The AIM Buddy Project was well represented in two presentations at the 2017 Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Conference in Austin, TX. In attendance were close to 6500 professionals and graduate students in psychology, human development, family studies, education, public policy, sociology, social work, psychiatry, pediatrics, and public health.
“What Matters to Bullies?” was a symposium led by AIM Buddy Project Co-Investigator, Milena Batanova to explore whether the AIM interactive comic “So Funny I Forgot to Laugh” (which focuses on empathy and bullying) made a difference in how students defined “bullying” and to see if student’s definitions related to their reported bullying behavior. The findings showed a significant increase in the complexity of students’ definitions of bullying:
- Before watching the comic with their buddy, many students gave a wrong or simple definition, such as “to make fun of or tease.”
- After students watched the comic, they gave a more complex definition, such as “when someone repeatedly hurt someone by words or hitting.”
- This increase in complexity was not seen in students who reported bullying behaviors both before and after the program. The majority of these students gave a very poor definition of bullying.
This data suggests that, overall, “So Funny I Forgot to Laugh” helped students understand the topic of bullying more deeply.
Tufts Senior Research Coordinator Akira Gutierrez presented, “Partners in Learning: How Researchers can Support the Needs of Teacher Participant-Partners,” a poster that
encouraged attendee interaction and discussion on how researchers can help support schools in implementing programs, conducting research, and applying research findings within their school.
Based on feedback from teachers and researcher observations, some ideas identified that researchers can provide schools with to help them smooth out the implementation of a successful program include:
- Distribute a program roadmap with quick references to different sections of the program
- Strategies to help educators access and organize materials quickly
- Recommendations on selecting times of day for implementing the program
- Planning for logistical challenges (e.g., technology, absences in buddy pairs)
- Appoint a project liaison at the school for real-time troubleshooting and support
Stay tuned for more on the AIM Buddy Project Research Study!