Speaking Topics

Based on over twenty years of teaching and constant feedback from today’s generation of young people, Rosalind Wiseman’s presentation is a call for action to transform the way we understand youth culture and create communities where children can thrive. From young people’s friendships, social media use, gossip, drama, bullying, and the constant pressure to “keep up,” she’ll share how children and teens develop their sense of self and guide their decision making in everything from their academic choices, friends, and how they manage conflict. In addition, she’ll give concrete advice to parents and educators so they, in turn, can guide their children through the normal yet challenging problems young people face– while avoiding the common communication breakdowns and power struggles between children and adults.

Speaker Rosalind Wiseman, the New York Times bestsellers Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence & Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World pulls back the curtain on what’s really going on between boys and girls and why they can be so reluctant to ask adults for help. She’ll share how boys’ and girls’ social group dynamics influence their interactions and offer step-by-step advice on how to teach young people to treat each other with dignity. She’ll also give common-sense suggestions about how to deal with the frequent struggles between children and their parents – from video games and social networking to communication breakdowns. This presentation can be tailored to both student and adult audiences and will be customized to reflect any specifics that should be addressed in your community.

Behind the Screen: Understanding the power of social media in young peoples’ lives

How is social media influencing your child self-esteem, friendships, and conflict with other people? Rosalind’s presentation will bring the newest insights and research on children and teens’ use of social media, its impact on their emotional health and wellbeing, and how it influences their interactions with parents. She will also highlight why adults efforts to communicate with young people about social media can be so challenging and provide participants with effective alternatives so young people don’t so easily shut down and disengage.

Wherever children are interacting—at school, on a team or at home, their social experiences profoundly affect their sense of self and their relationships with others. Rosalind’s work is about being prepared without being paranoid, so whatever your child’s experience–whether they don’t have any conflicts with peers, are in the midst of a social problem or is just moving past one that you don’t want repeated, this presentation is for you.

The Owning Up Professional Development Training
In order for young people to learn, they must feel emotionally and physically safe. They must feel that they can handle the inevitable social conflicts they will experience with some degree of self mastery. They must have confidence that the adults who teach them are competent and care about their well-being. But it’s equally true that young people are often skeptical about any educational program that cover these issues because what we teach them often falls far short of what they need. They sit through unrealistic assemblies and programs on character building, social conflict, technology and bullying that don’t reflect the complexity of the issues they face or include them as an essential part of the process to create solutions.

At the same time, there’s never been more need and calls for incorporating social emotional learning into students’ educational experience. The Owning Up Curriculum was developed with direct feedback from students and educators to reflect what they say and want in an SEL curricula. The seventeen lesson plans are flexible, dynamic, and respectful of educator’s knowledge of their students and communities. Owning Up can be used in a single sex or mixed gender classes and designed for different learning styles and learning environments. It can be used in existing programs or as a full program; whether as its own class or implemented in an advisor program or health and social studies classes.
Participants will learn to do the following:

  • Create an implementation strategy to create maximum buy-in with students
  • Design a program that best suits the logistical and subject area requirements for their school or organization
  • Understand the connections between adolescent development and group dynamics among teens
  • Teach the connections between sexism, racism, homophobia and other forms discrimination, bigotry, and other forms of social cruelty
  • Empower the students with the knowledge to effectively intervene in social conflicts with their peers

Accompanying the lesson plans are the following supporting materials: A program overview, an educator guide, a pre/post survey, and templates for correspondence with parents and other educators. In addition, participants will access a networked system of educators who are implementing Owning Up as an on-going source of collaboration, advice, and support.

A sample of session titles:

  • Just Kidding: Why Are We Really Laughing?:
  • Creating Know Your Style: Brand Names and Price Tags
  • Managing Technology: Profiles, and Platforms, and Posts
  • The Mirror: Why Do I Try to Look Like This?
  • The Power of Groups: Friendships, Strategic Alliances or Both?
  • The Power of Gossip: They Said What?!
  • Race and Appearance Bias: What Do We Really See?
  • Finding Support: Don’t Go It Alone
  • Recognizing and Respecting Boundaries: How Far is Too Far?

Cultivating Engaged Prepared Ethical Leaders
Student councils, peer leadership, orientations, and countless other student leadership programs are essential components of any school. But the truth is it can be hard to get student buy-in. To be effective and credible with the overall student body it requires collaboration between educators and young people that often results in a healthy and sometimes complex tension between them.

It’s also true that a  school’s informal traditions often teach powerful lessons about the school culture however, they can run counter to the goals of a school’s leadership programs. For example, does the school culture encourage or discourage student to trust adults? Are there any stairways a new student should avoid? Do the student leaders take their responsibilities seriously or do they not take them seriously or abuse their powers? The answers to these questions and how student leaders are trained makes or breaks a program. This workshop can be designed for a new program or an existing one.This workshop is open to both faculty and students to assess their program’s strengths and weaknesses and create increased opportunities for student ownership of the process.  At the end of the workshop, attendees will have a blueprint to increase their group’s effectiveness and improve their school culture and climate.

Additionally, Rosalind can concentrate a presentation on the following topics:

  • The relationship between academics and social skills
  • The provocative target
  • The impact of athletics in children’s lives
  • Gaming 
  • Media Literacy, social media and adolescent development

// Archived Topics //

Curiosity, Courage & Camouflage: Understanding the Hidden Culture of Gaming & Social Media

Technology and games’ influence on youth culture cannot be overstated. Technology is a moving target; new apps, the latest, most popular game, and cell phones change as quickly as they come. What doesn’t change is how integrated they are into all of our lives and adults’ concern for how all of these tools impact young people.

Common parent questions like, “When should my son/daughter have a cell phone?”, “Should I spy on what my child is doing online?”, “Should I let my child play this latest game?” are questions that don’t have straight forward answers. Educators often ask other questions like, “Are all online conflicts cyberbullying?”, or “How do I manage my students online conflicts when they spill over into my classroom?” and “Are children losing their ability to socialize in the real world because they’re so connected to their online world?

For many educators and parents, technology and its impact on young people lives can be overwhelming to understand. In our attempts to provide guidance, adults’ advice to young people about social media comes across as unrealistic or based on fear and anxiety. Is it any wonder that many young people disconnect from these messages and act so differently than we believe we have taught them?