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Conflict Resolution: Mediate, Don’t Instigate
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Title – Conflict Resolution: Mediate, Don’t Instigate
By – Marcy Winograd
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 6-12
Standard: Summarize and clarify major ideas presented in spoken messages.
Objective: TLW use active listening to mediate a mock dispute.
Materials: Protocol for peer mediation; scenarios for mock disputes.
(1) Begin with a Write Now! journal dispatch, asking students, “If you were going to stop two of your friends from fighting, what would you do? Have you ever tried to stop a fight? What happened?
(2) Introduce key vocabulary terms: conflict resolution; peer mediation; active listening (restating what someone else has said)
(3) Explain that mediators need to be good listeners.
Before conducting a mock mediation, students must practice their listening skills. Divide students into groups of eight. Give them a hypothetical: a rich donor is giving the school $10,000. How should the money be spent? On a concert, more books, a new baseball field, television sets for each teacher, food for the homeless?
Each student in the circle is to state his opinion on how the money should be spent. The person sitting next to him must then restate the first person’s answer and add his own. Each person in the circle is responsible for restating one student’s answer, then offering his own opinion.
(4) Prepare two students to model a mock peer mediation session with you. Use the protocol below:
- Steps in the Process
- A. Introduce yourself. Ask your participants their names. Thank them for coming. Example: “I’m _______________. What are your names? Thank you for participating in this conflict resolution process.”
- B. Explain the rules: “There are three rules: No put downs. Tell the truth. Do not interrupt. Can we agree to follow those rules?”
- C. As one of the participants/disputants to explain his or her side of the story.
- (Do not let the other person interrupt!) Example: “Let’s start with you. What happened?”
- D. Restate what the participant said. “In other words, you’re saying …”
- E. Ask the other person to explain his/her side of the story. “Now it’s your turn to tell us what happened. What is your explanation?”
- F. Restate what the second disputant said. “You’re saying that …”
- G. Ask each side if s/he wants to respond to what the other side said. “Is there something you would like to respond to?”
- H. Ask each disputant how the conflict could be resolved. “What do you want to see happen?”
- I. Ask if the disputants can agree to each other’s requests. “Are you willing to ______________?”
- J. After the disputants agree on a solution. restate what each person has agreed to do. Next, thank them for coming. “Thank you for participating in this
- mediation process. I appreciate the fact that you came here.”
- *** *** ***
(5) Distribute the “conflict scenarios” hand-out below. Divide students into groups of three, allowing each person in the group to take turns mediating while the other members of the group assume the role of disputants.
- Conflict Scenarios
- Max’s Story
- I’m sick and tired of Don calling me names and telling other people that I’m a creep. Today I was walking up to the cafeteria and he said something about my mother, which I won’t repeat. I told him to knock it off and he threatened to punch me. He thinks he can intimidate me because he’s bigger. We’ll he can’t bully me.
- Don’s Story
- Yeah, I’ve called him names, but that’s because I can’t stand his attitude. He thinks he’s smarter than everyone else and whenever I say something in front of the class, he rolls his eyes or laughs under his breath. I see him laughing at other people, too. Someone needs to put him in his place.
- Mary’s Story
- Donna and I used to be good friends, but lately she’s been really bossy. I can’t stand her attitude. She’s always telling me what to do, acting like she’s my mother or something. I guess it started a few weeks ago when I left my science book in her mom’s car. I called her up and asked her if she would read me the homework questions because I didn’t have the book. She wouldn’t do it, so I told her she wasn’t much of a friend.
- Donna’s Story
- I wouldn’t get her science book because I didn’t even know it was in my mom’s car until she called me … at ten o’clock, after I had fallen asleep with a sore throat. My mom’s car was parked up the street because there’s never any parking in front of our house and I didn’t feel like dragging myself out of bed. This isn’t the first time she has left her book in my car. She’s always forgetting things. When I don’t get them for her, she lays a guilt trip on me.
(6) Assessment: Engage students in self-assessment of their performance as a mediator. Suggested criteria: addressed each step in the process; effectively restated each side of the story; kept disputants focused on the task; successfully resolved the conflict
(7) Independent Practice/Homework: Students can write mock conflict scenarios from the point of view of warring characters in their core literature books.
Students can also write about an experience applying their new peer mediation skills.
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