Sunday, August 7, 2011

Reading Groups/Chapter 12 ECM

3 methods of conflict resolution: mediation, negotiation, and consensus decision making.
Mediation usually involves a teacher as a mediator (or a neutral third party which could be a peer), where the mediator insures that the debate does not escalate, guides the process of conflict resolution by making sure that each party gets to present their side and ensures that each side is heard.  With all three methods, it is the process and end result/negotiation that is important.  Who is right or who is wrong is not the focus.  The students come up with the negotiation, not the teacher, but she can guide with questions and helps to ensure that they follows the steps of the conflict-resolution process (set the stage, gather perspectives, identify interests, create options, evaluate options, generate agreement).

Negotiation: the two students who are in conflict may go to a quiet area and resolve the issue between themselves.

Consensus-decision making: by the classroom as a whole.

Central to this concept is the teaching of prosocial behavior and for students to learn to resolve conflicts as this is something they will deal with throughout their lives.  It promotes social growth, increases listening skills, involves critical-thinking and problem solving--skills which are basic to all learning.  Specific benefits to resolving conflict are that students who can resolve conflict constructively:  are  healthier psychologically, develop socially and cognitively in more healthy ways, are happier more of the time, have more positive and supportive interpersonal and intergroup relationships, have a greater sense of meaning and purpose in life, are more engaged with the school and its academic program, make more friends and have stronger relationships, have more successful careers, achieve higher academically, and show more empathy and less prejudice.
Especially important to me as a teacher is to be aware that the reasons for the conflict occurring are more complex than one might think.  It could stem from not understanding another person's actions because their perception which differs from another based on the fact they come from different backgrounds (ethnicity, race, etc.).  Alternatively, there could be underlying anger from issues outside of school such as problems at home with divorce, abuse, drugs, poverty, etc.

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