Ey, Lesley-anne, & Barbara Spears (2020, July). Engaging early childhood teachers in participatory co-design workshops to educate young children about bullying. Pastoral Care in Education: An International Journal of Personal, Social and Emotional Development. (ePub in advance of print) (doi: 10.1080/02643944.2020.1788129) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/02643944.2020.1788129)

Abstract: Children involved in bullying are vulnerable to social, physiological, psychological, educational, behavioural, and adjustment problems which can persist into adulthood. In Australia, formal education about bullying is not introduced until year four (age 9), making pastoral care and addressing bullying in junior primary (ages 4–8) the responsibility of early childhood teachers. This study employed a participatory co-design framework with 12 South Australian early childhood teachers to co-design and implement a tailored bullying education/prevention program, informed by students’ understanding of bullying. Co-design methods included small group interviews, discussion, and modified Q sort techniques to support teachers in identifying and defining the magnitude of the problem; determining why it occurs and; designing a contextualised intervention. A test–retest quasi experimental design/evaluation framework was developed to explore the co-design and program implementation processes. All teachers (N=12) reported the co-design process was enjoyable, energizing, and engaging/informative and would use their new skills to modify and implement their program with future classes. Teachers reported children were highly engaged during implementation. Children’s responses (N=99) post-intervention showed significant improvement in their understanding when describing bullying. Strengths and limitations of employing co-design processes to develop tailored educational programs are discussed.

Lesley-anne Ey <leslie-anne.ey@unisa.edu.au> is in the Centre for Research in Education, University of South Australia, Adelaide, AU.

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