Students with shields against violence

Non-violence, yes please!

Slovene Regional Summer Academy alumni set out to fight bullying and violence in their school. Now they are contributing to the development of a guidebook to help other schools deal with these issues.

Slovene Regional Summer Academy alumni set out to fight bullying and violence in their school. Now they are contributing to the development of a guidebook to help other schools deal with these issues.

The team from Simona Jenka Kranj Primary School graduated from the Regional Summer Academy in Montenegro one year ago and the project was carried out from September 2014 until June 2015. Their aims were to reduce incidence of bullying by:

1. Educating students about their rights and the rights of others
2. Showing them how to identify and deal with violent incidents
3. Creating an inclusive, violence-free working environment

Among the activities carried out was a camp for 6th grade students with activities aiming at developing self-confidence and more assertive behaviour. Teachers devoted several lessons to human rights and ways to respond to bullying and violence. The students made art focusing on diversity and prepared their own bully-proof shields.

One of the highlights was a reading night for students from the school and children from the local youth home. It was carried out in school at the end of the week – on Friday evening and Saturday morning, so the students spent the night in school.

The participants first prepared dinner together and thereafter talked about their favourite books. An NGO arranged workshops on personal space, non-verbal communication and assertive behaviour. Students also wrote their own comic stories which were published in booklets.

“I learned how to be assertive and that you should be nice to your schoolmates so they can be nice to you too”, a student called Klara, said.

In order to measure the effect of the project, surveys were carried out at the start and the end of the project. The surveys showed that the students had become better at detecting incidents of bullying and violence but that there was still a way to go before the level of such incidents could be reduced.

“It is good that I know about bullying so I can behave and react properly”, one of the students named Ajda said.

The school is now part of a project financed by the Slovene Ministry of Economic Development and Technology and the EEA and Norway Grants Slovenia – A Systematic Approach to Peer Violence in Educational Institutions – A Role Model. The aim of the project is to come up with a guidebook to dealing with violence and bullying in school. The European Wergeland Centre is the Norwegian partner of the project.

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