group where the swear words and fighting was a rather habitual thing.
They were the ones who felt that hthe performance was about them (Sigma). It can be stated
in general that the programs brought forth the phenomenon of bullying, and that students
talked with teachers after the activities about those cases that were unrevealed before, and
they were looking for solutions of problems together with their form master (e.g. Nu). The
form master of the Nu Elementary School faced the involvement of the class in bullying at
the discussion after the performance; the teacher could see that the presented situation (that
was considered as an extreme story) was natural for the students. After the group discussion
the form master talked with the bully individually, too. It can be stated that the performances
had an impact on the recognition of violence, on the discovery and undertaking of the
situation as well as teachers’ involvement. The application of Theatre in Education seemed to
have a positive impact in those cases, too, where in the pre-performance interview the form
master emphasized the responsibility of the victim in those situations and he/she thought that
the best solution for the victim is to leave the school (Beta 1st performance). This pattern was
copied by the class in The Nerd: they blamed the victim and thought she should leave the
school. Despite of these, positive results were shown in the pre-test and post-test and in the
change of the problem perception. Quantitative data also strengthen the importance of the
teachers’ roles: in those classes, where the teachers’ social control was lower, the contextual

factors were also lower (social cohesion and trust, school climate, the moral judgement of

From the aspect of the community, it could be observed in various schools that in
certain groups (e.g. Mu 1st performance, Omikron) the form master thought that there is no
excommunication in his/her class and that the class community was excellent. Although based
on questionnaire data we could see that in the case of Omikron High School students thought
that the extent of social cohesion and trust and school climate were lower than in the case of
any other tested classes. This let us draw the conclusion that the form master does not see the
class community in a realistic way (or was looking from another aspect) or he/she buffered.
The actor-drama teachers in many cases (e.g. Mű 1st performance) disagreed with the form
master about how well the students functioned as a community and how much they dared to
express their opinion in front of each other. However, there were performances (e.g. Dzeta,
Mu 3rd performance) where in the post-performance interviews the teachers talked about the
fact that those students who were shy, became more open and braver and they dared to
express their opinions after the performance in front of each other.

Some of the form masters told in the post-performance interviews that the Body-
Image-Presenters made students realize that internet was “not a game” (e.g. Mu 3rd
performance). In Pí High School for instance, according to their form master children thought
Internet was only a game and primarily parents should deal with the possibilities and dangers
of this world. The teacher’s parry and attitude towards violence and bullying can explain the
fact that in this case the judgement of the perception of cyberbullying increased in the pre-test
and post-test, since if students did not take this issue seriously before, then the Body-Image-
Presenters could show its drawbacks, which was reflected in the answers, too.

An important result from the aspect of theatre in education is that according to the
qualitative results the Body-Image-Presenters performance had a great impact on students
with very low socio-economic status, bad family circumstances, involved in different abuses
(Sigma). One of the biggest challenges of theatre in education is to involve young people with
low socio-economic status. Socially disadvantaged communities are less able to express their
opinions due to their disadvantages, or they fear more of what they would say wrong. This
could be one of the reasons of not expressing their thoughts publically. Basically, the
methodology makes participants to think in an abstract way, which can be even scary if it is
not usual in the given community. The participant can feel that he/she is expected to do
something that he/she cannot do, so he/she has a similar experience than the conventional,
formal school system offers. And this is exactly what theatre in education professionals would
like to avoid. This example shows that the use of raw speech, was one of the key aspects of
involvement in this group, which in the case of the Body-Image-Presenters resulted to be a
difficulty in other schools,.

There were some institutions where the method was unknown, and where people were
surprised by the techniques of theatre in education (e.g. teachers and students of Mu school
expected a list read out of appropriate ways of handling violent and bullying behavor).
Numerous form masters told in the post-performance interview (e.g. Mu 3rd performance,
Lambda, Alfa) that they felt a prompt and very positive change in their class, where as a result
of the performance students involved the excommunicated student, cooperated with them,
moreover volunteered for common work with them. These positive changes were reinforced
by quantitative data, since the rates of certain variables describing the problem perception of
bullying have clearly decreased.

