Earlston pupils tackle internet bullying in dramatic fashion

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Earlston Primary pupils created a bit of a drama over online bullying this week, sharing what they learned in the classroom with other pupils and parents – via the internet.

With many schools finding internet safety a problem for children, pupils from Earlston, with the help of Borders Youth Theatre’s David and Ollie Bisset, decided to get to grips with the problem, producing a series of sketches to help them, and other youngsters, deal with the issues.

David, a former deputy head teacher at Jedburgh Grammar, said on Tuesday morning: “Lots has been done on internet safety before, but it’s still a problem for children – knowing what to do and what not to do. We use drama to help the youngsters gain confidence, teach them how to say no, and to identify when the internet is safe and not safe to use, as well as ways to get themselves out of situations.”

This week’s project culminated in a live, interactive internet broadcast on Tuesday, via GLOW, the world’s first national intranet for education – with comments coming in from schools across the country as the scenes unfolded.

David continued: “The children have made up different sketches, looking at text bullying, Facebook, and other scenarios, which we’ve rehearsed this week, although they haven’t been scripted as such. We will perform them live in front of the web cameras later this afternoon, when schools across the country will be able to comment and suggest how they think where the scene should go next, and the drama will evolve from this, with some improvisation from the pupils!

“The children are more involved with the subject when it is approached through drama, and BYT can help schools and teachers with similar projects.

“This is not the first time we’ve worked with Earlston. But it’s harder for schools now that money is so tight, so we don’t do as much in schools anymore.

“However, this is a good way to spend the money they have, as using the internet in this way means it gets to a wider audience.”