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About

EU BULLY Project: Boosting Anti-bullying Resources

Introduction

Bullying is deemed to be a form of aggression with a social context in that it occurs among social groups in regular contact. Bullying includes a variety of negative, aggressive behaviours intended to cause physical and / or emotional damage to those at the receiving end. These behaviours can be:

 

  • Verbal (e.g. name-calling, threatening);
  • Physical (e.g. hitting, punching, kicking, inappropriate touching);
  • Relational (e.g. ignoring or leaving people out, spreading rumours); or
  • Indirect (stealing, damaging belongings, targeted graffiti).

 

Over the past 20 years, bullying has become a serious problem for a substantial proportion of children and young people worldwide. Left unresolved, the experience of being bullied can have a detrimental effect on a child’s development, leading to a variety of physical and psychological problems throughout adolescence and later life.

 

Background

Bullying is a global issue, so solutions for stopping it should reflect the diverse cultures, languages, faiths, ethnicities, abilities and preferences of those involved. Cyberbullying and internet use is not restricted by national borders either, so any solutions must equally be applicable across different countries.

 

Funded by DG Justice, the European Union (EU) BULLY project has been developed to support teachers and leaders in addressing bullying with young people in schools, youth groups, and other youth environments. The objective is to make a positive impact on the European public agenda from the perspective of the increasing phenomenon of cyberbullying as well as the more traditional types of the behaviour.

 

The EU BULLY team comprises a diversity of key partners from the UK, Ireland, Greece and Romania, who are experts in education, drama and theatre, multimedia and mobile technologies, social work, bullying and cyberbullying.

 

The initiative is reaching out to 5,000 young people across 150 primary, secondary and special education schools, as well as engaging with 2,500 parents and guardians, 2,380 teachers, school and other support staff, and 60 support agencies.

 

Objectives

With a motto of ‘changing cyberbullying and bullying behaviour’, the EU BULLY project aims at:

 

  • Providing safe, secure and friendly physical and virtual environments where

young people openly and honestly discuss what is being kept secret, in

order to help them overcome being bullied or indeed being bullies or

bystanders themselves;

  • Better trained teachers and support staff to address bullying in all its forms

and to support young people and their parents, guardians and wider family

and friend networks in dealing with bullying;

  • Promoting the use of drama techniques at school, in and outside of the

classroom, to create open and safe places to discuss bullying and other

contentious issues (using the skills and experience of the more advanced

project partners working in this field);

  • Improving the content of anti-bullying programmes on offer in schools and

adding value to whole school anti-bullying strategies incorporating user-led action research to define current needs and resolutions;

  • Improved knowledge of the frequency of cyberbullying incidents occurring

and the offer of real-time support through the development of apps for use on mobile technologies;

  • Offering greater flexibility for teachers to use these apps as anti-bullying

activities; and

  • Encouraging wider thinking about pedagogic models and the creative

interplay of bullying activity within and beyond the classroom, as a

changing ‘learning space’ which can be both physical and virtual.

 

Approach

EU BULLY offers a blended approach – creating innovation in the virtual world alongside the transfer and roll-out of best practice in the use of drama in the physical world, both providing safe and secure environments for bullying to be addressed openly. Many anti-bullying initiatives are built upon the core philosophy of the Whole School Approach, on the assumption that bullying is a systemic problem, and, by implication, that an intervention must be directed at the entire school rather than just at individual bullies and victims.

 

EU BULLY reflects this but also casts its net wider by working with young people who are most vulnerable, such as Roma people, travellers, ethnic / faith minorities, young people in care, the disabled, those at risk of offending or living in poverty, and recognising that their lives include additional support staff (in residential homes, healthcare systems, and specialist associations helping these groups in schools and communities).

 

The high-level expert meeting “Tackling Violence in Schools” held in Oslo in June 2011 identified that children, and often their families, feel frightened to speak up and therefore conceal incidents of violence, particularly when perpetrated by a school teacher or staff member. It is often difficult to get staff to commit to addressing bullying as so much of it happens under the radar. Statistics show that bullying goes undetected by school staff, and students report that it occurs in the classroom even when a teacher is present. EU BULLY supports teachers and school staff to be more proactive in bringing bullying out into the open for the victims, offenders and bystanders alike.

