Class descriptions

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 who you are. We look at the strengths and pitfalls of your verbal style. We’ll practice ways to maintain your integrity while avoiding an argument with someone you disagree with. This is easier said than done, but by the end of the program, you’ll have some go-to techniques to increase your chances of successful dialogue. There is a counseling aspect to the program, aimed at preparing each participant to contribute to social justice in a way that suits their strengths and abilities. What Rona Fischman’s program adds to the typical Active Bystander training is how to peacefully confront racism, sexism, LGBTQ-phobia, Islamophobia, or anti-Semitism with people that you know. It has been proven that people rarely change their minds based on learning from a stranger; it is people they know and respect who influence them.

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. The course also reviews other actions, such as witnessing and video-making, in a general way.

Decisions about Intervention, Verbal Self-Defense, and Active Bystander Practices can be taught in two 2-hour segments on two occasions or as a single 4-hour program. This program is suitable for adults.

Training Active Bystanders (TAB, by Quabbin Mediation.)

Training Active Bystanders (TAB) helps participants recognize when they are bystanders, analyzes the situation in which they find themselves, and evaluate the consequences for everyone involved. The TAB curriculum heightens bystanders’ power. It teaches how bystanders can interrupt harm doing and generate positive actions by others. We emphasize that active bystandership does not mean aggression against the harm doer. It means taking responsible action to help people in need, instead of remaining passive and becoming complicit. TAB gives bystanders 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 those who take the training, the trainers, and the community.

Training Active Bystanders is taught in a single 2-hour segment. 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 children 12+ years old as well as adults. I am now certified to teach this program.




List of venues and open times, Spring 2017:

Cambridge Dispute Settlement Center. Kendall Square. April 25. 2-6 PM


Some classes are being administered by non-profit organizations. Their policies and prices will differ. Check their registration forms for details on the links provided.

For programs I am administrating, I request a $15-30 donation per 2-hour session, $30-50 for the 4-hour. No one is turned away for inability to pay.

Teacher bio:

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.