Posted by: victoriapynchon | November 15, 2010

Conflict Resolution in High Schools

I was talking to my neighbor the rocket scientist/satellite engineer today about the management of 150 other rocket scientists/satellite engineers and his desire for more managers for each of the technical groups tasked with putting a dozen satellites into space in the next few years.

As we talked about the conflicts my neighbor spends too much of his valuable time resolving, I suggested negotiation or conflict resolution training for his staff.

“What if you could teach your engineers self-management and group management through conflict resolution and negotiation skills?  Wouldn’t that fill the gap in management that’s causing you to spend 40% of your day resolving conflict?  And if you had 40% more time, wouldn’t you use it in a way that would directly improve your company’s bottom line?”

Yes and yes and yes to all of that.

So when we talk about conflict resolution training for students, we’re really talking about improving the environment in which education takes place, which would permit teachers to do more of what they’re formally trained to do ~ teach! rather than what their OJT consists of ~ conflict management in the classroom.

So I’m happy to report from the High School Mediator Blog the happy results of peer-mediation programs in the high schools here.  Excerpt below.

Youth conflict resolution is about teaching young people new ways to resolve disputes without resorting to violence, verbal or physical. Too many young people today are caught up in situations of teen conflict that they cannot manage – jealousy, teasing and bullying and outright aggression.

Conflict resolution education is an important component in a violence prevention and intervention program in schools and youth communities. The most successful programs seem to be those that offer a comprehensive approach to problem solving, teaching effective listening and communication skills, and critical and creative thinking with an emphasis on personal responsibility and self discipline.

Importance of Working Together

Parents and teachers need to work together to mutually reinforce the programs put in place to empower young people with the skills and processes of conflict resolution where teen conflict exists. Adults of course are the final authority, especially if the law is involved, and adults therefore need to model the peaceful resolution of conflicts in all area of their lives, including personal relationships. Context is important, and even in inner city schools where drug use and delinquency is a major problem, violence reduction programs have been successful when youth conflict resolution has been part of the curriculum.

Full article here.

So here’s the question.  Why isn’t there a peer mediation program in your school? And what can you do to initiate one?

More on this topic soon!

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