The relation to the participants of bullying and the attribution of responsibility are
very important factors to interpret the impacts of the performances. According to Olweus’
(2003) categorization, we can talk about bullies, allies, passive harassers, defenders, possible
defenders and indifferent bystanders. These participants can be identified in case of both
performances during the reading of quantitative analyses, but we could not obviously identify
the harasser-victims based on the interviews. It is extremely important what kind of decisions
have classes made during The Nerd and the Body-Image-Presenters, which character they
supported, and what they thought: whose responsibility was to deal with bullying, and who
could solve the existing situation. The support of the victim was strongly present in that
class where students told positive things about the victim from the teachers roles, and in the
role of the students bullying behavior was hostile for them (Theta). This is illustrated well by
the fact that in Theta school the victim behavior based on the questionnaire data was strongly
present, much more than in other tested institutions. The group applied the same conflict
management method during the performance what they did in real life: they would have
involved the victim and listen to his/her problems and needs.

The appearance of victim blaming in the pre-performance interviews of teachers were

reflected in the decisions of the students during the performances. It occurred that in the

beginning of the performance the victim blaming, the mocking and condemning of the victim
were strongly present, but it ceased by the end of the performance (Eta). But there were
groups where the victim blaming was present during the whole performance (e.g. Epszilon,
Kappa 1st). The victim blaming classes were mostly strongly affected in the topic (e.g. Kappa
1st). Amongst the victims there can be harasser-victims as well, who are becoming harassers
and also victims of bullying. In the Omikron group the victim who was always bullied could
not be regarded as a harasser-victim, since he attacked the student who bullied and mocked
him continuously when he felt powerless against him, so he did not attack a weaker student.
Despite of this, in the Eta school the determination was not so simple. In the concrete case
presented in the interview (indirect physical bullying) the affected student was in the same
position as the previous victim, but according to the interview with the head teacher, the
student was not just a victim, “but he was often the source of the problem”. Teachers blamed
the victims for the situation they had to face in many cases. It was not visible from any of the
examples whether the victims would be present in a proactive way in the role of the harasser,
so we could not decide in any of the cases if affected students were harasser-victims or not.

Observers reported such a complex case, where they identified easily all the
participants of bullying within one performance (Dzeta). In this group, two harassers were
the opinion leaders, who tried to turn the performance in the direction of victim blaming,
while they strongly supported the behavior of the harasser character. The other boys followed
the events as bystanders, viewers, or they supported the harasser. Two girls were against the
others, who as defenders tried to face the harassers with their actions, and to highlight the
emotions and the situation of the victim. Based on these, in case of the Dzeta group, the
problem of bullying could appear in such a complex way as in reality. This kind of
involvement can explain that one of the most successful The Nerd performances was held in
this class (based on the results of the pre- and post-tests).

Bystander behavior was typical in case of more classes (it was the most powerful in
case of Beta 1st). Its powerful presence could be sensed in those groups (justified by
quantitative and qualitative data), where the class was affected in the topic (Gamma, Beta
1st). There was a group where besides the strong presence of bystander behavior, there were
more defenders, than harassers (Gamma). Numerous classes supported the harasser. There
were groups that only did this at the beginning of the performance, while in some cases the
attitude of pro bullying remained typical all along. Where bullying was strongly present (e.g.
Béta 2., Béta 3., Epszilon, Kappa 1.), the students sympathized with the behavior of the role
of the harasser – they found it funny, some students even copied it and saw it as a good
example (Beta 3.), and they considered the victim guilty. In these classes the moral judgement
of bullying and the social control ensured by teachers were worse than in other groups. It also
occurred that at the end of the performance the group considered physical aggression the best
solution, and they encouraged the characters to take physical action (Ksi). Perhaps this could
explain that the problem perception of physical bullying increased in relation to the pre- and
post-test in the Ksi group. That class, where physical violence dominated (Kappa 1st),
supported the harasser also in the frame of story, and in small groups they presented situations
of physical aggression. In certain groups students found humorous the bullying behavior, but
later they condemned the bullying role, and after the performance they claimed to the teacher
that they did not want a classmate like this (Alfa, Kappa 2nd).

