A new study from the University of Illinois says teachers often don’t agree with their students on which kids are bullies. In five elementary schools, three of which were in Illinois, teachers and students were asked to identify both the bullies and the victims in their classrooms. On average, teachers agreed with the kids on only 8 percent of those pairings, and identified fewer bullies than their students. Researchers say with teachers focusing on lesson plans and test scores, the social dynamics of their classroom can go unnoticed.
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“You know, there’s not necessarily a focus on children’s social health unless there’s a problem, and a lot of times those problems are figured out too late,” said Philip Rodkin, professor of child development at the University of Illinois and co-author of the study.
The study covered bullying across different gender combinations. Rodkin says while agreement between students and teachers was poor across the board, teachers were especially unaware of bullying involving girls.