Ken Corish from UK Safer Internet Centre covered the fascinating topic of the shifting perspectives of bullying in schools across Europe.
A topic of the recently run project ENABLE – European network against bullying in learning and leisure environments. The aim of the project is to eliminate bullying or at least give students the emotional tools they need to ensure that they are not a victim of bullying or even be a bully themselves.
We learnt how complex the matter is. It is not simply a bully and victim scenario. There is a wider social dynamic of audience, witnesses and a whole host of factors that young people must navigate to avoid bully situations. For example, if you passively watch a bullying act are you contributing to the act through your non action?
Children must learn a skillset, a vocabulary and a strategy to stay out of physical and psychological harm and also ensure that they are not the one issuing such mental and actual pain. In many cases bullies are not aware of the misery they are inflicting on those around them.
Children can help build social and emotional resilience through four building blocks, which were explored through group work activities:
1. Self-awareness: do I recognise my own emotions and feelings?
2. Social awareness: do I recognise the feelings and emotions of those around me?
3. Self-management: can I manage my feelings and change them?
4. Relationship management: can I influence others around me?
For instance, regarding block 1, we explored tools like Mood Meter in order to be able to track emotions over a period of time. As Ken Corish said “Adding a little bit of maths to emotions really helps“.
These emotional intelligence skills become vital as students grow into adults and have to deal with bullying in the wider world beyond the playground.
Thankfully, these are all skills that can be taught and a with the help of the ENABLE project and the teaching aids (soon to be published) is something that will find its way into the classroom.
ENABLE is funded by the European Commission and brings together multiple partners from education and industry in the first pan-European initiative to tackle such an issue. Find out more on their website.
Reporting by: Bill Griffin (CSS), Valentina Garoia (European Schoolnet)