4th March 2005 at 00:00
But is it bullying? By Margaret Collins. Paul Chapman Publishing. Pounds 13.99

Based on research into the views of 400 children, this comprehensive book and CD-Rom package is intended for key stage 1 teachers.

It aims to help children develop empathy, based on the premise that if children know how a bullied person feels they are less likely to bully others.

The author offers clear definitions of what constitutes bullying and, just as importantly, what does not - teasing is sometimes fun, but it can become bullying.

The book is in six sections and includes guidance for tackling name calling, teasing, physical bullying, verbal bullying, taking, breaking and threatening, and finally, excluding.

Collins suggests that nagging comments ("You're still doing x" or "Don't do x") are not as effective as positive phrases ("Let's remember to do x").

Exclamations of praise ("Brilliant!") are insufficient.

She also says comments need to be descriptive and personalised. "That's a nice picture, Mary," is not as effective as, "Mary, I like the way you have used those colours."

Each section starts with a poster to stimulate discussion and is followed up with activities and reviews. The CD-Rom includes the posters, worksheets and research activities.

This "no blame" approach is not new but the guidance is clear, practical and teacher-friendly and encapsulates current best primary practice.

Kevin Harcombe

Headteacher, Redlands county primary school, Hampshire

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