Ottawa Citizen

Teach­ing kind­ness re­duces bul­ly­ing: study

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VAN­COU­VER • New re­search from the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia has found that chil­dren who per­form small acts of kind­ness tend to boost their own hap­pi­ness and that may help coun­ter­act bul­ly­ing.

Some 400 Van­cou­ver ele­men­tary school­child­ren were asked to report on their hap­pi­ness af­ter four weeks of par­tic­i­pat­ing in one of two sce­nar­ios, ac­cord­ing to the study pub­lished Wed­nes­day in the on­line publi­ca­tion PLOS ONE.

One group of the nine- to 11-yearolds were asked by their teach­ers to per­form acts of kind­ness, like shar­ing their lunch or giv­ing their mom a hug if she ap­peared stressed.

The other group was asked to keep track of pleas­ant places they vis­ited, like the play­ground or a grand­par­ent’s house.

While both groups re­ported a boost in hap­pi­ness, the chil­dren who were kind said they wanted to work with a higher num­ber of class­mates on school ac­tiv­i­ties.

Pro­fes­sor Kim­berly Schon­ertRe­ichl says those find­ings mean it’s likely teach­ers can cre­ate a sense of con­nect­ed­ness in the class­room sim­ply by ask­ing stu­dents to think about how they can act kindly to oth­ers, and that can re­duce bul­ly­ing.

“We show that kind­ness has some real ben­e­fits for the per­sonal hap­pi­ness of chil­dren, but also for the class­room com­mu­nity,” said Schon­ert-Re­ichl, a pro­fes­sor in U.B.C.’s fac­ulty of ed­u­ca­tion.

The re­search was con­ducted in part­ner­ship with the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, River­side.

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