Saturday, April 10, 2010

Increasing Meta-Cognitive Competence Through Conflict Resolution

Heydenberk, R. A. and Heydenberk, W. R. (2005). Increasing Meta-Cognitive Competence through Conflict Resolution. Education and Urban Society. DOI: 10.1177/00131245050277747


This is an article about how children resolve conflicts and the benefits of learning in an integrated conflict resolution program. The first half of the article was mostly research. It provided wonderful information about conflict resolution but not really how to implement it. The authors just said that it needs to be integrated into the core curriculum. The first half also gave some results. The results from the study are exactly what I’m looking to find in my own research. The authors discussed one of the most import aspects of conflict resolution is seeing things from the other person’s perspective. This may be one of the most important parts of CR but it is also the most challenging parts for little kids.

The second half of the article is the study. The authors wanted to “investigate the changes in student’s meta-cognitive competencies as a result of their conflict resolution skill development.” Their hypothesis was: “Conflict resolution skill and related social skill development will positively affect use of meta-cognitive strategies.” This half of the article provides the reader with the location and the demographic of the study. The sample was composed of fourth and fifth graders from Philadelphia School District and a neighboring urban school district. All students participated in the Peace Center’s training called Peace Project. There were two instruments used to test the study’s hypothesis. The first was a modified form of the Student’s Attitudes About Conflict (SAAC) and the second was the Meta-Cognition Scale. The results between the pre and post test showed no significant change so the hypothesis was accepted.


“The creation of conflict resolution programs in American schools has been the primary attempt to curb violence and antisocial behavior in our classrooms.” (431)

“Comprehensive conflict resolution programs require students to engage in social communication strategies such as active listening, paraphrasing, brainstorming, questioning for clarity, and the development of affective vocabulary. In a comprehensive conflict resolution program, these strategies are embedded in the curriculum and practiced throughout the day.” (432)

“Although positive behavioral charges are the primary goal of conflict resolution programs, improved academic performance often occurs when conflict resolution skills are integrated into content areas.” (433)

“Very simply, students who control negative affective reactions to failure and who persist in trying to solve problems achieve more than those who tend to become emotionally upset. Although the link between social and academic problem solving is not well understood it appears that the ability to control negative emotional reactions to failure may contribute to both socially and academically competent outcomes.” (434)

“Rather than focusing on a superficial, polarized, right-or-wrong response, students broaden their perspectives and begin to synthesize new solutions, a skill that characterizes higher level thinking in both social and academic domains.” (439)

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