ENABLE fosters tolerance and mutual respect as an antidote to bullying

A meeting in Zagreb under the patronage of Croatian President Mrs Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović brought together experts, teachers and youth from more than a dozen countries worldwide last week. The event was supported by the European Commission and leading European and international institutions, including the Council of Europe, Ministries of Education and Ombudsmen from across the EU, as well as leading players from industry.

Social and emotional skill development is showing far reaching results in combatting bullying. Assessment results of the two-year ENABLE project show that pupils having taken part in the ENABLE social and emotional learning (SEL) course are more likely to report aggressive behaviour, and that teachers have a deeper understanding of bullying and are better able to handle such incidents in class. Pupils show an increased value for self-control, understanding and differentiating their own emotions and those of others (empathy), and problem solving. Teachers report a more friendly school climate in general, with more amicable peer relations and solidarity among students. These and other findings were discussed in Zagreb last week, at the final conference of this EU-funded project. Discussions were nevertheless firmly focused on the future, with a number of countries including Hungary, Portugal, Italy and Cyprus also expressing interest in integrating ENABLE resources in their own schools.
Five founding member countries – Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Greece and the United Kingdom – have contributed to the development and implementation of the ENABLE resources. Schools in Romania subsequently joined the project and, in less than two years, more than 8,000 pupils aged between 11 and 14, and 530 teachers in 127 schools have participated in ENABLE activities integrated across school curricula. In the UK, Denmark, Greece, Belgium and Croatia, young people increased their empathy and self-esteem through social and emotional learning (SEL) modules that were integrated into curricula. Croatia is just at the start of its ENABLE journey, yet already more than 300 teachers from 68 schools are involved in the project and will continue with it in the new school year.  
Leading researchers and experts from across the world have contributed to the development of materials that are free and available online so that every school can also implement a holistic and sustainable approach that involves students, teachers and parents or carers. Resources include a shortly-to-be published book entitled 'Bullying – Perspectives, Practices and Insights', which takes readers on a journey across the world to see how widely ranging countries… and industry… are tackling bullying, especially for children and youth who are physically or socially more vulnerable and hence an easy target for taunting.
Another highlight of the project has been the close partnership with associate partners from industry by building links, for example, with Vodafone's Be Strong campaign, Facebook's and ASKfm's ongoing work against bullying, the Growing Up Online research from Kaspersky Lab, and now Instagram's most recent innovation which enables young users to filter the comments they receive on their profile page.
"Children can only develop their knowledge and skills, and their full potential as active citizens in an environment where they feel safe, both physically and emotionally. One of the main goals of ENABLE is to foster tolerance and mutual respect among pupils, reducing hate speech and bullying through a holistic approach that involves both the school and the family, and also the social and media industries that play such a big role in children's lives,"  said Janice Richardson, ENABLE project manager and Senior Adviser at European Schoolnet.
Media contacts:
Ruzica Ilak, Maksima komunikacije for ENABLE, +385 91 1198 186 (mobile); press@maksima.hr.
Contact ENABLE: janice.richardson@eun.org, +324 840 57513.
ENABLE (European Network Against Bullying in Learning and Leisure Environments) is an EU co-funded project to combat bullying and contribute to the wellbeing of young people through their social and emotional development. The objective is to empower and inform young people, using proven holistic approaches and innovative resources, to monitor and reflect on their own behaviour and deepen their understanding of its impact on others.
ENABLE is coordinated by European Schoolnet (EUN), a not-for profit consortium of 31 Ministries of Education, and implemented by all six core partners in five countries across the European Union. Each partner has complementary expertise and is highly active and committed in the fight against violence and bullying among young people: the Centre for Digitale Paedagogik (Denmark), the Princess Diana Awards (UK), the South West Grid for Learning (UK), Partners in Learning (Croatia), For Adolescent Health (Greece) and European Schoolnet (Belgium). The associate industry partners are ASKfm, Facebook, Kaspersky Lab, Twitter and Vodafone.

More at http://enable.eun.org/news.

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