Martin Ruzicka has been working as a lecturer in the Litoměřice region already for seven years. During this time he has built stable cooperation with local schools and apart from that he is also constantly improving and adjusting his programs.
It was therefore with curiosity when we went to see his four-hour program about bullying which is intended for 6th grades of elementary schools. Through this program, Martin wants to help children improve the environment within their classroom group. At the same time he wants to make the pupils aware of some causes and the first symptoms that something wrong is going on within a group.
In the first part of the program the children divide into small groups and then they perform various activities and group tasks. Each activity is followed by a reflection when Martin discusses with them how they felt during the activities, who and how assumed leadership, and how each of them felt. Each child has an opportunity to speak their opinion. The lecturer also points out if some behaviour was not appropriate and explains why.
The children can see in a practical way that not only leader-type personalities are important in the group, but that those who come up with ideas or who help to consolidate the team and draw closer those who are on the margins are just as important. The principal message shared here is: “Do not think that you are safe when you are liked or that you are free to ridicule those who do not fit into the group. Several years later in a different class it could be you who becomes marginalized and needs help.”
In the second part of the program we get to speak more about the issue of bullying – why and how it occurs and how to deal with it. Children can think about what the victim as well as the aggressor feel and what those who watch bullying experience. Short videos about real cases of bullying show that violence has various forms which at the beginning seem completely harmless.
Children correctly identify where the fun ends and where the violence begins: when the other person stops thinking it is funny.
We believe that this program is a good prevention against bullying. Children can become aware of important principles of good relationships: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.”
Eliska Zeiskova, the Healthy Youth Program Coordinator