* Educator workshops for creating stronger learning environments * Kerrita K. Mayfield, PhD * firstname.lastname@example.org * 1
THE INTERRUPTIONS WORKSHOP SERIES FOR TEACHERS, PARENTS, SCHOOL
COUNSELORS, AND ADMINISTRATORS
In an era where impersonal electronic media are so powerful – schools and their caregiving adults
need to be better prepared than ever to interrupt destructive patterns of student behavior. Like any
human services community, teachers, counselors, school staff and administrators do not leave their
biases, home interactions, or areas of personal uncomfortability outside their school site and the
subsequent navigation of relationships is difficult for any person depending upon our contexts,
experiences, belief systems and competencies. What we know about active bystanders and their
ability to proactively and positively affect behaviors like bullying and intimidation is that engagement
with these behaviors is a responsibility of all of us, as witness neutrality is as problematic as the
behavior. This training helps active bystanders become active interrupters. The original project was
generated via funding from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.
There are four four-hour workshops available that provide concrete, research-based skills training
around actively interrupting, positively disrupting, modeling and redirecting negative adolescent
behaviors. The workshops center around issues deeply affecting adolescents (grades 5 through 12,
ages 11 - 20) inside and outside of school. These training events are PBIS (Positive Behavioral
Interventions & Support), RTI (Response to Intervention), and standards aware.
Issue One: pre-bullying behaviors that feature gendered teasing (i.e. “That’s so gay!” “You throw like a
Issue Two: youth/youth relational violence (i.e. coercion, intimidation, active insecurity, gaslighting);
Issue Three: creating cultures of effective communication (i.e. Head, Heart, Guts - method of listening,
speaking, and analyzing across difference);
Issue Four: involving learners in the creation of student-centered discipline systems (i.e. “What do you
think is an appropriate response to X?” “How could we better solve this problem as a community or
These workshops will actively engage educators and others in interrupting destructive youth behaviors
through the rich interaction of content vocabulary and acting for change. Think how many of us wish
we knew what to say to someone after the moment passes – in these workshops participants
rehearse these moments from their unique perspectives. Those who register for the workshops are
assumed 1. To have the child’s best interest at heart; 2. To be perfectly fallible in their practice; 3.
Desirous of creating change in their home or school communities and their youth relationships. The
workshops are developmentally appropriate.
The first hour is an interactive presentation of the problems and research around each issue; focusing
on the student’s own words to elicit adult conversation around their experiences as either targets (the
affected party) or agents (perpetrators) of the presented behaviors.
The second hour is focused in hearing, reading, and participating in scripts that illustrate the subtle
and overt ways these behaviors occur in student interactions. The scripts are co-developed by a
Graduate Social Justice Education student with a Theatre degree and are based on actual student
narratives of being targeted. The educators will then be asked to deconstruct the scenes, identify and
interpret the negative behaviors, and postulate possible interruptions or solutions.
* Educator workshops for creating stronger learning environments * Kerrita K. Mayfield, PhD * email@example.com * 2
Once the educators have heard, participated, and acted in the students’ world, the training leads
participants to actively insert themselves into the scripts by rewriting and re-enacting the
engagements with positive and proactive insertion into the scene. The adage, “practicing what one
preaches” comes to life.
Participants will be provided: resources sets for further support or information, worksheets and
templates they can use in their workspaces; support services by phone or e-mail for 6 months after
Educators will be given a pre-assessment survey with their registration for the workshop along with the
preparatory materials. The confidential pre-assessment will measure, for example: comfort and
experience disrupting negative discourses that occur around them and their experience being either a
target or agent of such behaviors. The post-assessment at the end of the school year will revisit these
questions with additional inquiry about how the participants used the training in the intervening
months alongside soliciting their recommendations for future trainings.
QUALIFICATIONS AND ROLE OF PERSONNEL
Kerrita K. Mayfield, PhD (in Curriculum and Instruction) is currently a certified Biology teacher in
Massachusetts and Washington State and is also certified in Art K-12 in Washington State. A
published author and researcher she taught middle and high school students for 11 years and has
been a professor of various sorts at schools from Vassar to UMass Amherst. She also has taught and
created curriculum with inner city students from Washington, D.C. in a program administered out of
Georgetown University. She has received faculty funding for projects through Vassar College and the
Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.
The persons assisting this project have a UMass Social Justice Education Masters or related degrees.
*skills and skills practice to develop array of disruption skills for directly intervening in negative
*research driven experiential learning;
*improved site ecologies;
*educators leave with language & skills they can use with youth and other constituents;
*awareness of goals and outcome development for change behaviors;
*establish a culture of direct address of social issues that interact with the educational mission.
WORKSHOPS HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO
The International Bullying Prevention Association Annual Conference, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian Straight
Educator Network) Western Massachusetts, GLSEN New England Retreat, Nantucket High School,
Williston Northampton, DIAL/SELF AmeriCorps, Louisiana Charter Schools Association, among others.
DR. MAYFIELD’S INFORMATION:
Linked In page with reviews and research publications:
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