 

Resources

The EU BULLY project in the partner countries is founded on research and support for young people (primary, secondary and special education schools), teachers and school support staff, youth workers and parents / guardians, in order to inform the content and design of the resources and programmes on offer in schools and communities. These include:

 

  • An innovative new app which is helping to raise awareness about cyberbullying and other forms of bullying through research data whilst, crucially, allowing victims to record and report incidents to receive real-time support. The app has been developed for mobile technologies and can be downloaded onto handheld devices for use within school curriculums as part of ICT key learning strategies and as a mainstream teaching resource. As it can be accessed outside of the classroom, it is a useful tool in the wider, virtual world of all our young people;
  • A database, held on the EU BULLY website, on which these logs from victims can be hosted, providing real-time research data on all types of bullying;
  • Another app in the form of a quiz game which tests understanding about what types of bullying take place, challenges attitudes to bullying scenarios and explains how to stay safe online;
  • The use of drama workshops to play out bullying scenarios in a safe setting and to inform other anti-bullying resources;
  • A training pack to support the existing anti-bullying systems for young people, teachers, parents, and support staff within and outside of school;
  • A new play / video for inclusion on websites, which can be translated and adapted by the project partners for wider dissemination and use as an educational resource;
  • An information event in Brussels at the European Parliament / European Commission in 2016; and
  • Several national events in each partner country (UK, Romania, Ireland and Greece).

 

Use of Drama

Drama is sometimes used in bullying management, but a coherent, whole-school scheme is still innovative. There is extensive evidence that drama provides opportunities to create and experiment with life-like models of conflict, even ones drawn from real life which are ‘made safe’ by being altered and made fictional.

 

Integrating drama into whole school responses to bullying takes current best practice from the ‘theatre in education’ partners (Ireland, Wales, and Hungary) and adds value through sharing experiences, methodologies and knowledge to tackle bullying while also addressing culture and language.

 

Drama research techniques on bullying has drawn out qualitative data which is reflected in the content of the new short play and apps. Drama themes cover cyberbullying and physical bullying, particularly alterophobic, disablist, sexual orientation and racist bullying. Along with new teaching guides, these new resources have been produced and shared to enable the roll-out of drama / theatre in education in schools to address bullying as part of schools’ mainstream activities.

 

Success of drama in dealing with issues such as bullying is reliant on skilled management of structured drama work; trust in students’ peer teaching ability and their ability to put what they have learned through experience into mature practice; and strong support by school administrations. With these factors, any school can implement this activity and EU BULLY aims to provide the training, resources and tools to this end.

 

 

SUMMARY

Bullying is considered a form of aggression which has a social context; occurring among social groups in regular contact. Bullying includes negative aggressive behaviours intended to cause physical/ emotional damage to those who experience it, over the past 20 years has found to be a problem for a substantial proportion of children and young people living in Europe. Left unresolved, the experience of being bullied can have a detrimental effect on a child’s development, leading to a variety of physical and psychological problems throughout adolescence and later life. Bullying includes a variety of behaviours.

  • Verbal, (name-calling, teasing, threatening).
  • Physical, (hitting, punching, kicking, inappropriate touching).
  • Relational, (ignoring, leaving out, spreading rumours).
  • Indirect, (stealing, damaging belongings, targeted graffiti).

We will reach 5000 young people in 150 primary, secondary and special schools (+60 support agencies) 2500 parents/carers, 2380 teachers, school and other types of support staff.

Our objectives are:

  • Encourage and add value to whole school anti–bullying strategies incorporating “user” led action research to define current need and resolution.
  • Offer safe, secure and friendly physical and virtual environments where young people openly and safely discuss what is being kept secret in order to help them overcome being bullied or indeed in being bullies or bystanders.
  • Offer more rapid development of ideas in regard to cyber bullying through the development of apps for use on mobile technologies and offer real time support
  • Promote transfer of drama techniques into whole school anti bullying strategies using the skills and experience of the more advanced partners working in this field
  • Promote wider thinking about pedagogic models and the creative inter-play of bullying activity within and beyond the classroom, as a changing ‘learning space’ which can be both physical and virtual.

STRATEGY

EUBULLY offers a blended approach – creating innovation in the virtual world alongside transfer and roll out of best practice in the use of drama in the physical world, both providing safe and secure environments for bullying to be addressed openly. Many anti-bullying initiatives are built upon the core philosophy of the Whole School Approach: on the assumption that bullying is a systemic problem, and, by implication, an intervention must be directed at the entire school not just at individual bullies and victims. EUBULLY reflects this, but wider by working with young people who are most vulnerable (Roma, travellers, ethnic /faith minorities, young people in care, disabled, risk of offending, those living in poverty) and recognising their lives include additional support staff (in residential homes, associations supporting these groups in schools and community, health care staff etc)

