PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.”

– Benjamin Franklin

It takes a commitment by a school community to develop a sustainable, non-violent school environment. Our professional development workshops and trainings are led for teachers, by teachers.  Seasoned educators from our Peaceful Schools NC community provide practical skills grounded in many years of experience.

We offer a variety of professional development opportunities that provide skills and knowledge for creating a school that successfully addresses school climate, proactive approaches to discipline, and strategies for conflict resolution.  These workshops provide an introduction to what school communities must next generate themselves if they are to truly sustain a safe and caring school environment. Our instructors are experienced classroom teachers, professors and psychoanalysts who understand the reasoning behind human behavior and how it can be changed.

By design, our work with schools is focused upon meeting their specific needs related to school climate.

Here are some sample professional development opportunities we have developed over the years.

Your Role in the Dynamic System of Bullying

“A bully repeatedly uses physical or non-physical force to shame, humiliate and dominate a target, and the bystander is the audience for the drama.”

– Stuart Twemlow, MD, world authority on bullying and violence in schools

Most of us look at a bullying incident and see only two people: a bully and a victim. However, when we look more closely, we can see a variety of roles, all of which influence the dynamic power system in bullying. Adults – parents and teachers – can engage in bullying activities as well as students.

During this workshop, we will examine the dynamics of bullying, including the roles played by the bully, the victim and the bystander. We will discuss how each role either supports or stops teasing and bullying activity.

Every school community has a social system. We will address how these systems can be consciously and collectively designed to foster an environment in which students can move from bully, victim, or bystander to a place of boldly positive action.

In this workshop, you will develop the skills to:

  • Understand the characteristics and roles played by the bully, target (victim), bystanders and upstanders in the power dynamics of bullying.
  • Identify the underlying motivations for bullying behavior.
  • Identify the bully, target and bystander roles being acted out in various situations.
  • Develop strategies that allow each role in a bullying situation to help de-escalate or eliminate teasing and bullying activity.
  • Identify the strengths and challenges in your school community and foster a more positive social environment.
  • Develop a plan for the next steps to address the needs in your school community.

Discipline for Supporting Growth and Responsibility

Children learn how to treat people from their interactions with adults at home and in classrooms. A child’s parents, teachers and – as they grow older – their peers, are models for adopting their own behaviors. This means that each time a child makes a mistake, pushes boundaries or disobeys parents and teachers, the adults have a new opportunity to teach them respectful and clear communication.

Skillful discipline strategies build relationships with children rather than distancing them from adults. When we provide logical consequences that hold children accountable for their actions, we help them reflect on their actions, consider alternative behaviors and make restitution to those they have injured. This helps them become responsible and caring adults.

In this workshop, you will develop the skills to:

  • Create a context for discipline in your home or classroom.
  • Explore what research says about effective discipline.
  • Explore our internal models of authority.
  • Distinguish logical consequences from punishment.
  • Examine effective logical consequences.
  • Identify your own “hot buttons” and navigate them.
  • Make the best use of family or class meetings.
  • Create family or classroom contracts.

Building Your Conflict Resolution Tool Box


Now, more than ever before, it is important for children to learn skills in non-violent conflict resolution. In our rapidly changing world, students must know how to interact closely with people of different backgrounds and values.

Whether you plan to teach a Conflict Resolution class, or simply want to expand your toolbox for responding to conflict in your classroom or community, this workshop will give you practical skills and activities to support non-violent alternatives to conflict resolution.

Both you and your students will be prepared to help build a community in which all members face conflict non-violently whenever it arises.

In this workshop, you will learn tools to help your students:

  • Build trust within a group by using practical activities that support conflict resolution.
  • Break down the practice of conflict resolution into specific skills.
  • Name choices and behaviors that escalate or de-escalate a conflict.
  • Identify types of conflict as well as roles played in a conflict.
  • Provide an historical context for peacemakers who have gone before us.
  • Share what they’ve learned by giving back to the community, empowering them to be the experts at their school.

You will take home games, activities, ideas and resources to create an environment for the successful practice of conflict resolution.

Rehearsal for Life Training for Facilitators

Rehearsal for Life is a theater-based system adapted from Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed. It gives students an opportunity to practice a range of solutions to real personal conflicts.

In this class, you will learn to use the Forum Theater technique to involve students in skits, movement, and drama and work through some of life’s toughest moments.

In this facilitator’s training, you will develop skills to:

  • Create a safe “container” within the group so that all students can share their ideas openly and authentically.
  • Facilitate creating skits based on real-life experiences and enable students to step into the skit and practice strategies for solving conflict.
  • Use an Image Theater technique to communicate an idea through a static sculpture, rather than verbal communication.
  • Break a single conflict into various “slices” of experience. This will include the voices and emotions we respond to in a conflict and how they influence us?