Teacher journal archive (2008-2011)

Article Title

Bullying in schools : lessons from Scandinavia


If Australian educators are serious about addressing a major transformation in the education, as well as addressing bullying, they might learn something from the Swedish experience. In 2000 at the primary school in Strängnäs, teacher Ulla Janssen began integrating into her classroom a model that deals with change, with what happens with people and organisations in transition, and with how they can influence the change process by taking responsibility for their emotions and actions. Called the Four Rooms of Change, the model was developed by Swedish psychologist Claes Janssen. The power of the model lies both in its simplicity and in its depth. At the school the goal was to create a common language to enable Years 2 and 3 students to explore and communicate their own feelings and develop emotional self-awareness, self-management and ultimately empathy for others as a way to enable them to change the ways they dealt with bullying at the school. Instead of using words like contentment, denial, confusion and renewal, Janssen used four pictures of rooms that had been used by Ikea; children were asked to put their personalised magnets on a room depending on how they were feeling at that moment. They moved their magnets from day to day and soon began noticing where others' magnets had been placed and began to talk about the activity. The results have been extraordinary: bullying has completely disappeared from the school and now other schools across Sweden are introducing the tools. [Author abstract, ed]

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