STEPS Professional Development, Child Health Promotion Research Centre, Edith Cowan University
Place of Publication
Perth, Western Australia
Thomas, L., Thompson, S., & Alderman, E.
The Child Health Promotion Research Centre
While bullying behaviour is widespread and harmful in schools, research conducted at the Child Health Promotion Research Centre (CHPRC) at Edith Cowan University and elsewhere11 - 31 suggests bullying behaviour can be reduced. The CHPRC research team's ongoing empirical research, conducted since 1999, has focused primarily on what schools can do to effectively prevent and reduce bullying behaviour.
One of the most effective means to reduce bullying among young people is to enhance their social and emotional understandings and competencies, in developmentally appropriate ways throughout their schooling, using a whole-school approach. Friendly Schools Plus addresses the social and emotional learning of young people, both formally through explicit classroom pedagogy and learning strategies and informally through the development of a whole-school culture, organisation and structures that reinforce and uphold these essential understandings, skills and competencies.
The seven-step Friendly Schools Plus process, described below, is a strengths-based, whole-school participatory process that enables schools to implement current and robust evidence-based policy and practice to enhance social and emotional learning and reduce bullying among school students in accordance with the needs of the school. In particular, Friendly Schools Plus has provided toolkits to assess and augment school staff capacity to recognise, develop and sustain those components of a whole-school approach that support their students' unique social and emotional learning and foster the prevention of bullying behaviour.