Eleonora Marucci (University of Groeningen) (webinar)
20 May 2021 @ 14:00 - 15:15
- Past event
“The Role Of Teacher Attunement In Shaping Peer Status Norms With Respect To Bullying And Prosociality”
Abstract: The aim of the study was to examine whether and how teachers can influence the classroom normative context. Norms are important regulators of actors’ behaviors. Norms shared among the members of a group or a community can be shaped by the behavior adopted by most members (descriptive norms), from the attitude of the group (injunctive norms), or from the behavior of the most influential individuals. This latter kind of norms has been referred to as status norms, or norm salience, and expresses the extent to which a certain behavior is reputationally salient within a group because of its association with high status. In the classroom context, high-status students are in a position to set behavioral standards among their peers, thereby affecting the adoption and diffusion of a certain behavior. Thus, in order to improve the quality of the classroom environment, altering the norm salience within a classroom might be an effective means to prevent the imitation and adoption of negative behavioral patterns, such as bullying, and to stimulate prosociality and cooperation, through the imitation of positive role models among students. We investigated whether teachers who have a deeper understanding and knowledge of students’ status dynamics and social roles (i.e. teacher attunement) can effectively shape students’ status norms with respect to bullying and prosociality, by altering the structure of the status hierarchies within the classroom. Specifically, it was hypothesized that: 1) the emergence of prosocial and anti-bullying norms would be more likely when the teacher is aware of the students’ reputation as a bully or prosocial; and 2) the emergence of prosocial and anti-bullying norms would be even more likely when the teacher is also aware of the classroom social hierarchies. Data were collected in three waves over one academic year from 1,464 Dutch fifth grade elementary school students (M age = 10.5, SD = 0.7, 47.4% girls) and 56 of their teachers (M age = 40.8, SD = 12.2, 66.1% female). We used Peer-nominations to assess bullying, prosociality, and status. Attunement was measured by comparing teacher ratings to the proportion of received peer-nominations per student. Using longitudinal network multilevel modeling with random coefficients (RSienaBayes), we examined how bullying and prosociality reputations affect status attributions and whether the attribution of status rewards to desirable or undesirable behaviors depended on the extent to which teachers were attuned to bullying, prosociality, and status. Results showed that teacher attunement plays a role in setting classrooms’ status norms for bullying, but not for prosociality. Thus, fostering attunement might contribute to prevent and discourage bullying, whereas different mechanisms may operate when teachers try to promote positive role models among students.
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