Whenever we reflect on behaviours related to bullying, automatically we should be disgusted and act in order to defend the victims and to find justice, always. The problem here is that there are many factors that complicate the situation in a substantial way, concerning how to handle these situations. Because bullying can occur in many ways.
For instance, the most difficult to control is cyber-bullying, and this is for the fact that it is a silent one type. This week, with knowledge and experience that our participants had, we found ourselves in a safe place to discuss the best practices to prevent all types of bullying, which was the aim of the course.
The new edition of the course “How to stop bullying and cyber-bullying in schools and promote social emotional learning” took place in Palermo from 14/05/2023 to 20/05/2023. The participants came from across all Europe, with Sanela, Tomislav, Dragana and Vladimir from Secondary Vocational School”Dr Radivoj Uvalić“ Bačka Palanka (Serbia), Antonio and Andrés from Colegio María Asunta (Spain) and Christos, Foteini and Maria from 14th Primary School of Rethymno (Greece).
In order to start in the best way possible, we went to the core and origins of bullying; with the help of a large flip chart, everybody drew what they considered to be a few situations which automatically lead us to think of an abstract definition of what bullying could actually be, and especially what type of factors are involved in this dramatic situation and how surprisingly the factors and characteristics that in a way belong to someone, can be a motivation to be bullied, part of the risk factors.
By this track of knowledge, we focused on the victim’s side and in a small way, by playing the devil’s advocate, on the bully side. We found that sometimes these acts are motivated and supported by others who aren’t bullies directly, but definitely are not taking action for the good, for example watching and encouraging a continuation of a fight and enjoying the suffering of others.
There are various types of bullying, and all of them require different types of solutions.
As mentioned before, the type that is growing with a lot of power is cyber-bullying. The reason why this phenomenon has increased so much is because it is much easier to be anonymous or hide online, yet at the same time the visibility can turn out to be huge and in a way it is kind of true the common say according to which what you put on the internet, stays there forever.
This is a consequence of nowadays’ internet freedom from rules and of free will, course. The last generations of students were born with unquestionable direct access to the web, however, most of us were not educated to use internet, and we are not aware of how dangerous and problematic it can turn out to be sometimes. Through a practical activity, we analysed the risks and potentials of the internet. Right after, we compared cyber-bullying and traditional bullying.
We also focused on risk and protective factors, taking into account four dimensions: individual, family, school and community. At school, a factor that definitely creates a feeling of safety is when teachers create a safe environment for all students, especially when we are talking about small kids, because the teachers have a powerful impact on every child. Membership and collaboration is crucial, bullying can bring strong consequences to the victim by putting him/her aside from other students. Kids tend to care a lot about how popular someone is, with bullying they will stereotype and look at the victims as “losers'', that's why working on these two elements can build an excellent environment for everyone.
Our emotional intelligence is also crucial in these situations, as individuals but also as a group, to understand and to respond better to difficult situations. That’s why to a teacher it is very important to promote well-being in a school environment. To highlight that, a discussion around this topics was held with the support of creative, interactive and fun activities.
Another topic addressed during the course was conflict. In a way, we can find an opportunity in a conflict, everyone can learn a lot with mistakes, always. Also, there are many styles to approach a conflict, and every conflict can be solved or be ground for improvement. We analysed some case-study scenarios and found out how every situation can be handled very differently.
It was an incredible and super interesting week for all, full of debates and exchanges for best practices. Our participants brought a lot of experience useful for all of us in Palermo and we are sure that will apply effectively all the knowledge that they have gathered during the training course week.
Discover more about this course here.
Welcome to the ELA Blog. Here you will find articles and photos of our courses and have a look at the topics addressed during the week in Bologna, Palermo and Tenerife. You will also have the chance to take a peek at our projects and check out what we have been up to.