Considering the attribution of responsibility, the support of bullying was in

connection with taking responsibility. In those classes, where the aggressive actions and
solutions dominated (e.g. Ksi, Kappa 1st) students did not take responsibility and did not help
the victim, and in many cases, they blamed the victim and the teachers for the situation (e.g.
Epsilon, Kappa 1st, Gamma). These classes thought that more participants are affecting the
bullying situation and its solutions, where the head teacher took the responsibility and
regarded the problem as a complex issue but one, which can be solved (e.g. Delta 1st). The
importance of these is supported by the quantitative results, since the results of the
performance Delta 1st indicated more positive changes than in case of performances of
Epsilon, Kappa 1st or Gamma.

When observing the classroom, it was important to get a clear picture about how much they
aspired for self-expression, how ordinary the place was (e.g. there were only portraits of poets
and historically important people on the walls), how much the features of the class were
present (e.g. in a sport class role models of sports man, in a religious class polite greetings) or
if the presence of the head teacher was the most dominant (e.g. she taught English for the
class, so English words decorated the room). It could also be observed when the equipment of
the school and the classroom reflected the socio-economic status of the students. In a small
countryside school, where the classroom was tight and the equipment and decoration were
poor students mostly dealt with poverty, while in the capital, where students had no such
problems their problems and the root of bullying was different. The material status, the

appearance (e.g. clothing, type of cell phone) were less determining in classes with poor
material backgrounds.

Proxemics, with other words the space, distance between participants many times justified or
denied the mentioned phenomena in the pre-performance interviews, and it supported or
weakened what has been said by the head teacher. In light of this it could be observed, that
while in the interview it was said that presently there was “no boy-girl conflict in the class, it
has been solved”, but in the class students were separated and aspired not to be mixed. In
other cases, the observation of proxemics made the victims easily identifiable: students sat
down separately from the others in a way that they cannot take eye contact with them. It
appeared that the “conflict between girls” revealed in pre-performance interview was justified
by the observation of the space, since 3-4 girls sat down tightly next to each other, and were
always together, while that girl with whom they had a conflict was excommunicated, and she
had to find a seat elsewhere.

The socio-economic status, the poor education of parents and their income showed
correlation of the relationship of parents and teachers. Cooperation was more difficult
between parents with poor socio-economic status and/or parents of students who were in bad
family situations, since teachers could hardly reach them, and they could not discuss the
problems affecting the students, or teachers did not experience openness to solve the problem.
Based on the quantitative data, the social situation of students showed a difference mostly in
connection with social support in case of students with high or low socio-economic status.
The components regarding the context seem to be determining in terms of the success of the
performance and the relation to bullying.

The results showed that the change (caused by the TiE performance) of the
attitude and presence of the teacher were extremely important for the recognition of
bullying, and the resolution of it as well as to find effective ways to solve the problems.
Considering the cyberspace, the Body-Image-Presenters resulted in a change of attitude in
case of the teachers, since they said after the performance (e.g. Mu 1st performance) that they
would like to supervise students’ online activities more often, and their information appearing
in social media as well. The performance made teachers face similar problems, and the

necessity for treatment, while they aspired for more active and conscious presence in the
cyber space.

