Cowie, H. & Jennifer, D. (Co-ordinating team, UK), Chankova, D. & Poshtova, T. (Bulgaria), Deklerck, J. & Deboutte, G. (Belgium), Ertesvåg, S. K. & Samuelsen, A. S. (Norway), O'Moore, M. & Minton, S. J. (Ireland) and Ortega, R. & Sanchez, V. (Spain) © (2006)
Addressing the issue of violence in schools involves working towards the well-being of all members of the school community through, for example, the promotion of quality of life, citizenship, social competence skills, emotional literacy, restorative approaches, peer support, law and democracy. In this Module, we present examples of a range of interventions that have been shown to be effective in challenging school violence and in creating an ethos of non-violence and positive emotional health. We explore the following interventions: children helping children through peer support, co-operative group work, emotional literacy, restorative approaches and developing a school plan of action.
In Unit E1, we promote the idea that young people play a central role in fostering and promoting peer support in their school community. We consider strategies for engaging staff in activities that will support them in arriving at a clear rationale for the application of peer support in their school. The Unit offers a range of approaches for developing the necessary skills to set up a peer support system including planning, training peer supporters, and addressing common 'blocks and barriers' whilst addressing the concerns that may underlie them.
From a social interaction perspective, Unit E2 explores the learning potential of the co-operative group as a strategy to prevent violence in school. From this starting point, co-operative learning seems to provide a suitable curriculum-wide educational strategy for the promotion of positive attitudes and values towards non-violence, and positive behaviours such as, co-operation, dialogue, negotiation, solidarity and altruism. We highlight the advantages and disadvantages of co-operative learning as an educational strategy within the classroom, focusing on the key issues that maximise the social, emotional, and moral learning potential of children and young people. The Unit is illustrated throughout with activities, exercises and case studies.
In this Unit E3, we focus on emotional literacy: what it means and how its development can promote non-violence and the reduction of violence. The Unit focuses on why it is important to spend curriculum time on teaching emotional literacy, and the skills involved in providing opportunities for the development of emotional literacy. The Unit aims to raise awareness of the types of materials that are available to support schools' work in delivering opportunities for children and young people to develop their emotional literacy. Exercises and activities are provided, which aim to help teachers identify whether the establishment in which they work is conducive to developing young people's emotional literacy.
Unit E4 focuses on the principles, ideas and values of restorative approaches in schools and aims to familiarise readers with contemporary restorative practice applications in the school setting. Exercises and activities offer preparation for the promotion of a restorative climate in schools. A range of strategies is considered for the application of a restorative approach model in school, including a restorative response to violence, wrongdoing and everyday school problems. In this Unit, we promote the idea that individuals need, and are able, to resolve their own problems and recognize the need for sufficient training time for teachers, school staff and pupils. The Unit is illustrated with case studies throughout.
The final Unit in this Module, Unit E5, focuses on the development of a School Plan of Action for handling bullying and violence. Based on the four main principles of detection, problem solving, prevention and violence, the action plan approach offers a tool for mapping a school's attitude toward the promotion of non-violence. This Unit considers strategies for engaging staff in activities that will support them in arriving at a clearer rationale for creating a shared understanding of school bullying and violence as a pre-condition for implementing effective anti-violence measures. Exercises and activities offer the reader ideas on how to assist staff to develop an agreed understanding of the concept of school bullying and violence and to decide on the best course of action.