Coosje Griffiths

Trained teacher and a registered psychologist

Career highlights

  • awarded a Churchill Fellowship to further research effective practices to counter bullying in schools internationally (UK, Norway, Canada and the USA).
  • inaugural member of the national Safe and Supportive Schools Committee managing the Bullying! No Way.; contributor to the development of MindMatters and the national Safe Schools framework;
  • translates research into practical application for schools and has developed a range of professional development materials for schools;
  • provides professional development, keynotes and workshops nationally, internationally and state-wide including the UK, USA, Canada, Europe, China and India;
  • active member of the International School Psychology Association including as past General Secretary, the Australian Psychologists and Counsellors Association national executive committee as well as the School Psychologists’ Association of Western Australia;
  • contributes regularly to research, including the evaluative study of the Method of Shared Concern with Prof. Ken Rigby; chapter with Prof. Kate Eklund (2017) on systems-change in schools: class and school-wide approaches to behavioural and academic needs; and chapter with Prof. Ken Rigby (2017) on addressing traditional school-based bullying more effectively in a book on reducing cyberbullying in schools.

Coosje is currently working as Manager Complex Learning and Wellbeing for Statewide Services in Western Australia.

Question and answer

Why is the issue of bullying of particular interest to you?
My understanding of the impact of bullying started when a whole class was referred to me (in the role of school psychologist) for peer relationship issues.  This led to a whole class approach exploring issues such as teasing and bullying, with students coming up with solutions.  The improvement in student behaviour and wellbeing was transformative and highlighted the hidden nature of bullying and the power of the peer group and bystander.  Since that time, I have had the opportunity to work collaboratively with school, support staff and researchers to make schools a safer place for students by providing whole-school approaches with strategies that work at the  preventative and early intervention levels as well as effective responses to bullying incidents.

Where do you believe you have made a difference in your field?
I have had the opportunity to influence researchers and educators in using strength-based approaches based on the best evidence available using people first language where all students are respected.  These approaches are about changing behaviour and restoring relationships as against punitive methods.

How does your area of expertise help you to contribute to NCAB?
My background in education as a teacher, school psychologist, student services manager then as state-wide manager has provided extensive developing strategic directions in the area of students wellbeing, social and emotional learning, behaviour, bullying and cyber bullying.

It has provided me with a deep understanding of change management in the school context at various levels- systems and the whole school community.

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