Conflict resolution: Teaching students how to solve conflicts fairly, without intimidation or violence.
- Teaching conflict resolution skills is important for the maintenance of a good moral community in the classroom.
- Without conflict resolution skills, students will be morally handicapped in their interpersonal relations now and later in life.
- Conflict resolution skills — listening, showing understanding, expressing strong feelings without insult, and finding a mutually agreeable solution that meets the needs of both sides — are among the most important moral competencies constituting the action side of character.
- A planned curriculum that has students think, write, and talk about how to solve various kinds of conflicts
- Structured skill training that coaches students in conflict-avoidance and conflict resolution skills (Arnold Goldstein's Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child and Skillstreaming the Adolescent are examples of this; so is the No Putdowns curriculum)
- Using the class meetingto address common conflicts that recur among class members and to develop the class norm that conflicts should be solved fairly and non-violently
- Intervening when necessary to help children, in the heat of an actual conflict, apply their conflict resolution skills. Peer mediation is an effective way to do this and gives peers a meaningful, character-building responsibility in the moral life of the school.
- Making students increasingly responsible for working out their own conflicts without the aid of a third party.
Elaine Herron, 5th-grade: Has the disputants each write three paragraphs:
- What was the problem?
- What were the causes?
- How can you solve this in the future?
PREPARE's Fighting curriculum unit(see pp. 289-91 in Educating for Character)