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Swedish pupils speak out on bully teachers

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Swedish pupils speak out on bully teachers
13:47 CEST+02:00
An annual survey conducted by Sweden's biggest children's magazine – Kamratposten - posed the question: 'What do you think of your teacher?” 16 percent of school children thought they were bullies.

The magazine quizzed over 11,000 children between the ages of 8 and 14. The majority of children liked their teacher or liked them most of the time. But it also revealed some negative aspects of classroom behaviour - with one in six students saying they felt they had been bullied by their teacher.

"He said that I was slow, like a tortoise," was one comment from an 8-year-old.

”When I said that I wanted to be a vet she said I'd never become one because I was so bad in class, " an 11-year-old added.

The figures are worrying but not surprising, Kamratpostens editor-in-chief Ola Lindholm said.

”I would have hoped that the figures would have been lower - maybe 10-11 percent," he added.

"But it is a well known fact that there are teachers out there that violate the integrity of their pupils."

Lecturer Mats Olsson from the anti-bullying organisation Friends says it is a common issue in Swedish schools today.

"We see and hear about this when we visit schools," he told The Local on Friday.

"The most common problem is when teachers favour certain pupils over others. This can make some of them feel bullied and feel bad about school."

"We always take such matters up with the principle," Olsson added.

The study also revealed that 30 percent of children believe that teachers treat boys and girls differently. Both sexes stated that girls received more positive attention.

"There are different rules in the classroom when it comes to boys and girls, and what is the norm when it comes to their behaviour," Olsson says.

Mats Olsson called for a broader debate to bring focus on the issue.

"We want to see more discussion about it from the teacher organisations to the school board level and among students."

Eva-Lis Sirén, chair of the Swedish Teachers' Union that she would welcome the debate.

"We have ethical guidelines for teachers which we will continue to work with as well as education circles for teachers on bullying," she told The Local.

The survey also found 51 percent of kids say their teacher is funny, 16 percent think they are embarrassing and 67 percent believe that their teacher is happy in their work.

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