Bulletin News

Community Educator Holds 'Workshop on Bullying'


Vanessa Johnson will present a “Workshop on Bullying” to current and future educators and others concerned with a problem the news media has spotlighted in many American schools on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at SUNY Cortland.

Presented by the College’s Education Club during its weekly meeting, the event will begin at 7 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 204. The workshop is free and open to the public.

Johnson, a griot or storyteller in the West African Tradition, uses storytelling to present a model teachers can to use to manage classroom bullying. She will offer advice on how teachers and future educators can teach their students to understand why their peers bully, what those who bully are looking for in the responses of their victims, and how intended victims and witnesses can respond to bullying peers in a peaceful and non-conflict producing manner. 

The workshop also will address classroom management skills that reduce bullying behaviors and provide resource materials for educators to develop a working plan to handle this situation when it arises among their students.

As a community educator, Johnson uses her years of experience directing social service programs for youth and providing direct service to teachers and future educators to demonstrate, through storytelling, classroom management skill models. She first began working with children at the Syracuse Model Neighbors Southwest Center as director of youth and teen programming. She captured significant grants for programs to prevent teen pregnancy and to support mentally challenged youth.

A writer, playwright, vocalist, fiber artist and teaching artist, Johnson established Mosai Village Enterprises as an important local resource for educational programming and performances for conferences, community celebrations, television and radio.

As an historian, she uses her voice to preserve the history of the past and the stories of the present. A former director of the J.P. Morgan Chase Interactive History Museum, Johnson founded and directed a youth drama group and developed interactive programs to bring historical themes to life. She also served the Onondaga Historical Society as director of education. In that capacity, Johnson developed and implemented educational programs and curriculums both in the museum and in a new school-based program that reached more than 300 students per week in 25 area schools. She also initiated history-themed youth camps.

For more information, contact Heather Schowe, an Education Club historian, or club advisor Karen Hempson, lecturer in childhood and early childhood education, at (607) 753-4209.