The determining existence of the attitude of the teacher about bullying and the
performance was justified in case of Beta 3rd, where based on the quantitative results the
problem perception became higher in every variables of the tested class. According to the
qualitative data, the head teacher had a strongly victim blaming attitude, she did not take
responsibility, and she thought that handling bullying is the responsibility and task of the
school psychologist and the parents. To the pattern of the attitude of victim blaming, students
also blamed the victim during the performance, and they thought that the victim was
responsible for being excommunicated. In the Omikron School (catholic institution) the root
of victim blaming was the sent erotic picture and – according to the actor-teachers – verbal
bullying was the strongest in this group of all. The class was affected, even physical
aggression occurred before, yet the head teacher claimed that the class was not involved in
this topic, although the quantitative data suggest that bullying was present in a greater extent
in every aspect, than in the cases of the other tested classes. On the second performance of Mu
Elementary School it also seemed to be the case that it was the fault of the excommunicated
student that he/she was excommunicated according to the teacher’s attitude. There were two
private students in the class, and the new student was also excluded. Their teacher thought
that segregation based on skills was effective.

The head teacher with neutral attitude (Kappa 1st) found The Nerd uninteresting, but
she did not consider bullying was present in her class (excommunication, harrassment), and
she thought her class was not affected. This attitude was reflected in the conflict handling of
students, in their opinion of bullying, and also the quantitative data showed the least changes
of variables here.

The performances of Beta 1st, Eta, Theta and Kappa 2nd were very effective from
every aspect, since based on the quantitative data the most positive changes in examined
variables happened here in relation to the pre- and post-questionnaires of the test group.
Qualitative results showed that in Beta 1st group the head teacher had a victim blaming
attitude, and she thought the victim should leave the school. At the rise of the problem in the
she chose similar solutions, and students followed this pattern in the performance. Typically
those classes come to this solution (that the victim should leave the school) where there was a
change in the number of students during the years. I may be due to the victim blaming

behavior that in Beta 1st group the value of the variable describing the victim behavior was
higher than other classes.

In Eta class the teacher recognized that the class was affected and he wanted to do
something to solve this - often with drama pedagogical methods – but despite of this students
bullied the excommunicated kid even during the performance, although towards the end they
came to the conclusion that the victim was not responsible, and that there were more
participants in this situation and that bystanders were also guilty. The performance seemed to
be successful, since the questionnaire data showed positive change in every examined
variables. According to the head teacher of Theta class, it was his responsibility to handle a
situation like this. His class is affected, and he spoke to parents in this situation and “brought
together” the victim and the harasser, so they solved the problem. Students in the frame of the
story applied the same conflict management way as the teacher applied during the real
conflict. It can be seen that the pattern of the teacher is important in handling bullying, since
in this group we can observe positive change in case of every tested variables. For the head
teacher of Kappa 2nd the class community was important, and she tried to organize more and
more common programs, she recognized conflicts and tried to help solving them. By stepping
into the role of the victim, the role play showed a prompt change in attitude regarding the
students, and the effectiveness of the performance was strengthened by the quantitative

The answer of the teacher to bullying and violence, and his/her relation to and
perception of bullying and ideas of problem solution are determining, because students find
it role strategy to follow. Verbal bullying appeared in numerous forms at the performances,
but in many cases teachers did not reflect to those later. As the effect of the actual political
atmosphere, students many times used “migrant”, or “immigrant” as a bad word for their
classmates (e.g. Mu 3rd performance). Teachers at the venue did not react to this, and they did
did not mention these either in the post-performance interviews. If a teacher ignores this kind
of situation, then he/she supports the maintenance of violence (Yoon & Kerber, 2003), and the
lack of consequences will not stop the harassers (Figula et al. 2011a), which also encourages
the continuation of violence and bullying. The previously mentioned things are again justified
by the fact based on the quantitative data, that where the social control of teacher was lower,
in those cases less positive changes could be observed in the tested variables.

The intervention based on the community is inevitable to reach change succesfully.

