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New school programme aims to beat the bullies

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Pupils performing at Claddagh National School as children and staff staged a special welcoming show for French, Spanish and Italian teachers and students visiting as part of the Comenius European Schools Partnership. There are 42 different nationalities represented among the Galway school's 350 pupils.

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy hears how one Galway school is spearheading an initiative geared towards eliminating bullying

With Spring in the air, March is an ideal time for an anti-bullying campaign, according to principal of the City’s Claddagh National School, Michael Gallagher, referring to the campaign being run by the Irish Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

The ISPCC has designated March as Anti-bullying Month, and taking part invigorates staff and pupils, and gets parents involved in school life, while raising awareness about how to combat this insidious activity, says Michael.

Claddagh NS was one of the first schools in Galway to embrace Anti-Bullying Month, an initiative that has been run by ISPCC since 2012, explains Sandy Duong, an Advocacy Volunteer with the group.

Bullying can take several forms, according to Sandy – physical, verbal and exclusion – and it’s important to be alert for all three.

As part of this, Childline representatives are visiting schools throughout March, giving talks and ensuring their bullying policies are up to date.

The organisation also has a toolkit for schools and sports and social groups to help them ensure their bullying policies are up to national standards.

The ISPCC Shield Programme provides schools and community groups with an evaluation process, allowing an organisation to assess its strengths and weaknesses in dealing with bullying.  Once that’s done, there’s a plan of action.

Claddagh National School is open to initiatives such as this. It’s a racially and culturally diverse institution, with some 350 students from 280 families from 42 different nationalities – of all religious persuasions and none.

Principal Michael Gallagher says that giving the children a sense of ownership of the ISPCC anti-bullying programme has been crucial to its success.

And while he cautions that bullying is an ongoing issue, the ISPCC project is helping address the problem.

Last year, to ensure the children’s involvement, staff incorporated the anti-bullying initiative into a school literacy programme, entitled First Steps. This offered a way of getting the pupils’ opinions on a difficult subject.

Children were asked reflective questions, which they took home and discussed with their parents. These included ‘what’s your definition of bullying? What should you do if bullying happens at school? How would you go about telling an adult that it’s happening?

One of the most fascinating findings was the impact of bullying on bystanders, says Michael.

“It’s not only the bullied child who is affected; it’s those around them too.”

Bystanders can experience different emotions – ranging from sympathy towards the person being bullied, to feeling complicit in what’s happening because of staying quiet about it. Acknowledging these emotions helps change behaviour, says Michael.

When the school first took on the ISPCC Shield project last February, it was initially geared at fourth and fifth classes. But “it grew legs”, says Michael, and subsequently involved pupils from second to sixth class. It incorporated other initiatives such as ‘Friendship Week’ where pupils drew a picture of a hand, and listed their friends on it. The sixth-class pupils made two radio programmes on bullying and the ISPCC initiative, which were broadcast in the school and are available online.

Because of these various projects “everyone in the school was aware there was a big, inclusive drive against bullying,” observes Michael. He points out that campaigns like this need to be ongoing to be effective, but says they work.

In addition to the ISPCC’s Shield Programme, Claddagh NS was also selected for a project, run by the international social entrepreneurs’ group Ashoka, which is designed to give children leadership skills. That, too, helps combat bullying.

Not every child will grow up to become a leader, says Michael, but by teaching them communicate with parents, teachers and Special Needs Assistants, you go a long way to addressing issues around bullying.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Living with the ignominy of anonymity on social media

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Technically, I am on Facebook and Twitter, but I can never seem to quite motivate myself to tell all my virtual friends that my dog has overeaten today; that the cat has disappeared again without a word of explanation; or that the neighbour down the road is driving out in a brand-new car.

At times, I imagine that I’m suffering from some type of serious personality disorder because of my failure to get excited about sharing the most boring details of my daily chores with a cohort of people, some of whose names I am familiar with, while others could have no possible connection to my existence on this planet.

Mind you, I bear no animosity towards those people who want to befriend me via the world of fibre optics and instant communication from any part of the globe, but neither do I harbour any great desire to start up conversations about the banalities of life.

It really is bad enough to have to endure and survive those tribulations every day without having to trouble my newly-acquired set of friends – that I don’t know – with the details of how good or bad my day has been.

I’m sure that there are super ‘shrinks’ out there who will make a case for the virtue of being able to share your daily woes and wonders with those in the world of cyber space, but a thousand Facebook communications (not that I’ll ever make them) just can never compensate me for a face-to-face interaction with an old friend or even a regular verbal sparring partner in the local watering hole, who can jibe me about some alleged minor transgression on my part over recent times.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Huge study gives thumbs up to dairy in the diet

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Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

Every time I go to a café, I am amazed by the offering now available for people who no longer want to add milk to their brew. Even in the tiniest of coffee kiosks, they stock oat, soy or almond milk as an alternative to cow’s milk, usually for a surcharge of around 50c, reflecting the high cost of these alternatives.

The big food companies have lately got in on the act, offering non-dairy yogurts in the convenient small pots in most supermarkets. Customers no longer have to head to the health store for these premium, specialist products.

The trend to non-dairy and vegan diets – which means no animal products at all – has certainly become mainstream among Generation Z and Millennials.

But is it good for your health?

A comprehensive new study originating in Sweden would suggest otherwise – at least when it comes to the consumption of dairy.

The international team of scientists studied the dairy fat consumption of 4,150 adults aged 60 living in Sweden which has the world’s highest levels of dairy production and consumption.

They measured blood levels of a particular fatty acid that is mostly found in dairy foods rather than relying on people recording the amounts and types of dairy foods eaten, which may be unreliable given that dairy is commonly used in a variety of foods.

Experts then followed this group for an average of 16 years to observe how many died, had heart attacks, strokes and other conditions indicating cardiovascular disease (CVD). After statistically adjusting for other known CVD risk factors such as age, income, lifestyle, dietary habits, they concluded that those with higher intakes of dairy fat had a lower risk of CVD compared to those with low intakes.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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At the official opening of the new tile factory in Portumna on January 13, 1967.

1921

Tenants’ desperation

That the land question is far from settled in certain areas is obvious to those who have been reading the series of articles contributed to these columns by a correspondent in South Galway. The slowness of the Congested Districts Board has been proverbial.

Our correspondent suggests that failure to effect local settlements within a reasonable time, coupled with the inefficiency he charges, have brought about a condition of discontent which may result in a violent explosion at any moment.

No one could contemplate with equanimity such an outburst, for it might have an effect far beyond that intended and might endanger national peace at a period when its preservation is of supreme moment to the Irish people.

But it would seem indisputable that the Congested Districts Board is taking risks that no public body is entitled to take; and the completion of the division of the estates involved should be pushed forward in the public interest without further unnecessary delay.

The tenants on the Ardilaun estate at Cong have already taken the matter into their own hands. At a meeting attended by congests, some of whom walked fifteen miles to be present, it was declared that all confidence had been lost in the Congested Districts Board “which has long since practically ceased to function on this estate” and the tenants requested Dáil Éireann to take over the administration.

The facts in regard to the Ardilaun property are sufficiently remarkable to afford in themselves a damnatory criticism of the Board’s methods. It contains seven hundred householders, whose average valuation is from 15s. to £3. Congestion and poverty is abound; there is little untenanted land to relieve either.

Migration of bodies of tenants is the only real and permanent remedy. But nine years after the late Lord Ardilaun expressed his desire to sell, the Congested Districts Board has not, it would appear, put forward any real effort to relieve a distressing situation.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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