Stories of Us: Cyber-bullying Intervention & EducationClassroom Program (Middle School)
A seven-school regional cyber-bullying education and intervention program in northern Adelaide, South Australia.
“…adults and young people were highly supportive of the program… (it) increased students’ awareness of the consequences of cyberbullying, particularly the emotional and criminal possibilities, and the students had learnt skills, knowledge and tools…”
Dr Barbara Spears, Associate Professor, School of Education, UniSA
A multi-school, 10 lesson cyber-bullying education and intervention program conducted on-site by the Readymade team, with on-going peer-to-peer activities and optional community events.
The aim of this program wss to create a regional cyber-bullying prevention initiative centred on the development and presentation of films made by students. The goal of creating their films engaged the students and provided a framework for their journey – a process which educated and empowered them to stand together in addressing cyber-bullying. And the final films can be used as the centre-piece of school-wide and community education initiatives.
As they researched and developed their films, the students:
- Honestly reflected upon their social environment and the consequences of negative behaviour;
- Explored the dynamics of peer relationships and the critical role of bystanders;
- Examined legal implications, rights and responsibilities;
- Explored the options for alternative positive behaviour, and how to realistically address problems as they arise;
- Developed social skills they could employ in addressing cyber-bullying and associated peer relationship problems, including assertive communication and managing emotions;
- And established safe rules of use for social media, texting and other forms of cyber communication.
In the final stage of the program the students took the lead, using their films to educate others with peer-to-peer and community activities, laying the groundwork for a region-wide campaign.
The Cyber-bullying Intervention & Education program was developed by Stories of Us creator Christopher Faull in collaboration with leading cyber-bullying specialist Dr Barbara Spears from the University of South Australia, with the support of SA Police, the Town of Gawler and the SA Attorney-General’s Department.
Cyber-bullying is a student peer relationship problem. They hold the key to the solution. Combining cyber-bullying education with filmmaking, the program was designed to deeply engage students in a collective activity, providing support and instruction whilst empowering them to come together in building a healthy social environment and reducing bullying and harassment in our schools.
The regional program was designed for clusters of 4-8 schools, each involving one class of students – typically Year 7-8, but also suitable for older and younger students.
Staff Support & Resource Requirements
No specialist staff experience was required. The program was conducted on-site by Readymade’s team, supported by school staff (providing assistance and duty of care).
Minimum filmmaking equipment was required. At its most basic, students can filmed their scenes with iPads or small digital cameras, and most school computers has some form of basic video editing software.
Working in groups, the students were guided through the Stories of Us method as they developed and made their own short films. However, whilst this interdisciplinary approach combined filmmaking and student wellbeing, the focus wss very much upon the latter.
The program begins with the students completing an extensive questionnaire as they research their current understanding of cyber-bullying. (These drafts can be used as a “pre” survey for those interested in evaluating the impact of the program.)
We then expand their understanding by outlining the facts about cyber-bullying including definition and examples, peer relationship dynamics, legal and emotional consequences, and what can be done to address the problem. Armed with this additional information, the students update their questionnaires.
These questionnaires form the basis of the films they will develop. Each group of students will be responsible for producing one section of the film – each corresponding with a different section of the questionnaire.
Throughout the program, students are provided with a number of information handouts, as well as working documents such as templates for developing their scripts and planning their filming schedules.
Once their film sections are completed and assembled to form the class’s finished film, the students explore effective ways to use their film for peer-to-peer activities – establishing a wider campaign, helping reduce cyber-bullying by educating and building empathy, resilience and social cohesion.
The final films can also be used as the centre-piece of community education initiatives.
Below are two examples of the videos produced by students as part of the program.