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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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I've been haunted by this story of the South Hadley High School girl who hung herself after 3 months of relentless bullying by her peers. Yesterday, prosecutors announced that nine students were charged with multiple felonies - felonies! The NYTimes story below suggests that this unusually sharp legal response is designed to send a message that bullying - both online and offline - won't be tolerated. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/us/30bully.html We assembled a number of links to help parents, educators and lawmakers in creating a proactive approach to bullying in our schools. If you know of any others, please add them! Michael Pritchard's Lessons from the Heart video: Combining humor and honesty, Pritchard speaks to schools about the effects of bullying and invites kids to share their experiences and insights. It's amazing to watch, esp when he takes his presentations to a tough crowd of urban high school kids. http://www.edutopia.org/michael-pritchard-lessons-heart Emotional Intelligence Overview video: A good overview including examples of programs that teach emotional intelligence - from high school, middle school and elementary schools. Features interviews with Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence and Edutopia blogger, Maurice Elias. http://www.edutopia.org/emotional-intelligence-overview Resolving Conflict Creatively Program Educating the heart is teaching a skill, a tool, to help us solve problems. The RCCC program at Patrick Daly school in Brooklyn gives kids these tools, including skits and role-playing, which help them see that constructive options for resolving conflicts. http://www.edutopia.org/resolving-conflict-creatively-program-video Interview with Daniel Goleman http://www.edutopia.org/daniel-goleman-social-emotional-learning-video The writer of the book Emotional Intelligence makes the case for SEL in schools, recorded at the annual CASEL conference. Here are some articles, too: "She Used to Be Pretty": Schoolyard Harassment Goes Online (Middle school bullying) http://www.edutopia.org/she-used-to-be-pretty Fear Factor: Harassment Hurts http://www.edutopia.org/fear-factor 10 Tips for Creating a Caring School http://www.edutopia.org/10-tips-creating-caring-school Safe Schools Ambassadors Help Keep the Peace on Campus http://www.edutopia.org/safe-schools-ambassadors-peers-antibullying Creating a Safe Place: Lessons on Managing Emotions Pay Off http://www.edutopia.org/social-emotional-learning-across-curriculum

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Pamela DeRossitte's picture

Awesome work, Sean. I work with video a lot, too, and this is a good example of the positive aspects of using communications technology.
Keep up the good work! (applause here)

Laura Mirsky's picture
Laura Mirsky
Ass't Dir, Comm & Tech, International Institute for Restorative Practices

Responding to Bullying with Restorative Practices
May 11, 2010, 3:30-5PM EDT
Pre-registration required. Register online:
or call (610) 807-9221.
* Bob Costello, International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) Director of Training & Consulting
* John Bailie, IIRP Assistant Director of Training & Consulting

Bullying has become far too common in schools today, and its consequences can be tragic. Many programs try to prevent it, with varying results. What do you do when it happens anyway? You empower those who have been harmed, by means of supported, face-to-face meetings with those who have harmed them, and you widen the circle to include everyone who has been affected. Prohibiting such face-to-face meetings only ensures that that next time these parties cross paths no responsible adult will be present, and more bullying will result. The webinar will also address:
* how to identify bullying, a very specific power dynamic
* the harm in labeling children as bullies or victims
* bullying fallacies and controversies

Beth Kohlhoff's picture
Beth Kohlhoff
I am a Mom, a full time student,author of a blog Kindergarten Bullies

I write a blog called Kindergarten Bullies. My focus is bullying as it exists in pre-school and kindergarten and looking for ways to increase awareness and funding for those age groups. Prevention instead of correction. While there are wonderful programs, teachers and parents that do help, they are not available everywhere. I believe that everyone is responsible for allowing bullying to continue. That includes parents, educators, peers and society.
I would appreciate any information about Social and Emotional Learning programs for the very young. Together we can all make a difference!
I would share the information with my readers. http://momsopposedtobullying.com

Pamela DeRossitte's picture

Beth, thanks for this and I will visit your blog.

You know, the problem goes beyond the children, adults are rather good at this negative behavior, too. Just saw on Good Morning America (ABC) this morning, a piece about moms bullying other moms! And of course the wok place has long been a "jungle."

This is an age-old problem, a human nature thing, and we -- as concerned and compassionate teachers, parents, administrators -- can make a difference, even if only slight. Still we must make an effort. Good attracts good.

Beth Kohlhoff's picture
Beth Kohlhoff
I am a Mom, a full time student,author of a blog Kindergarten Bullies

I couldn't agree with you more. Part of my theory is that little bullies become big bullies, and all people are examples. We all know that children don't follow the "rule" "do as I say, not as I do" and that role models are the best teachers! It turns out there is an increasing problem with work place bullying as I understand it.
Rosalind Wiseman, who wrote "Queen Bees and Wannabees" also wrote "Queen Bee Moms and King Pin Dads" and it is an excellent look at parent's responsibility in bullying.
And good does attract good, in fact it is contagious. Have a wonderful day and thank you so much for your insight!
I didn't see the GMA spot but will look it up! Thanks for sharing!

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

I was just watching the news this morning and it profiled students being cyberbullied through Facebook. The point was made that the students are always one step ahead of parents, Facebook, and the school that are trying to stop this type of behavior.

How do we get ahead of the students to combat this type of detrimental cyberbullying?

Here's a link to the clip I saw: http://www.videonewslive.com/view/444169/video_cyberbullies_terrorize_st...

Pamela DeRossitte's picture

Yes, Beth, there is no size, shape, color, age, culture, or time in history that is free from this exasperating problem. Our technological advancement is tremendous, but our human character is another matter. Us good folks(!) have to band together and be role models as well as santuaries.

I will look into the books you referenced.

"DR.PHIL" -- the TV Psychologist -- is doing a lot of work in this area, too.

I recently met Sapphire, the author of "Push" (movie = "Precious"), and she, a former High School teacher, stresses education as a key resource.

Pamela DeRossitte's picture

Coincidentally, I just got this in an email. I doubt whether it's true, but it surely illustrates the point that a teacher can create a powerful and positive effect in the lives of students.

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room
on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.
Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of
their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as
the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate
sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class
was smiling. 'Really?' she heard whispered. 'I never knew that I meant
anything to anyone!' and, 'I didn't know others liked me so much,' were most
of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they
discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The
exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with
themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Viet
Nam and his teacher attended the funeral of that
special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin
before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a
last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her.
'Were you Mark's math teacher?' he asked. She nodded: 'yes.' Then he said:
'Mark talked about you a lot.'

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon.
Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his

'We want to show you something,' his father said, taking a wallet out of his
pocket 'They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might
recognize it.'

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that
had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew
without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all
the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

'Thank you so much for doing that,' Mark's mother said. 'As you can see, Mark
treasured it.'

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather
sheepishly and said, 'I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my
desk at home.'

Chuck's wife said, 'Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding

"I have mine too," Marilyn said. 'It's in my

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet
and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. 'I carry this with me at
all times,' Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: 'I
think we all saved our lists'

That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all
his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end
one day. And we don't know when that one day will

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