Reminder – CNY Event at Gottesman Libraries on Thursday, 4/11 at 4:45pm!

Socratic Conversation: Generational Patterns of Familial Child Abuse, with Natalie Millman, Thursday, 4/11, 4:45-6pm

Inspired by Socrates’ famous conversations with his friends in the marketplace of 5th century Athens, we engage in spirited discussions of ideas and issues. Socratic conversations range broadly and probe deeply into the basic challenges of life. They are informed by the latest literature for reference and follow up. While building a sense of community on campus, these meetings enliven the intellectual atmosphere and model dialogue and discussion as modes of inquiry. They are part of a year long series of Socratic Conversations hosted by the Gottesman Libraries.

  • The family is the first system with which most children interact, providing a social structure with role models that exhibit behaviors that children observe and imitate. It also provides built-in feedback to reinforce behaviors. The school system only becomes relevant to children after the initial family system has made its impact. When children are abused in the family system, however, much of the responsibility for "un-doing’ the damage falls to members of the school system, including teachers and social workers.

    We will be addressing several questions during this conversation:

    • How do you know when a child is being abused? Is there a spectrum of
      abuse, or is it black-and-white?
    • What kinds of information and resources are available currently to prevent
      child abuse in the family system? Are they effective or ineffective, in your experience? Why might that be?
    • What challenges and opportunities exist for us as teachers, social workers, and and other education professionals as we try to work with abused children in the school system?
    • What would you like to see happen on a national, state, or local level concerning familial child abuse prevention and intervention in the school system? What can we ourselves do to address the problem?
    • What about involvement of educational personnel in the forensic/child abuse interview process, especially involving children with disabilities? How can school personnel support these efforts and "join" in protecting children?
  • NOTE: Because of the time limit, this conversation is not intended to be a group therapy session to talk about personal traumatic experiences of abuse, nor is it intended to be a place to talk about specific cases of horrific abuse that we have encountered professionally. While these experiences are close to our hearts and motivate us to care deeply about this kind of work, the focus of this conversation is on discussing strategies for working with abused children and advocate for change on a multi-systems level.

    Suggest optional reading:

    This Socratic conversation will be conducted by Natalie Millman, MSW student at Columbia University School of Social Work. Natalie lives in Manhattan and works as an advocate for a variety of issues; her practice specialty is in health and disabilities with an interest in the aging population. Amongst other activities, Natalie teaches writing classes in Manhattan and has facilitated formal conversations for groups since May 2012.

  • Happier Endings: How Have We, How Do We, and How Should We Handle It When Something Ends?, with Ron Gross, Thursday, 4/25, 4-5pm
  • As this academic term concludes and we bid farewell for now to classmates, teachers, and colleagues, we’ll gather to share what we’ve experienced, and what we’ve learned, about the inevitable goodbyes that occur in all our lives.

    We’ll consider finales big and small, ordinary and extraordinary, sudden and protracted, painful and liberating, based on the book Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free, by Harvard professor Sara Lawrence Lightfoot.

    We’ll draw from our personal lives, but we’ll also ponder the social and economic conditions which make Exiting a pervasive part of American lives today, due to such disruptions as Divorce, Immigration, and constantly Changing Jobs and Careers.

    "Our exits are often ignored or invisible," writes Lightfoot. At this session, we’ll focus on how we might turn them into endings that set us free.

Where: Second Floor

These highly-participatory conversations with fellow students are moderated by Ronald Gross, author of Socrates’ Way and Co-chair of the University Seminar on Innovation in Education.

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