A Blueprint for Disarming Schoolyard Bullies

The University of New Hampshire has taken center stage recently for their ongoing commitment to bullying prevention. Two articles appeared this week, the first of which takes a detailed look at the Courage to Care program, developed by university researchers, and the second article (excerpt below) focuses on the active implementation of this program through training sessions with middle school teachers in the New Hampshire area. The Courage to Care program focuses on developing kindness and empathy toward others as well as teaching kids about civility in the online world in the hope of lessening the prevalence of cyberbullying. Students participate for one hour a week for a total of nine weeks while in the Courage to Care program. Early results suggest a significant change in student behavior.

Long term change in student behavior takes consistent effort. Creating a sustained change in school culture requires buy-in from students, staff and administration. The Courage to Care program has schools moving in a forward direction. My concern with the program comes from its short duration. Nine weeks may be a sufficient amount of time to spark change. I’m curious as to the what the program provides in the weeks following the initial training. Look for more news about the Courage to Care program on the Sprigeo online bully reporting site in the months to come. The University of New Hampshire could be a game changer in schools this year.

Article excerpt:

DURHAM – This week a new group of teachers and counselors from across New England will participate in the first of many workshops aimed at undoing the urge toward bullying among middle schoolers.

Courage to Care Leadership Institutes will be offered simultaneously around the country to certify educators in using the Courage to Care program. The program has drawn interest from educators across the nation, and trainings are also in the works in Kentucky, Kansas, and Missouri.  A second New Hampshire training will be offered in mid-October. Four hours of UNH graduate and undergraduate credit are being offered by the UNH Department of Education.

“In 30 years of research on youth violence and peer meanness, this is the most promising program I have ever been involved with,” said Malcolm Smith, co-director of the project. “We are definitely on the road to tackling the bullying epidemic. Our next challenge will be to develop similar programs for pre-schoolers and college students. We believe we are really on to something here.”

Read more…


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