The course “How to stop bullying and cyber bullying in schools and promote social emotional learning” took place in Bologna from 10/10/2021 to 16/10/2021. There, 13 participants from Poland and Romania had the pleasure to met each other: Marian and Florin from Școala Gimnazială Porumbacu De Jos, Lavinia and Georgiana from Liceul ”Petru Cercel”, Elena and Romeo from Liceul Tehnologic Mihai Eminescu Dumbraveni; Marta, Agnieszka, Marzena, Paulina and Anetta from Słupsk- Szkoła Podstawowa z Oddziałami Integracyjnymi nr 10 im. Polonii w Słupsku, Ewelina and Joanna form Zespol Szkolno-Przedszkolny nr 15 w Gliwicach.
Teachers came to the course with concrete expectations of discovering new methods for fighting and preventing bullying and cyber bullying in their schools. They shared the same need to find appropriate and safe ways to address the bullying topic (especially with the youngest children) and the one of promoting and enforcing positive behaviours in the classroom.
The group went on practicing cooperative exercises to analyze the complexities of cyber bullying, especially focusing on its similarities and differences from traditional bullying. They got involved in a creative visual exercise to reflect on the power of social media communication and on the easiness with which one can become a target of (cyber)bullies. A thoughtful reflection took place on the risks and potentials of Internet and on the importance to raise awareness on that with children, teachers and parents.
Afterwards the group focused on two strategies to promote positive behaviours in the classroom and prevent bullying, on the one hand fostering membership and collaboration, on the other hand developing socio emotional learning.
Social exclusion being one of the main consequences of bullying, we started practicing some non-formal activities to feel the power of inclusion and exclusion. Afterwards, we reflected on the real meaning of “group”: it’s not just being there, it’s feeling to belong there! Through practical activities and role plays we went deeper analysing group dynamics and the benefits of cooperation.
The group not only found a place to learn new knowledge and to get inspiration from the trainer and from each other for new innovative and cooperative strategies to use in their classroom, but also (to quote one of our participants) “a good place to grow and be open to the needs of students”.