Dr. Cixin Wang, an assistant professor of school psychology at the University of Maryland, recently took part in a podcast for the National Association of School Psychologists, “Social Justice Perspective on Bullying Prevention.”
She was one of four subject experts who provided insights and suggestions on how school psychologists can address bullying at school through a social justice lens.
Children of immigrant families are more likely to be bullied for linguistic and cultural reasons. For example, a large percentage of the Asian American students attributed the reasons for their victimization to cultural differences, including language and the model minority myth. As a result, it is important to build a supportive and inclusive school environment where students from different background can thrive, Dr. Wang said in the podcast.
Additionally, there may be misunderstanding among teachers who feel that parents are not involved in meetings and other efforts to address bullying in their children’s lives. This misunderstanding may be taking place since parents, especially from Asian and Latino countries, may have the cultural expectation of deferring to the teacher’s authority over school matters, Dr. Wang said.
“They are not familiar with the U.S. educational system,” Dr. Wang said. “They might not know what to ask, what kind of questions to ask.”
She also talked about the importance of incorporating social emotional learning and bullying prevention into the regular language arts instructions. She talked about an ongoing project in her research team, the Bullying Literature Project, a five-session classroom-wide intervention that uses children’s literature as a springboard to promote social emotional learning, and discourage moral disengagement, teach social skills, and encourage bystander intervention for bullying among elementary school students.
Dr. Wang took part in the podcast with host Dan Florell, associate professor at Eastern Kentucky University and the NASP Online Communication Coordinator and Historian; facilitator Dave Shriberg, a school psychologist and professor of education at Loyola University Chicago; Christina Conolly, the director for psychological services with Montgomery County Public Schools; and Samuel Song, director of the school psychology program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Dr. Wang — who is in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education — focuses her research on bullying and bullying prevention, school-based mental health services and prevention of mental health problems, mental health literacy, help seeking among culturally and linguistically diverse students, parenting practice and family involvement.