10 Lessons for Teaching Conflict Resolution Skills

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  • Brought to you by: Department of Special Services > Office of Intervention and Prevention Services > Student Safety and Wellness > Conflict Resolution

    10 Lessons for Teaching Conflict Resolution Skills

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  • Guidelines for Teaching Conflict Resolution Skills Congratulations. SOL testing is finished! Here is a teaching packet to help your students learn conflict resolution skills. These skills are important for many reasons. Not only are they essential life skills, but they also help each individual acquire and maintain relationships, help make and maintain cohesive families, and increase the probability of attaining a job through communication and collaboration skills. These are pro-social skills which, in turn, increase student achievement levels and improve student resiliency. One benefit of having the skills is the enhancement of the leadership capabilities of our students, which reflect Fairfax County School Board Student Achievement Goal #2: Essential Life Skills. These lessons support the rights mentioned in the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Student Responsibilities and Rights (SR&R), current version of Regulation 2601. Students have a right to resolve disputes with other students or staff members in a way that is nonthreatening for all parties and that promotes positive relationships. These lessons also support the responsibilities mentioned in the FCPS SR&R regulation. Students are responsible for resolving disputes in an appropriate and nonviolent manner. Each lesson is about an hour long and is designed to be interactive. Remember, its June. Each lesson can be modified to match the developmental needs of your students. If you have final exams or already have the month of June planned, these ten lessons on conflict resolution could be added to next years substitute folder, woven into your lessons using your professional expertise, or used with students in alternative instructional assistance. Thank you so much for supporting Fairfax County School Board Student Achievement Goal #2: Essential Life Skills, which charges each of us to teach our students to possess the skills to manage and resolve conflict. After experiencing these interactive lessons, your students will come away with the knowledge and skills to resolve conflicts peacefully. Special thanks to the visionary team Richard Moniuszko, deputy superintendent, FCPS Kim Dockery, assistant superintendent, Department of Special Services, FCPS Teresa Zutter, director, Intervention and Prevention Services, FCPS Clarence Jones, coordinator, Student Safety and Wellness Office, FCPS Joan Packer, specialist, conflict resolution, FCPS Special thanks go to the writing team Joan Packer, specialist, conflict resolution, FCPS Kristen John, peer mediation conference coordinator, FCPS Kathleen Pablo, retired FCPS assistant principal, French teacher, peer mediation coordinator Dan Buescher, graduate student intern in Conflict Transformation and Peace Building, Center for Justice

    and Peace Building, Eastern Mennonite University Swaim Pessaud, Office of Public Private Partnerships Nancy Colfax, Northern Virginia Mediation Service Alayna Woodley; Rachel King; Tim Stehly; George Mason University ICAR students and interns with the

    Peer Mediation Partners Izabela Solosi, Peer Mediation Partners Brian McElhaney, Peer Mediation Partners

  • Lesson One: Introduction to Conflict and Types of Conflict Benefits

    Conflict is a natural part of life. Learning about productive ways to handle conflict will help:

    o Ones relationships. o Work and school environments. o Family units. o Interpersonal interactions.

    Opening Energizer Choose two students to go in front of the class and role-play the short scenario below. Encourage each person to put some emotion into the script. A: I was wide open under the basket! Why didnt you pass me the ball? B: The coach told me to take the shot! Possible questions to ask the class:

    Who are the parties in the conflict? Are any other parties involved? What is each person in the conflict thinking? What were the parties feeling? (Students may ask the parties) What are each persons motivations? What does each person need?

    If discussion is slow to start, restate the question. You might also ask the students to think back to an experience theyve had. Definition and Content What is conflict? Ask the students to call out words that define, or are associated with, conflict. Chart these on the board. Words with negative associations should be on one side of the board, words with positive associations on the other. You may want to direct the students to form a line and ask them, one at a time, to write their word on the side of the board they think it should go on. Students may not initially recognize many positive aspects of conflict. This exercise might be a good way to discuss some of the benefits of conflict (it is an opportunity for change, renewal of relationships, etc.). Conflict is when two or more people want different things.

  • Activity 1 Types of conflict Draw four squares on the board. Ask students to identify the types of conflict identified in the opening energizer. The types of conflict are:

    Within people (intrapersonal). Between people (interpersonal). Within groups (intragroup). Between groups (intergroup).

    As students identify each type of conflict, write it in one of the squares. You may want to ask the students in which square they would write it. Processing Where do these types of conflict happen? __________________________________ (locker room, bus stop, hallway, cafeteria, on the way to school) Note to teacher: Students should also understand that conflict is all around and that, not only are there many different types of conflict, there are many ways of handling it as well. Depending on how we handle conflict, the outcome may change--we can influence conflicts outcome in many positive ways. Summary Points

    Conflict is a part of lifeit can be a positive part of life, an instrument of growth. Conflict can be good or bad depending on how we learn to deal with it. Every time we interact with someone there is a potential for conflict because peoples

    needs and expectations may not be the same. We can even feel conflicts within ourselves and may displace these onto others unless

    we are careful. Small conflicts should be dealt with as soon as possible, so they dont grow. Try to identify possible hidden conflicts. Disagree with ideas or behavior, not people.

  • Lesson Two: Conflict Styles and Outcomes Benefits

    There are many ways one can approach conflict. Decisions regarding conflict are based on the importance of issues and/or relationships. The way in which one handles conflict will directly affect the effectiveness of the

    conflicts outcome. Opening Energizer Stand in the center of the room. Introduce yourself as the conflict from the previous scenario in Lesson One. Each student is a member of the scenarios basketball team. Ask them to think about how comfortable they are with this conflict, and direct them to stand in relation to their comfort level with the conflict (without students leaving the room). Processing Go around the class and ask why they are standing there. Ask the students to sit down and discuss the following conflict styles (how people respond to conflict). Definition and Content . Conflict Styles

    Avoiding--Issue and relationship both are insignificant. Accommodating--Relationship is more important than the issue. Forcing--The issue is more important than the relationship. Compromising--Cooperation is important (give a little, get a little). Collaborating--Relationship and issue are both important (takes more time).

    When analyzing your conflict style in a particular situation, ask the following questions:

    How is this conflict style working for you? What are your needs, and are they being met? What outcome could using this conflict style lead to? Are you satisfied with the outcome of this conflict style? Are there situations in which you change your conflict style? Are conflict styles situational? What would it take for you to change your conflict style? How would using a new style affect the outcome?

  • Activity 1 Clenched Fist With a partner, one student clenches his or her fist. As a team, they need to figure out a way to unclench this students fist. Give them 30 seconds to figure it out. Processing

    What happened? How did you get the person to unclench his or her fist? What worked? What didnt work? What did you do to overcome the challenges?

    Definition and Content Conflict Outcomes

    Win-Win Win-Lose Lose-Win Lose-Lose

    Reflecting on Personal Conflict Styles Direct students to quietly reflect on a recent conflict in which theyve been a part. After one minute, share the conflict style with a partner. Processing With Partner

    How did you approach the conflict? What conflict style did you use? Did both of you feel satisfied? If you could be in the conflict again, what style would you use?

    Summary Points

    Conflict styles are based on the issue, the situation, the significance of the relationship, and personal values.

    The style one chooses directly affects the conflicts outcome.

  • Lesson Three: Different Points of View, Identifying Biases and Perspectives, Prejudice Awareness Benefits Understanding others perspectives:

    Helps us have better relationships. Helps us to be more effective communicators. Opens our potential to learning and understanding others.