The High-Level Expert Meeting “Tackling Violence in Schools” held in Oslo in June 2011 identified that children, and often their families, feel frightened to speak up and conceal incidents of violence, particularly when perpetrated by a teacher or staff in school. It is often difficult to get staff to commit to addressing bullying as so much of it happens under the radar. Statistics show that bullying goes undetected by school staff, and students report that it occurs in the classroom even when a teacher is present (James Dillon principal of Lynnwood Elementary School, New York). EUBULLY supports teachers and school staff to be more proactive in bringing bullying out into the open for victim, offender and bystander using the new app to be developed for mobile technologies and new skills linked to drama in education. This will be supported a pack of training and support carried out with young people, teachers, parents, support staff in and out of school.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Drama is sometimes used in bullying management, but rarely as part of a coherent, whole-school scheme which is still innovative. An analysis of the EVE database identified only 2 bullying projects, one youth project (153086-3.1-RS–2009-R1) and one Comenius project (510062-LLP-1-2010-1-IT-COMENIUS-CMP), one of which was drama based. From 1997-2005 21 anti bullying projects were approved, non drama or addressing cyber bullying. From 2005 three projects approved addressed cyber bullying, but none using drama. There is extensive evidence that drama provides opportunities to create and experiment with life-like models of conflict, even ones drawn from real life which are ‘made safe’ by being altered and made fictional. Students themselves have said they prefer the use of drama to other approaches in anti – bullying programmes (Crothers, L.M. Kolbert, J.B. Barker, W.F. (2006). Middle School Students’ Preferences for Anti-Bullying Interventions Psychology International, Vol. 27, No. 4, 475-78) Success of drama in dealing with issues such as bullying is reliant on skilled management of structured drama work; trust in students’ peer teaching ability and their ability to put what they have learned through experience into mature practice; and strong support by school administrations. With these three factors, any school can implement it and EUBULLY aims to provide the training, resources and tools to do this.

Recommendations from the 2009 Unlearning Intolerance Seminar (United Nations Headquarters, New York), call for international strategies on awareness, education, family involvement and policy change in dealing with “cyber-hate”. European Data Protection Legislation is now being applied to issues of cyber bullying, online harassment and identity theft. In 2014, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union are due to implement reforms to the EU Data Legislation. The European Commission has also been active in curbing online abuse by forming an agreement with 17 of the world’s leading social networks, including Facebook and Myspace, to ensure young people and children are better protected online. Added value within EUBULLY is the development of an app to be downloaded onto mobile (handheld) technologies for use within the curriculum in schools as part of ICT key learning strategies but also impact in the wider community in that it can be accessed outside of the physical classroom and become a tool in the wider virtual world of all our young people. The new app for mobile technologies will provide real time support and empower the victim to both log the event, with the content identified and report it.

PROJECT STAGES

Four work streams in addition to Work Stream 0 (WS) will be implemented, recognising that this project includes both transfer of best practice and development of innovative new tools, resources and approaches. Our blended model ensures that are not reinventing wheels but creating new cogs recognising ever changing environments. WS 1- research with young people (primary, secondary and special schools), teachers and school support staff, youth workers and parents/carers in each country, will influence content and design of new resources and programmes offered in schools and community. The research will use two methodologies:

  • drama research techniques led by our theatre in education partners (Wales, Ireland and Hungary), as well as through discussion/ interview workshops linked to WS2.
  • a new innovative app (WS3) which will help beneficiaries become more aware, record and report both physical and cyber bullying incidents so providing real time research data.

WS2 Integrating drama into whole school responses to bullying takes current best practice from three very different providers in three countries (England, Wales, and Hungary). Bringing these three practitioner organisations together adds value through sharing experiences, methodologies and knowledge to address bullying and addresses culture and language. Drama techniques on bullying will draw out qualitative data which can be reflected in the content of the short drama to be produced as a new resource for EUBULLY but also influence content of the new app (WS3). New resources will be produced and shared to enable roll out of drama/theatre in education in schools to address bullying as part of school mainstream activity. Resources include new teaching guides, a new drama and new drama techniques. Themes in the dramas will cover cyber (WS2) and physical bullying particularly addressing alterophobic, disablist, sexual orientation and racist bullying. Resources will be further disseminated through WS4.

WS3 will develop a new app for mobile technologies using a competitive learning game platform where pupils can play solo or challenge each other. A separate stand-alone application that will allow pupils to report incidences of bullying with type and circumstance as a bullying log offering a real time research opportunity (WS1) .The content of the game will be influenced by the research undertaken with the target beneficiaries using drama techniques as a way safely drawing out the issues (WS2) The game can be differentiated by age and will be accessible through a number of channels, the web, mobile web, native iOS and Android and potentially others.

 

European School Heads Association (ESHA) Magazine

Take a look on page 16!