How to use social and emotional learning to stop bullying? | Edutopia
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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

How to use social and emotional learning to stop bullying?

How to use social and emotional learning to stop bullying?

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Hello! i'm an undergraduate senior looking foward to expanding my skills and new ideas into future teaching therapies in the classroom, but my question is how do we apply social and emotional learning toward eliminating bullying in schools. which technique would you target first. Not a bad idea because bullying in schools is something that needs to be undercontrol,so would this be a start?

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Jeanne Osgood's picture
Jeanne Osgood
Communications Outreach Coordinator at CASEL

Hi Mary Kate and Everyone,
Your description gets right to using problem-solving strategies to help children consider their options. So often with problems like bullying, we feel isolated and without choices, whether we are kids or adults. What your class did was to try different choices after considering the possible consequences of each one. This is very empowering and is transferrable to other situations. What a great class!

Bob Longo's picture

I have been in educational technology for a long time, but was part of a the innovative teaching staff of a high school in Ohio back in the mid-70's. My graduate background was in Interpersonal Communication and I taught this course at multiple universities. I was able to build a communication curriculum for this all-males, very "jock" cultured, secondary school. Part of this curricula was a mandatory course in Interpersonal. In addition, to all of the in-class, sensitivity training and activity exercises, probably the most important component that induced behavioral change was encouraging the faculty and staff to model and reinforce the healthy behaviors that the kids were learning in class. I found that this was most important in the hallways during the changing of classes, in the cafeteria during lunch, and after school in extracurricular interactions. Best of luck on your journey...

Diane Williamson's picture

Hello Everyone,
The topic of this discussion drew me in. Bob, I am curious about the communication curriculum you have mentioned...specifically how it addressed the very "jock" culture. In high school there is more physical and social space between teachers and students. We do not see each other most of the day, usually 1 class period. When bullying or any type of social pressure becomes noticeable to staff, it is usually something that has taken root long before. I am wondering if you, Bob or any of you can point me to good resources that help in educating a faculty on how to best model the sensitivity training on which this discussion has focused. (?) Thanks for any help you can offer.

Alicia Brown's picture

Hi all,
At my school, I am in charge of the majority of discipline issues and speak to many students on a daily basis. I often act as the mediator between students and/or take the role of the liason between teachers and students and parents. As in most middle schools, bullying is a topic that is dealt with regularly. I had never heard specifically of the Capturing Kids Hearts program and from your comments, I intend to research more about it immediately. Thank you all for your descriptions and stories about how you are helping the children you teach such valuable life lessons on ways to work out differences utilizing SEL techniques.

Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher

Hi Everyone,

I have not worked at the secondary level, but I have talked to many teens about their experiences socializing in school. There is one thing students say over and over again about teachers that supported them: "He opened his room for lunch."
Sometimes the simple act of creating a space is enough to allow for the growth of community. Having a community "at your back" helps teens feel stronger.

MK

bonnie Lieberman's picture

trying Hard to Apply All I've Learned at a State children's Psychiatric Center
It's more about assaulting peers and staff and damaging property. I've tried to start an anti- bullying/anti violence campaign, but there are so many issues there, I've not had enough adults rallying. I took Marva Collins idea and had some boys write in alphabetical order characteristics they possess which make them wonderful and then ask how such a wonderful child could get so angry and do..... Then, I have suggested they make posters decrying the anti-bullying, anti-violnece theme. they do so get into it, but then they flip. I have a bi-weekly writing club, and we write poetry, (some kids are extremely talented) and present in front of an in hospital audience.The confidence they get from taking risks and from the feedback is so amazing. They demonstrate appropriate social skills, but it doesn't generalize for long. we are not allowed even to give logical consequences- we can only teach correct behavior. we are understaffed, and the philosophy is not working. Any ideas? Privileges, that the kids ask for, (boys and girls) don't
keep some of their emotions regulated.

bonnie Lieberman's picture

trying Hard to Apply All I've Learned at a State children's Psychiatric Center
It's more about assaulting peers and staff and damaging property. I've tried to start an anti- bullying/anti violence campaign, but there are so many issues there, I've not had enough adults rallying. I took Marva Collins idea and had some boys write in alphabetical order characteristics they possess which make them wonderful and then ask how such a wonderful child could get so angry and do..... Then, I have suggested they make posters decrying the anti-bullying, anti-violnece theme. they do so get into it, but then they flip. I have a bi-weekly writing club, and we write poetry, (some kids are extremely talented) and present in front of an in hospital audience.The confidence they get from taking risks and from the feedback is so amazing. They demonstrate appropriate social skills, but it doesn't generalize for long. we are not allowed even to give logical consequences- we can only teach correct behavior. we are understaffed, and the philosophy is not working. Any ideas? Privileges, that the kids ask for, (boys and girls) don't
keep some of their emotions regulated.

bonnie Lieberman's picture

many kids enthusiastically make anti-bullying/anti violence posters, participate in group discussions, pledge to maintain boundaries from peers and staff; yet, when they hear, "NO!", or have to wait, they disregulate and assault peers and staff, and often damage property. We can't hold them accountable for replacing nor fixing what they break because most come from poverty. I have an on-going writing/drama club. One quarter of the hospital population participate. Generally, they are appropriate and during presentions, they are enthusiastic and proud of their accomplishments. No matter how much they injure others, all we can do is give them negative points which means in order to go to evening program, they have to demonstrate being safe by earning points back. We can't even issue logical consequences. We give them lots of opportunities to engage in activities they ask for- ie. they work in a morning cafe, they have co-ed lunches. go shopping, get items they like at the point store, participate in co-ed volleyball and more. I'd like to see much more, but we have budget constraints. I have used a lot of Marva Collins' words to encourage, and other staff try very hard. Migt there be a y other suggestions?

Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher

Hi Bonnie,
It sounds like you are already using a lot of great techniques for promoting positive socialization. If students cannot pay to replace/repair damage, could they contribute some other way to "school beautification" perhaps by working in a garden, sweeping an area, or painting something?
Since you are dealing with older students, you might consider a peer disciplinary council. It's a student board that serves in an advisory capacity to staff members, helping them create discipline strategies which will truly be instructive rather than punitive. Some schools have regular meetings, run by students, where conflicts and other issues of mass concern are addressed, often using Roberts Rules of Order.
The central struggles of the teen years are autonomy and differentiation. Allowing students to have a greater degree of participation in planning and decision making helps them to take another step into the adult world.
Hope this helps
MK

Paula Prentis's picture
Paula Prentis
Author of SEL, self skills, PBL program for teens.

Hello all,
Quick addition to all of these great ideas, etc. Joel Haber is an author and lecturer on the topic at hand. Fascinating new studies about "up stander" behavior and how it can go out the window in real life scenarios. He explains the root of the problem lies in developing empathy early on. He explains that empathy's the key difference between a bully and a leader. We also have free information for kids on this subject on our website, www.yourselfseries.com to help teens develop a sense of self in a given situation. The trick with dealing with a bully is to keep the power even. Not easy, even for adults! We provide tips but Dr. Haber provides a real understanding of the behavior.

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