Honors Program

Fall Showcase Presenters

Kira Witte

Title:  “The Portrayal of Bullying in Children’s Literature: Strategies to Combat Its Effects”

Major:  Elementary Education   

Minor:  Special Education Mild Intervention

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Lewis Roberts (English and Linguistics)

Kira Witte

Kira Melissa Witte began her IPFW career in the fall 2011 semester. She was awarded the Chancellor’s Scholarship based on her high school GPA and test scores, paying half of her tuition for her time at IPFW. Starting out as an Elementary Education major, she then added both the Early Childhood Dual License and the Special Education Mild Intervention Dual License. She also enrolled in the Honors Program and began networking with other Honors students on campus. During her time at IPFW, Kira has maintained a very high GPA, earning a place on the Dean's & Semester Honor's List every semester. She has earned a 4.0 in five of eight full time semesters, for a cumulative GPA of 3.94 at the end of the Spring 2015 term. In the Spring Semester of 2015, when the education department reopened the IPFW chapter, Rho Kappa, of Kappa Delta Pi, an International Honors Society in Education, Kira took on the position of Secretary and aided her colleagues in recruitment, planning, and executing of initiation and meetings. During Student Teaching, Kira was awarded a stipend from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education of almost $5,000 for entering the high needs field of Special Education. She is set to graduate at the end of the Fall 2015 term. During the past few summers when she was not in class, Kira spent her time working at Camp Red Cedar, which is a camp with programming for kids and adults with mild to severe special needs, as well as camp programming for kids without special needs. Starting out in the summer of 2013, Kira worked as a camp counselor for two summers, and was then promoted to Activity Coordinator for the 2015 camp season. In the past four years, she has been challenged by her professors and peers, has had the opportunity to network with others in her chosen career, and has made good friends that she remains in contact with. When reflecting on her time at IPFW, Kira will never forget her experiences.

Abstract

What explains the problem of bullying in local schools? Is the issue a lack of resources and research, or is it an unwillingness or inability to use these tools effectively? This project developed as an attempt to answer these questions. As part of the project, a number of different steps were completed: a book study of existing literature for children on bullying; creation of a new book; an elementary school lesson plan, in which students acted out scripted scenes and determined a more positive approach to a bullying situation, was designed and implemented; local schools were surveyed for their responses to bullying situations; research was done to analyze gender roles in bullying, the effects of bullying on both the victims and the bullies, and strategies to combat the growing epidemic. The book study revealed that a wide range of books for elementary and middle school reading levels in both fiction and nonfiction genres are available and accessible for teachers and parents alike. Through the created book paired with a lesson plan, students were able to use learned tools to take a stand in a structured environment, and then take the tools into their home and school environment. By collecting resources from local schools, a set of these resources was assembled to be used as is and for ideas in the future. Research aided in the understanding of how students relate to each other. The process and product of this project will be immensely helpful in the field of education. Through all of the components of the project, there was a wide range of skills developed and an important conclusion redefined: more than ever, bullying is not a topic that can be avoided or ignored. Educators must take an active stance to ensure that all students feel safe and secure in their school environment, and that all students have the opportunity to share their thoughts in a constructive way.