Sunday, May 19, 2013

Teaching students to be peacemakers

Johnson , D. W., & Johnson , R. T. (1995). Teaching students to be peacemakers . Edina, Minnesota : Interaction Book Company

The Johnson brothers are the leading researchers in the field of conflict resolution. In this book it highlights a plethora of useful information and specific strategies on conflict resolution and negotiation in a classroom setting. While the book's purpose is to teach students to handle conflicts non-violently, it is very explicit that it needs to be focused on a school-wide basis. This is broken down into 10 chapters. Chapters one through three focus on how schools can create a culture based on embracing conflicts and teaching students how to manage them affectively. Chapters Four through Seven approach such issues that can arise from conflicts. Specifically, chapter six is titled "managing Anger Constructively". The last three chapters discusses how to implement these tools on a school-wide basis. While the entire book is very beneficial, I've been specifically drawn to the fourth chapter, titled "conflict strategies".

They describe that there are five basic strategies for managing conflicts. They are: Problem-solving negotiations, Smoothing, forcing or win-lose negotiations, compromise, and withdrawing. Of these five, I found that compromising and problem solving negations are the most beneficial for students. "Compromise suggests that the coal and the relationship are moderately important to you and it appears that both you and the other person cannot get what you want, you reach an agreement. Compromising may involve meettin g in the middle so each of you gets half or flipping a coin to let chance decide who will get his or her way. Comprising often used when disputants wish to engage in problem-solving negoations but do not have the time to do so. Problem solving negotiations are when bot the goal and the relationship are highly important to you. YOu initiation problem solving negotiations to resolve. YOu maintain your interests and try to find a way of reconciling them with the others's intrests. This strategy requires risky moves, such as revealing your underlying interests, while expecting the other to do the same". (Johnson & Johnson, 1995. 4:3) I think that these two particular strategies are exceptionally helpful when working in a project-based environment. However, there are more than one-hundred different activities found in this book to help with a variety of conflicts and issues among students.

They then describe different activities for students to try to handle these situations themselves. This book provides large amounts of information on how to empower students to communicate openly and affectively in a collaborative setting.

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