Tag Archives: York University

Attend an amazing bullying prevention conference by PREVnet

Prevnet Bullying Prevention ConferenceYesterday I attended the annual anti-bullying conference in Toronto sponsored by PREVnet. The theme of this years’ conference was “creating healthy relationships to prevent bullying: get the tools to take action”. This years’ conference was the sixth annual anti-bullying conference put on by PREVnet. Dr. Wendy Craig (Queen’s University) and Dr. Deborah Pepler (York University) offered the welcoming address followed by a performance of “You You Have the Power” by Disney performer Jasmine Richards. Her performance included an excellent video to support the lyrics of the song.

Bullying Prevention Conference Toronto 2012

Jasmine Richards

The keynote address was called “Sex, Gender and Schools Oh My!” Presented by Ken Jeffers, co-ordinator, gender-based violence prevention, Toronto District School Board.
Ken Jeffers talked about changing school climates using rules and consequences to change individual actions. He talked about the umbrella of oppression which includes sexism and homophobia. One of Ken Jeffers points was that gender and biological sex is often assumed to be the same, even though this is sometimes far from the truth. He talked about Bill 13 and the media frenzy which has gone along with it as well as Bill 157, the education amendment act from 2009. What do you Ken concluded his presentation with the statement that “the number one key to success is our students”.

Bonnie Leadbeater, of Victoria British Columbia, spoke about making a WITS Bullying Prevention Conferencedifference in your community by becoming a WITS community leader.

Wits stands for :
Walk Away
Talk It Out
Seek Help

These four pieces of advice are recommended for students in Kindergarten to Grade 3.

Children in grades 4-8 are encouraged to solve problems by using the LEADS acronym:
Look and Listen
Explore Points of View
Did It Work?
Seek Help

Dr. Shelley Hymel, from the university of British Columbia spoke about Social and Emotional Learning in Schools. Traditionally, schools have focused on cognitive development and academic achievement yet recent students are indicating that social and emotional growth have a more important role than previously believed.
Her talk was detailed and informative and we learned specific ways to nurture Social Emotional Learning (SEL) such as using books as discussion starters and encouraging cooperative learning in the classroom.
Dr. Hymel also pointed out that punitive discipline is often much less effective than restorative discipline. She told us about an excellent system of discipline called Restitution Self-Discipline, developed by Diane Gossen of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I will definitely be checking out Diane’s material.

Justin W. Patchin, PH. D. from the University of Wisconsin’s Cyberbullying Research Center was also an excellent speaker I had the opportunity to hear.
His presentation covered how young people use and misuse technology to sometimes cause harm to their peers. He discussed the role of teens and adults in preventing and responding to inappropriate online behaviours as well as strategies to use to make sure technology is used safely and responsibly.  He talked about Toronto area student, David Knight and how difficult it was for his family to have an inappropriate website taken down. Dr. Patchin told us that lack of supervision of youth on-line causes many problems, as well as parents allowing children to have internet enabled computers in their bedrooms.
He said many schools treat cell phones like underwear: we know it’s there, but we just don’t want to see it.
Dr. Patchin’s talk was informative, easy to follow and included a large amount of up-to-date information about young people use of the internet and cell phones.

The 2012 PREVnet conference was once again an excellent opportunity to learn about recent research which has taken place on the topic of bullying prevention.

Thanks PREVnet!

Bruce Langford is an anti-bullying advocate from Ontario, Canada.

Learn How Self-Regulation and Bullying are Directly Related

Mississauga Living Arts CentreI am returning from an excellent conference on self-regulation by Stuart Shankar and Jane Bertrand of York University in Toronto, held at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre and sponsored by the Peel Region District School Board. This was the twenty-fourth annual school psychology conference which the PSB has sponsored.
Self-regulation is closely related to the topic of bullying. Self-regulation is about stress and about identifying stressors so you can do something about them. Replace them or change something so that you are no longer stressed. Dr. Shankar emphasized that self-regulation is NOT self-control; it is what makes self-control possible.

Question: How does a child get self-regulated?
Answer: A child gets self-regulated by being regulated.

As teachers, we want our children to be calm so they will be focused and alert. Dr. Shankar really helped me to understand how stressors can affect children and youth negatively and as a result they can have a tough time learning or even functioning in a classroom.
Shankar and Bertrand presented the Five Domains of Self-Regulation. They are: 1/ Arousal Regulation (Physiological)
2/ Emotion
3/ Cognitive
4/ Social
5/ Pro-social

The above five self-regulation domains are all related. One level affects another. People are hyper or hypo sensitive to many things such as bright lighting, visual stimulation or auditory distractions. Auditory distractions are the single greatest stressor so it is important to consider ambient noise, chair clatter and bells or buzzers. These can all have a negative effect on students and their ability to cope in the classroom or their ability to learn effectively.

One segment of the presentation dealt with the teen brain. In teenage years, the brain is driven into cycles of restlessness and exhaustion and in most cases teens are not able to identify their own state of arousal. In other words, they may not realize they are tired or be able to recognize some of their other body states.
Here are the 6 Stages of Arousal as described by Dr. Shankar:
1/ Asleep 2/ Drowsy 3/ Hypo-alert 4/ Calmly focused & alert 5/ Hyper-alert 6/ Flooded
If a teen is constantly being stimulated (for example with TV or video games or skateboarding etc.), then they may be headed for difficulties unless they have a good level of awareness of their own bodies. Teens are natural risk-takers because of the state of the teenage brain, but we need to understand that planful risk-taking is much less likely to get a teen into trouble. Shankar says we need to teach teens their six levels of awareness so they can learn self-regulation.

Jane Bertrand taught us seven keys to a self-regulated classroom. They are:
1/ Classroom makeover (pastel walls with little clutter)
2/ Alert programme
3/ Exercise breaks
4/ Fidgit toys
5/ Playing with clay or modeling medium
6/ Womb room (Snoezelen room)
7/ Yoga

So much fascinating information on the brain and self-regulation. Thanks to you both, Stuart Shanker and Jane Bertrand and to the Peel School Board for sponsoring the event.

Bruce Langford is an anti-bullying advocate who presents bullying prevention workshops in Toronto, Mississauga, North York, Kitchener and London Ontario. www.standupnow.ca telephone: 905-233-2102