Multi-modal approaches to bullying


Since late last year SWGfL have been involved in a project with the European Commission DG Justice to develop an approach to bullying that shifts from the linear perpetrator/victim to understanding and influencing the wider social dynamic around these incidents. The project focuses on developing the emotional intelligence of students (in this pilot 12-14 year olds) to verbalise, challenge, rationalise and intervene effectively when conflict arises through, amongst other things,  SEL teaching and peer support programmes.

The project has very ambitious and aspirational objectives in curating current research and best practice to ultimately shape a more positive whole school and wider social climate; no mean feat. Part of that philosophy is the devolvement of the strategy across the whole school; all staff; all of the curriculum; students and the wider community.

The materials will be released (for free) in the New Year after an Autumn pilot; a set of 10 lessons; peer support implementation and resources; research summary and an implementation toolkit. Details can be found at

Part of the approach is around how opportunities for expression, communication and discussion around these issues could capitalise on learning and techniques in other areas of the curriculum beyond the anticipated PHSE focus. It was an interesting challenge to explore how other multi-modal forms could act as a platform anti-bullying and the following list is a first attempt at rationalising some of those first thoughts.

I hope it is of some use.

ENABLE Multi-modal Activities


Whilst the lessons themselves consist of structured activities, there are additional supporting activities that are both cross-curricular in approach and take advantage of a variety of media.

The multi-modal approach encourages a range of benefits:

  • Opportunities for reinforcing behavioural strategies across the broader curriculum
  • Broadens ownership of ENABLE across a wider staff and student body
  • Provides a variety of routes for students to express their emotional interpretations
  • Opportunities for staff to capitalise on their own individual strengths and expertise
  • Encourages a wide range of publishing platforms for students to communicate or celebrate their messages or achievement
  • Reinforces emotional interpretation through a variety of media

The list below provides a non-definitive range of opportunities that staff may wish to explore to reinforce the ENABLE lesson content.



  • Exploring authors who have written about emotion, trauma or resolution
  • Poetry that expresses an emotional response to conflict


  • Newspaper reports; writing in an investigative journalist style on an imaginary or real bullying incident that draws information, quotes and opinions from the people involved
  • Example of a newspaper generator at

Police reports


Recounts of the same bullying incident based on role and perspective. Clear focus on opinion and how some of these roles may recount the incident.

  • Perpetrator
  • Victim
  • Joker
  • Follower
  • Conscience
  • Observer


Writing in a persuasive style to encourage change which could include:

  • Making the case for a better school climate
  • Persuading a non-participant to become an active agent for change
  • Persuading a perpetrator to change their ways

Non-chronological writing

Create an information leaflet/pamphlet on anti-bullying strategies with multiple contributions from the group. It could have a generic, country or school focus.

Information article on some of the key aspects of Emotional Intelligence and how it might impact on bullying

Writing frames and structures can be found at


  • Create short scenarios based on bullying incidents and share/publish with the wider group.
  • Storyboard or enact scenarios you have created.
  • Write a story in a fable genre whose message/moral reinforces an ENABLE strategy.
  • Writing frames and advice on fable writing can be found on this Pinterest page


Poetry can offer a range of alternative avenues for expression that formal prose cannot. Some ideas and forms are listed below:


  • Wordwall
  • Wordbanks




Comparison of different countries and incidents, pattern etc

  • Statistics
  • Legal perspectives
  • Culture

Mapping different approaches in other partner countries

Barriers to progress in a global village

  • Environments online are global
  • How does culture affect resolution?


Abstract composition


Accompaniment. Using prepared backing tracks to sing lyrics over. (Karaoke tracks can be found on many music streaming sites that will have free trial accounts eg Spotify)


Structured musical pieces

For those students studying music or with musical ability, their own use of instruments and playing styles often offers additional opportunities for expression beyond the written.

For those students needing support there are many online composition tools that produce excellent results. Examples are:


  • Examples that reflect different emotions
  • Examples that relay important messages
  • Soundtrack choice for other activities
  • Examples that affect mood in a classroom (background music)



  • Web Research
  • Academic articles
  • Comparative sources
  • Organisation websites
  • Expert groups
  • Personal websites

Press and media

  • Examples to deconstruct for scenarios
  • Examining press bias and or opinion


Social Media provides an excellent platform to share and publish ideas or to celebrate achievement through a whole variety of forms that includes:

Mindmapping is an effective medium for gathering ideas and forming and structuring strategies. Online collaborative mindmap programs allow a large number of people to contribute to the same map at once. Some examples are:

Collaborative writing and discussion can be also effective using the Google App suite of tools which can be found at


Online tools provide a whole host of environments and media to express ideas. These include:

Presentation technologies


Video broadcasting


Digital images

Social Media Streams


Well-being apps



Film TV and Media as examples are a powerful medium to illustrate a wider range of emotions. Some sources may be found at:


  • Short plays
  • Vignettes   
  • Playscripts
  • Tableau and active drama


  • Exploration of issues
  • Practising effective strategies



  • Examples of classic or modern art pieces that express particular emotions
  • Grouping existing art pieces around a common theme

Sources of modern and classical art can be found at:



Exploring colour and abstract form in relation to emotion



Modern Languages



  • Nuance and meaning
  • Identifying issues


Measuring success





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