By Kate Thayer TribLocal reporter
A new class at Roosevelt University in Schaumburg could remedy bullying by instructing prospective teachers and counselors on the best ways to immediately recognize and deal with the problem.
Professor Kristina Peterson teaches the course — Navigating Peace, Exploring Bullying, Conflict and Social Justice Issues in Education — offered to undergraduates and graduate students in education and counseling. The class was offered for the first time last week during a one-week intensive summer session at the Schaumburg campus. It likely will return for the next spring session, according to university officials.
“There’s so much conflict and so much bullying that goes on in a school and in a classroom, that (teachers and counselors) don’t know what to do about it,” Peterson said. “This class teaches two things. First, how to deal with bullying and conflict; and second, it teaches those people who are educators how to teach kids to deal with conflict.”
During the course, students learn how to recognize if someone is hurting or scared, as well as bully intervention techniques. In the final day of the class, students roll played how to stop a bully, and how to deal with the aftermath.Narina Schulz is a counselor studying for her master’s degree. She took the class, in part, because she plans to work with those who are gay, lesbian or transgendered – often the target of bullying, she said.
“This class is amazing,” Schulz said. “A lot of people don’t know how to respond when they see bulling or they see conflict. Learning appropriate ways to respond helps victims.”
Penina Green also took the class as she works toward her master’s in counseling. Green said she sees an increase in bullying, especially due to cyber bullying, and wanted to learn about ways to deal with it. And, Green said, she sees it at all ages, from pre-school to the workplace.
“It’s so prevalent in every part of society,” she said. The lessons learned in class “translates to not just in school, but in different work places.”
If educators have more tools and techniques to address bullying immediately, then ultimately the problem could diminish, Peterson said.
“If we start with giving the educators the tools that they need to teach kids, then you have everybody on board,” Green said.
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