The ENABLE 2 ACT conference marks the end of the project and celebrates its success
The ENABLE 2 Act conference, held last week in Zagreb under the patronage of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, brought together experts, teachers, and youth from more than a dozen countries from Europe and beyond.
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. It was also supported by leading stakeholders from industry.
Social and emotional skill development has proven to be integral to the combat against bullying. Assessment results of the 2-year-long ENABLE project show that pupils who have taken part in the ENABLE Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) training are more likely to report aggressive behaviour. They also show that these pupils have acquired an increased level of self-control, improved problem-solving skills, and an ability to understand better and differentiate their own emotions from those of others (empathy). The findings reveal that teachers who have been involved in the ENABLE project have acquired deeper understanding of bullying and are better prepared to handle bullying incidents in class. These teachers report a more friendly school climate in general, with more amicable peer relations and solidarity amongst students. These are just some of the findings that were discussed during the conference.
Five founding member countries – Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Greece and the United Kingdom – have contributed to the development and roll out of the ENABLE resources, which are available on the ENABLE site for free. A number of schools in Romania have also joined the project. In less than two years, more than 8000 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 have increased their empathy and self-esteem through Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) modules that have been integrated into curricula. Croatia is just at the start of its ENABLE journey, yet more than 300 teachers from 68 schools are already involved in the project and will continue with it in the new school year. A number of countries including Hungary, Portugal, Italy and Cyprus have also expressed interest in integrating ENABLE resources in their own school curricula in the future.
The ENABLE resource pack includes a range of resources designed for teachers, students and parents. It also includes a soon-to-be published book entitled “Bullying – Perspectives, Practices and Insights”, which takes readers on a journey across the world to show them how bullying is dealt with in different countries and environments, especially in cases involving children and youth who are physically or socially more vulnerable and hence, are an easy target of bullying.
Another highlight of the ENABLE project has been the collaboration with associate partners from industry. ENABLE has established links with Vodafone’s Be Strong campaign, Facebook’s and Askfm’s ongoing work against bullying, the Growing Up Online research from Kaspersky Lab, and most recently, Instagram’s latest 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.