Bullying and Teasing: Social Power in Children's Groups, published by Kluwer
Academic/Plenum Publishers (NY) in 2003 is yet another book that addresses the
problem of bullying in schools. The
author, Gayle L. Macklem, covers the typical range of topics covered in most
books on bullying, with a stated emphasis on social groups. However, it is that aspect of the book that
is most lacking. The book is divided
into 16 chapters. The first three
chapters deal with definitions, familial and school factors. Chapters four through eight present
information on bullying victims and bystanders. Chapter nine addresses child centered correlates of bullying, and
ten examines friendships and social groups.
The remaining six chapters provide interventions. Judging from the title and the preface the
reader expects a thorough analysis of bullying within the context of social
groups--an analysis that would provide some insight into this insidious
problem. That is not provided. Only one chapter is presented and does not add
to the body of evidence on the topic.
This is not to suggest that the book is not useful. It simply does not deliver on what appeared
to be a fresh approach to understanding the nature of bullying. A more thorough analysis of the research on
aggression would have been beneficial.
The author does provide an appreciation of the serous nature
of bullying and cites all the appropriate references on the topic, a stated
goal to enable school psychologists and other mental health professionals to
carry out programs in schools. In order
to do so, readers would need to consult the references provided by the author.
They would not be able to do that based solely on the information provide in
the book. Moreover, it ignores the
critical role of collaboration with the entire school staff. The research is clear on this point: in
order for bully proof programs to succeed, ALL school personnel need to be
committed and involved, not just ancillary staff. The text does not address
There has been increased awareness and interest in bullying in schools. And yet, schools are sorely lacking in their
ability and/or willingness to develop and implement school-wide bully proof
programs. Bullying and Teasing
addresses this gap by providing a well-written text outlining the major
issues. What was disappointing for this
reviewer was the anticipation of a deeper, more insightful analysis that was
never presented. The title and preface
promised more than was delivered. And
yet, we are not at the point where a basic book on bullying, which may be read
by school personnel, should be dismissed.
It provides much of what is currently available, but not carried out in
schools. Hopefully, it will inspire the
target population of readers to try some of the interventions in a
© 2005 Barry McNamara
Dr. Barry McNamara is a Professor of Special Education at
Dowling College, NY, and is author of several books, including Keys to
Parenting a Child With Attention Deficit Disorders and Keys to Dealing
With Bullies, both coauthored with Francine McNamara, and Learning
Disabilities: Appropriate Practice for a Diverse Population.