Dr Barbara Spears PHD., M.Ed.St., B.Ed., Dip T.

Co-Director of the Citizenship and Wellbeing Research Group of the Centre from Research in Education at the University of South Australia

Career highlights

  • Barbara began her working life as a primary school teacher, returning to study to undertake a PhD in girls' bullying behaviours and their peer relationships
  • She works in the field of educational psychology with pre-service teachers
  • A member of the Coalition to decrease bullying, harassment and violence in South Australian Schools
  • A member of the National Technology and Wellbeing Roundtable and the Cooperation of Science and Technology (COST) Action on Cyberbullying (an international research cooperative involving 28 European countries)
  • Co-editor of 'The Impact of technology on relationships in educational settings', Routledge (in press).

Question and answer

Why is the issue of bullying of particular interest to you?

I completed my PhD in girls' peer relationships and bullying behaviours. I realised in 1993 that girls were not only on the receiving end of sex-based harassment, but having been to an all girls' school, I knew that harassment existed between girls. This commenced my investigation into girls' friendships, peer relations and bullying behaviours.

Where do you believe you have made a difference in your field?

I led the DEEWR (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations) 'Insights into the Human Dimension of Covert Bullying Study', that explored covert and cyberbullying qualitatively. Hearing the voices of young people alerts us to the impact these behaviours have on them, their families and their relationships.

How has your area of expertise helped you to contribute to NCAB over the years?

I am a recent member, but contributed before my membership, by being involved in the conferences, being a voice for the media in South Australia and I bring expertise in
pre-service teacher education.