Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dealing with Conflict

This week I read a post on Successful Teaching about teaching students social skills. I have been working with my students on dealing with conflict. I am trying to train them to work through their problems independently. I stand by to mediate, and then at the end check that both parties are happy with how the situation has been dealt with.

I taught my students this basic script:
1. Tell the person how you felt when they did what they did.
eg. "When you pushed me I felt annoyed and it hurt my arm"
2. Tell the person that it was disrespectful:
eg. "It was disrespectful"
3. Tell the person what you would like to see happen in order to move forward.
eg. "I'd like you to say 'sorry' and not push me again"

At this point, it is up to the 'offender' to respond with apology and/or appropriate action as suggested by the 'offended'. I often find that students will then turn the tables with the 'offender' describing how they have been offended.

For the most part, students in my class can now work through this quite well on their own. I do, however, step in when one party refuses to listen, acknowledge the impact of their behaviour, or responds aggressively to the discussion.

This strategy is based loosely on Restorative Practices - Corridor Questions, but I am trying to get my students to own the resolution rather than having to guide them through questions step by step.

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