Theatre in Education proved to be appropriate in those cases, where the openness of the
teacher was given and he/she claimed responsibility and took action for handling those
situations. Furthermore, it became an important aspect that students were mature enough for
the reception of the programme. Those teachers who chose punishments, as calling the
parents, suspending the students, etc. did not reach their goals on the long term (Twemlow &
Sacco, 2012), therefore it seems to be important to change the pedagogical attitude in a
situation like this. The results of researches regarding pedagogical reaction to bullying (Hajdú
& Sáska, 2009; Simon et al. 2015; Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a) showed that the discussion after the
events is one of the most frequent reactions. The qualitative results of our research also
justified this, since those teachers, who recognized and handled school bullying, turned to this
method the most frequently. In those cases, where as a result, one or more students left the
school – typically the victim – the presence of bullying could still be seen during the
observation. So, it did not seem to be an effective method to stop bullying. In those cases,
where teachers did not intervene, or simply they just ignored the presence of bullying, they
supported the maintenance of taboos. Pedagogical reaction is necessary, since as a person of
authority it depends on the intervention of the teacher how bullying continues (Dóczi-Vámos,
2016a). If they do not intervene, then victims may feel that teachers do not care about them
(Yoon & Kerber, 2003; Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a), do not defend them (Mayer, 2009; Figula et al.
2011b; Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a), and the victims do not tell the teacher about the presence of
bullying, which is supported by the qualitative results (Dóczi-Vámos, 2016a).

Expectations of gender roles and stereotypes seemed to be determining in the cases of both
performances: where there were more boys in the class they oppressed girls, who mostly did
not say a word during the performance. In the group of Mu 3rd, gender role expectations and
stereotypes were present really articulately (e.g. according to the class girls “do the washing
up and cleaning as forms of entertainment”). During the performance, only boys expressed
their opinions and they continuously emphasized their views about the differences between
men and women. During the performance they did not have a high opinion of none of the
female characters. In the Ro High School they even said that no one believes the victim
because “she is a girl”. Girls typically sticked together in sport classes and in those classes,
where they were in minority. In The Nerd the bully and the victim’s gender was determining,
since when the bully was a girl she was less blamed. It was mentioned many times in the
Body-Image-Presenters that women learn that they are oppressed and powerless against

sexual harassment and they endure humiliation because they do not think they can turn to

Gender was a significant organizing factor in the class, too, which is also supported by
research results (ld. Szabó, Kovács, Nguyen & Fliszár, 2014), but today’s Hungarian teachers
– and the system – do not see it. It was revealed by the interviews that the teachers –
unconsciously, but – treat female and male students differently, which influences their
expectations related to their performance and behavior. In the sport classes boys were
presented by the teacher based on the type of sport they did (footballers, athletes) and girls
were introduced separately as “girls”. In the Body-Image-Presenters it was present as a topic,
what was a girl and a boy allowed to do, since most classes thought that the two were
different. According to the respondents girls who initiate a relationship or flirt with many
boys or send erotic pictures are judged negatively and they are even not regarded as victims,
while in the case of boys the role of initiating and the sexually active lifestyle are part of the
norm. Besides, the acceptance of violence and its treatment as a masculine norm (Johnson,
2006; Henry, 2009) can be a serious source of danger, since in these cases the teacher does
not react to bullying. In the post-performance interviews the form master did not reflect on
those serious cases, where the obviously sexist behavioral patterns and the reckoning of the
lack of congruity to gender role expectations, which appeared together with the oppression
and verbal abuse of them.

