As the new school year kicks off and students start what hopefully will be a less disruptive academic year, some parents may have concerns about their children in a social context.
Also: Listen to the radio interview on KiVa at IIL on World Radio Switzerland.
Bullying among children is not new. What is new and very reassuring is that many schools are finally addressing the problem.
Things to do in Geneva has explored some of the different school policies and were most impressed with the new programme at Institut International de Lancy (IIL).
Chase Jones, a secondary teacher and certified KiVa trainer at IIL explains why the school has chosen to implement this internationally recognised anti-bullying programme in 2020.
What should schools do about bullying?
Addressing bullying should not be limited to only having a procedure in place to deal with incidents, says Mr Jones. It is important to create an inclusive environment where students learn empathy and tolerance as well as resilience to overcome obstacles. As a school, we felt it was essential that every staff member is trained to recognise and handle any situation that could potentially become bullying.
Why has IIL decided to introduce an anti-bullying programme now?
At IIL we have always focused on creating a tolerant environment. Under our new director general, we wanted to find a holistic and fully inclusive programme that also addresses bullying in a preventive way.
Why has IIL chosen KiVa – what are the main characteristics of this approach?
KiVa is a programme that ties together many of the approaches we already use at IIL. The KiVa programme addresses bullying in two ways: Universal actions and Targeted actions.
Universal actions represent the preventative measures integrated in different areas of the school. Depending on age, classroom lessons are dedicated twice a month to learn about emotions, develop empathy, and clearly identify what bullying is and how to help someone who is being bullied. The goal is to move students from being silent witnesses to becoming defenders of students who are being bullied. Other universal actions are directed at adults. All staff members, from kitchen staff to directors have now been trained by our KiVa trainers to enable them to recognise situations and support students.
Target actions are implemented when a bullying incident is reported or suspected. The KiVa Intervention team will meet with the students involved and work with them to help them recognise, address and stop the bullying. A follow up protocol is put in place to ensure the behaviour has been corrected.
Are there any additional resources to support the KiVa programme?
At IIL, we consider the KiVa programme as a base on which other, specific efforts will be added. We will continue our Empathy Workshops for early secondary students and IIL will also be kicking off a collaboration with Amnesty International Switzerland for specific workshops and events.
To find out more about the anti-bullying programme click here