Tag Archive for: peer mediation

Finding the Common Ground

Solutions, not penalties

Boys from 7th grade have been calling each other names very badly for couple of days. This has come to the attention of 9th grade peer mediation. Pursuit of this solution-centered approach is to resolve conflicts between pupils in everyday life of the school. How does this work? How is it different from the other ways that the schools are using when someone violates the rules? Many institutions use a punishment or a reward orientation to instill obedience to rules. This approach reinforces a view of people motivated by self-interest.

Slightly older pupils trained as mediators help the students involved to find the solution to their conflict. The 9th grade peer mediation invite boys e.g. during the school brake to a quiet place just for this cause. There is also a teacher who knows and follows the incident, even if he/she is not present. The 9th grade student is impartial and asks the students involved; what happened, why this has happened? The parties share their own view of the event. The mediator helps the parties themselves to find a solution. If a solution is found, a written agreement is made. The mediator says that the situation is monitored. Similarly, a follow-up meeting will be held between the parties.

Where and when does this student’s mediation fit? Restorative mediation (peer mediation) method has been successfully used in following situations: Naming, shouting,  feeling anxious commenting on the other answer, persistent perplexity, talking behind, or talking about false gossip, spanking, throwing, catching, fighting, threatening, submitting or forcing, for example, “bigger or stronger law”,  unauthorized lending, tampering or concealment of another property and so on.

Migration, urbanization, social and cultural diversity reshape our communities and our classrooms. The ability to build healthy communities, reconcile tensions and resolve conflicts is now paramount.   Youth need to become skilled at handling conflicts and school is a perfect place to develop these skills.

According to recent surveys, peers have learned, for example, intercultural skills, understanding of diversity, encounters of cultures and peacebuilding.

There are situations in the school that students cannot solve. In this case, according to school practice, the problem is solved by the teachers, principal and / or guardians together.

Every society needs to find ways to raise its children to become responsible citizens. This process of socialization involves internalizing the expectations and norms of society and becoming capable of conforming to them. This enables the child to become socially active. On what basis do we wish children and young people to comply with social norms, institutional rules and laws? A restorative approach strives to develop compliance with social norms and rules through the internalization of responsibility for one’s actions and a respect for the rights of other people.

Restorative mediation (peer mediation) gives schools a genuinely participatory and socially safe process, through which the parties of a conflict can themselves take part in the resolution of their conflict. This participation enables pupils to change their behavior in a positive way and to take responsibility for their own lives. The aim of the program is also to strengthen children’s rights, to avoid social exclusion and labeling, and to prevent violence.

As part of the Top Global Teacher Bloggers / CMRubinWorld.com / Global Search for Education  http://www.cmrubinworld.com/TGTB,  above is my answer to question of July:  Please share specific strategies from your own experience of how classrooms are teaching the skills to resolve tensions and conflicts so as to find the “common ground” in an increasingly diverse world?