Real difference can be observed between genders regarding for instance the behavioral
pattern during bullying, the emotions, the attitudes and the coping strategies connected to it.
Girls become witnesses or defenders twice more frequently than boys, and boys intervene
three times more frequently (Pauwlik, Margitics & Figula, 2011). Besides, typically boys
become bullies, while girls become victims one and a half times more frequently than boys.
The quantitative data of this research reinforce that boys and girls evaluate and perceive the
variables related to bullying differently. For instance, there were significant differences in the
evaluation of problem perception (primarily related to physical and verbal bullying), bullying,
bystander and victim behavior and the assessment of students’ social control. The
investigation highlighted the fact that it would be important to examine the topic deeper with
gender focus. During The Nerd the question raised: are the bully and the victim judged
differently if they have different genders? The Body-Image-Presenters did not just touch these
questions, but gender differences, the division and attribution of responsibility considering
social genders were its strong components.
As a summary we can say that Theatre in Education proved to be successful in initiating
open communication about bullying. This is an important result in itself since due to the
performance of certain events in front of student communities, with revealing emotions, the
dialogue between students could be started, and it can help students and teachers to step into
dialogue as well. This is the first step to deconstruct taboos, which is also the first step to
decrease bullying and violence in institutions (Twemlow & Sacco, 2012; Dóczi-Vámos,

We have discovered numerous aspects of the topic that have been hardly examined in
Hungarian context, but it would be beneficial to focus on these in further research, i.e. the
relationship of gender and power dominance and the possible bullying events resulting from
this. Furthermore it is an important result that it is inevitable to know and consider the
pedagogical pattern presented by the teacher in order to reveal the students’ attitude to
bullying, since students in many cases copied the authority figure’s solution (form master).
The teacher’s role and responsibility in decreasing bullying is indisputable and his/her relation
to the victim is determining from the point of view of other participants’ behaviour in bullying

Amongst the direct effects of the performance we must pay a special attention to the
straight beneficial impact of the methodology, among which the impact of Theatre in
Education has an influence on the student communities. According to the teachers students’
self-confidentiality was outstanding after the performances, which appeared in the fact that
more students expressed their opinions and more frequently in front of their classmates.
Among others, also in connection with this, one of the most significant results of the research
is – from the aspect of drama pedagogy – that students with low socio-economic status can be
involved effectively if the topic, the language and the approach are chosen accordingly.

These results mark the path for further development and examinations. The
methodology can become a key method for the initiation of institutional changes, if it is
elaborated, introduced and implemented consciously and in a planned and organized way, by
involving school communities, students and adults, and if it is applied in the long run. This
means that teachers, students and the leaders of the institution share their experience with
each other and argue about bullying in an organized way, and by this create a common
interpretational framework with common terminology in which violent, bullying events
happening in the community are analysed. This can be followed by the development of a
detecting and reporting system notification and its long term functioning, for which the
deconstruction of taboos within the organization and the formation of trust are inevitable. A
well-functioning system like this would be a way to prevention in itself but besides these it
would be necessary to create a formally organized group, which initially with the help of an
expert, then independently organize the activities and processes of the development of a
violence-free and peaceful school learning environment (Twemlow & Sacco, 2012; Dóczi-
Vámos, 2016a).

The application of Theatre in Education proved to be a significant and effective

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The twenty-month long project and the research as organic part of it showed that bullying
and cyberbullying seem to be burning issues in young people’s communities, and their
facilitators are very grateful when they meet non-formal learning tools to try to deal with the
topic. The application of theatre and drama proved to be effective to reveal hidden cases in the
communities, to raise awareness of the phenomena and to empower young people and their
facilitators to seek for solution methods, and start addressing the issue as a problem that needs
further intervention.
The strategic partnership showed that the local support and possibilities are determining
in terms of the success of an educational theatre project. The reception of our programmes
were also different from the education field, in some countries it was easy to access school
communities, in others it became the most challenging part. By the many opportunities to
meet each other and exchange good practices, we could enrichen our working methods and
approaches to bullying, which made the project colorful and inspiring.
There were compromises we needed to make due to the mentioned local characteristics,
which made our research methods to become diverse and of different depth.
We would like to express our huge appreciation toward all students, teachers, schools,
colleagues, contributors, volunteers, family members and friends whom supported the
finalization of this book. Without them it would have never been possible to accomplish all
presented results.
For sure, we continue to plan and deliver non-formal learning programs with the
application of drama and theatre tools in order to make our societies more inclusive and
peaceful. Are you in?