Using drama to defeat bullying

The first workshops were opened to Australian Islamic College students on April 8 and 9, with Kewdale Primary School soon to follow.

Belmont City College has also shown interest with a targeted group of students.

Workshops include discussion, communication exercises, role-play, improvisation, tableaux and forum theatre, City of Belmont chief executive Stuart Cole said.

‘The objective of the bullying workshops is to encourage active participation from young people to aid their ability to recognise bullying and improve their confidence and skills to address bullying in their environment,’ he said.

‘Drama is an excellent tool for young people to participate and engage with issues such as bullying.

‘Young people respond positively to the opportunity to tell their own stories; however they do not always have the vocabulary to describe what is happening to them or a fellow student.

‘Through drama they can show what is happening as they do not have to find the ‘right’ words.’

Mr Cole said although the workshops were an hour long, they allowed youth workers to open conversations with students that could be continued, either with youth workers or teachers at a later date.

Travel to the workshops has been a barrier for some students who live far from the Australian Islamic College and the YMCA is looking at ways to address this, having recently bought a minibus with a Lotterywest grant which the City of Belmont Youth Centre also has access to.

‘Other more practical avenues for addressing this barrier are also being considered,’ Mr Cole said.

‘The YMCA has received feedback from AIC students that they may be more inclined to participate if they were offered at their school rather than at the centre.’

The survey was done in term 4, 2013.