In this digitally driven world, it is important to address topics such as cyberbullying in the classroom. Children must learn about the risks of social media. This is a topic which has had much exposure this year (see, for example: http://www.timeslive.co.za/ thetimes/2016/04/04/Cyber-bullyinggetting- worse-than-drug-abuse) and, for this reason, one of the teachers at Elkanah House in Cape Town in the Western Cape, Darren Neethling, decided to launch a related project.
The #CreateNoHate is a campaign originally started by Luke Culhane, a 13-year-old child in Limerick, Ireland. He is a victim of cyberbullying and felt the need to create a video to show the world his pain. Back at our school, Neethling took this to heart and was inspired to create lessons around supporting this campaign. Neethling himself had fallen victim to bullies throughout his entire childhood, and knew there were learners in his classes who must be going through the same thing. Learners were tasked to create a video in aid of this campaign using their iPads.
They needed to be strategic, using multiple camera angles and various scenes to tell a story, with a backing track that would set the mood for a powerful message. The learners did not know this at the time, but Neethling was in communication with Culhane’s father, Dermot. Neethling wanted to share his learners’ messages of support with Luke, who in his turn, created a response video in which he mentioned a few Elkanah House learners’ names and thanked everyone for their contribution in supporting this campaign. Says Neethling, “This stunned my learners because they did not believe they could make a difference, have a voice or take a stand against something that might be currently happening to them or their friends.”
The Think Ahead and iSchool Africa education initiatives launched a competition challenging schools to create videos related to cyberbullying, and Neethling submitted some Elkanah House videos. Robyn Lombaard and Jessica Lombaard’s submission was selected as the winning video, which made both Elkanah House and Neethling very proud! As a school, we will continue to create projects designed to address relevant social problems in our society, with the end goal in mind being to make a difference. We challenge other schools to write a letter to Independent Education explaining how they deal with cyberbullying.
Head: marketing and communications