Shu Zhou      By Shu

My first CWEP symposium

As a Doctoral Research Assistant for Child Welfare Education Project (CWEP), I am very fortunate to get free access to CWEP events and activities for free. On October 30th, 2015, I participated in my first CWEP symposium with a topic of traumatic events and de-escalation.

First of all, I was impressed with the high qualifications and excellent performances of the two presenters: detective Cecil Arnold and detective Chad Rogers. As detectives at the Pearland police department, they have not only intensive professional experiences dealing with traumatic events but also relevant educational backgrounds like Master’s Degrees in Criminal Justice. As a result, they were able to apply the factual and abstract knowledge and information into a variety of real cases and link the examples back to the topic. They possess excellent communication skills. In addition, they refreshed my mind when explaining familiar social work skills (i.e.: active listening) from another point of view as police officers. It gave me some new thoughts about how to utilize “minimal encouragers” and “effective pauses” in a different way.

Moreover, the interactive manner of the symposium helped me to focus and memorize better. The questions asked by the presenters, such as “what will you do” and “how does this person feel”, stimulated my thinking. Although such heavy topic is easily led the presentation to sadness, our room was full of laughter. I appreciate the presenter’s appropriate use of humor, which emphasized the discussion and relaxed our tension. We had the chance to share our own experiences and feelings and were given the opportunity to ask questions throughout the symposium. It was a great opportunity for me to learn from other social work students and practitioners other than the presenters.

Finally, the highlight of the symposium was definitely those real criminal cases that the presenters have worked on before. The last given example was the Pearland hostage situation on the New Year’s Eve of 2010. They also showed us a lot of inside sources such as the case pictures, audios and even videos! All of the vivid visual-aids brought us back to that scene and facilitated our learning experience. The symposium was ended with some TV interviews of the involved parties such as the hostages and their families and friends. Everyone’s sharing made me to think and understand better how one traumatic event affecting each person differently.

Overall, I enjoyed my first CWEP symposium a lot and hope to attend more in the future. What a fun educational experience! I am thankful for such great off-campus learning opportunity.

News about “Pearland hostage situation”:

Police: Houston area bank standoff ends, all hostages safe (CNN)

http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/12/31/texas.hostages.bank/

New Year’s Eve Bank Standoff Comes to End in Texas (abc NEWS)

http://abcnews.go.com/US/armed-robbers-hostages-wound-bank-manager-chase-bank/story?id=12516094

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