Given the ever-increasing social… and indeed, existential… challenges young people face in today’s technology-intense society, the development of social and emotional competences plays a central role in the well-being of children and teens. ENABLE, the European Network Against Bullying in Learning and Leisure Environments, combines social and emotional learning (SEL) with Peer Support in a unique approach that is now being rolled out in 5 EU countries, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Greece and the United Kingdom.
ENABLE recognizes the power young people have in influencing each other’s actions and behaviour. With the compilation of anti-bullying resources the ENABLE team has created, the project aims to help educate tweens and teens between the ages of 11 and 14 on the issue of bullying and to empower them to make a difference in their communities. The project works with all young people, including those who have been bullied, those who have bullied others, those who have witnessed bullying, and even those who have not been involved in bullying, but are struggling with inter-personal communication as most young people do in their early teen years.
SEL interventions, such as those ENABLE promotes, can help reduce bullying and improve outcomes in terms of the psychological, social, academic and physical development of children. A set of ten, one-hour lesson plans help teachers support the development of communication skills and social strategies which the students can then use to deal with challenging situations. Written by the award-winning UK-based education charity SWGfL, the lesson plans leverage successful strategies from around the world which were identified in the research phase of the ENABLE project carried out by the Greek partner, For Adolescent Health.
The lesson plans which are designed to be both engaging and investigative, lead students along four distinct pathways:
- Self-Awareness: understanding how and why we feel like we do; building an emotional vocabulary to express feelings and become familiar with our own behavioural indicators
- Self-Management: responding to our own emotions and shaping positive outcomes through a range of personal strategies
- Social Awareness: recognising emotions in others including peers; interpreting social indicators and situations, and developing positive responses
- Social Management: building a range of personal strategies that influence potential bullying situations to shape positive outcomes; setting group goals to shape a positive school climate
A Parent/Carer Pack informs parents/carers about ways to keep their children safe, both online and offline, and includes activities that can be used to extend students’ learning into the home.
Peer Support Resources
Peer Support schemes involve students working together to prevent bullying. Peer Supporters run campaigns and activities to educate their peers about the problem as well as to help them feel safe and supported at school.
Research shows that Peer Supporter schemes have a number of benefits to both the school and the Peer Supporter:
- Students often prefer to talk to someone their own age and have more in common with someone their own age. Peer Supporters can therefore offer invaluable support to students affected by bullying.
- Students are often more aware of what goes on in peer groups and so, they can detect bullying issues before a member of staff
- A Peer Supporter role can help students gain confidence, develop a sense of responsibility and empathy, and polish their active listening skills
The ENABLE Peer Support resources have been written by the leading UK-based youth charity, The Diana Award, which has established many Peer Support schemes in schools. The resources provide school staff with all they need to set up an effective Peer Support scheme. The compilation includes an outline for a one-day training designed to prepare students to be Peer Supporters and ten one-hour sessions which can be used to develop the skills they will need in this role. The resources feature ideas and activities around different topics such as online safety and racism.
The complete pack of SEL and Peer Support anti-bullying resources is available here.
You can also check the booklet “The ENABLE resource pack for students, teachers, parents and campaigners”, created to promote peer advocacy which aims to tackle bullying in a whole-school approach.
For further information, please contact:
- Janice Richardson, ENABLE Coordinator and Senior Advisor, European Schoolnet; +32 (0)484 057513, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Elizabeth Milovidov, eSafety Consultant, European Schoolnet; +33 (0)665 622571, email@example.com