The National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence (NDA) will be recognised by many school communities across Australia this Friday, 18th August, 2023. It is a key bullying prevention initiative for schools, encouraging whole-school communities to work together to implement evidence-informed positive and proactive solutions to prevent and address bullying.
In 2022, 68% of Australian schools joined together to say, “Bullying. No way!”. The NDA is an opportunity to create a shared understanding around:
What is bullying?
Adequate bullying prevention policies
Supporting students who may be experiencing bullying
The NDA theme for 2023 is ‘Growing Connections’. This theme supports research findings that strong school community connections and social skills are protective factors in the prevention of bullying and help enable positive, help-seeking behaviours in students.
At Positive Pieces Education, we believe that Social Emotional Learning (SEL) provides the crucial foundational skills that empower students to stand up against bullying, and we also recognise that specific interventions can be necessary in addressing bullying behaviours.
Effective bullying prevention requires a multi-pronged effort. School staff need to have appropriate policies and procedures in place and need to know the right way to work with students involved in bullying. But another critically important part of tackling the problem is focusing on developing the social-emotional skills of children. These skills enable children to be socially competent citizens within the school environment and help build an overall positive climate within the school. Attention to these skills will support the development of healthier, happier children who are ready to learn and contribute to a safer environment.
The Second Step® Bullying Prevention Unit used in conjunction with the Second Step® Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Program is a comprehensive solution for students and all staff to prevent bullying.
The Second Step® SEL Program is an evidence-based universal curriculum designed to increase student school success and decrease challenging behaviours by promoting social-emotional competence and self-regulation. It teaches skills that strengthen students’ ability to learn, to have empathy, to manage emotions and to solve problems.
It includes easy-to-teach classroom lessons for Early Learning through Grade 8 that enhance students’ social-emotional competence through a focus on building SEL skills. Second Step® SEL focuses on core social-emotional skills that are particularly important for bullying prevention, including empathy, emotion management, and social problem solving. In addition, embedded within these lessons are topics such as friendship building and how to be assertive, which are also key skills in bullying prevention. The program targets key risk and protective factors linked to a range of problem behaviours, including bullying. Equipping students with these skills creates a safer, more respectful learning environment that promotes school success for all.
In addition to SEL, bullying prevention requires addressing the school and classroom environment, educating students and staff about bullying, teaching students and staff how to respond effectively to bullying, and changing student and staff norms about bullying. To address these elements, we also offer the Second Step® Bullying Prevention Unit, a research-based, comprehensive resource that builds upon the SEL skills taught in the Second Step® program, and includes:
Robust role-based training for ALL staff, how to implement adequate polices and procedures around bullying, as well as how to recognise and respond to incidents of bullying
Lessons that explicitly teach students to recognise, refuse, and report bullying behaviour, and empower bystanders to stand up against bullying
Family resources that extend beyond the lesson and help families distinguish between peer conflict and bullying
Whether you're a parent, teacher, student or member of the broader community, everyone has a role to play in preventing bullying.
Positive Pieces Education is the Australian and New Zealand publisher of the Second Step social-emotional learning program. Learn more