I currently offer two distinct bystander intervention classes:
- One is designed for adults: It teaches how to interrupt social aggression among people you know, and how to be prepared to stand up as an active bystander in hate speech and harassment situations with strangers.
- The second is designed for adolescents and adults: It explores the social and emotional factors that encourage you and inhibit you from acting as a bystander. This program is high on emotional safety and does not do role playing.
Bystander Intervention Training for Adults
Part 1: Decisions about Intervention and Verbal Self-Defense.This 2-hour segment teaches techniques for setting respectful limits with someone you work with, someone in your family, or someone you see regularly in your neighborhood. How you respectfully discuss ideas with people you disagree with varies based on your verbal style. We’ll practice ways to maintain your integrity while avoiding an argument with someone you disagree with. This section can be tailored to address workplace bias speech or bias speech with family and friends. By the end of the program, you’ll have some go-to techniques to increase your chances of successful dialogue.
Part 2: Active Bystander Practices. The second 2-hour segment. Given your physical type and presentation, gender, race, social status, geographic location, there are better and worse ways to intervene in a conflict situation. Learn how to identify a circumstance that requires intervention. Learn your go-to interventions. Learn to choose the most effective tactic from your bag of tricks. Practice this with the group.
Bystander Intervention Training can be taught in two 2-hour segments on two occasions or as a single 4-hour program. This program is suitable for adults.
Bystander Intervention for Teens
Bystander Intervention Training for Teens helps participants:
- recognize when they are bystanders
- analyze the situation in which they find themselves
- evaluate the consequences for everyone involved
The class teaches teens how bystanders can interrupt harm-doing and generate positive actions by others. It emphasizes that active bystandership does not mean aggression against the harm-doer. Instead, bystandership means taking responsible action to help people in need, instead of remaining passive and becoming complicit.
This is a tested curriculum, which has been in use for more than ten years, called the TAB program by Quabbin Mediation. It is designed to provide teens (or adults) with the competencies they need when they witness something they feel is unfair, or wrong, or troubling. When people have the tools to create justice in the moment of need, it can transform the community.
Bystander Intervention for Teens is a single 2-hour class. This program discusses the personal imperative to oppose interpersonal harm and the obstacles that get in our way. The program is designed to ensure a high level of personal/emotional safety. It is suitable for teens, 12+ years old as well as adults.
Link to: FAQ
Rona Fischman holds an MS in Counselor Education. She counseled and taught teenagers and adults, specializing in language and communication. She wrote curriculum for non-violent direct action in the 1980s and 1990s, for projects against nuclear power and against domestic violence. She is a founding member and early leader in the Daughters of Abraham interfaith book group model. She currently runs a small real estate buyer’s brokerage in Cambridge, MA.