Assistant Professor of Education
Violence prevention, conflict resolution, peer mediation, peaceable classrooms: these are the words that frame a growing movement in education. Violence prevention connotes both a need and a program, a part of which may address conflict resolution skills. Conflict resolution refers generally to strategies that enable students to handle conflicts peacefully and co-operatively outside the traditional disciplinary procedures. Peer mediation is a specific form of conflict resolution utilizing students as neutral third parties in resolving disputes. A peaceable classroom or school results when the values and skills of cooperation, communication, tolerance, positive emotional expression, and conflict resolution are taught and supported throughout the culture of the school. CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN SCHOOLS
Conflict resolution in education is linked to democracy and citizenship, developing a peaceful world, co-operative learning, multicultural education, prejudice reduction, social justice, violence prevention and intervention, critical thinking and problem-solving, and site-based management. In recent years, the growth of violence in schools has fueled interest in conflict resolution. Experienced practitioners view conflict resolution as only one component in preparing youth to find nonviolent responses to conflict, in promoting social justice, and in reducing prejudice in school communities. Classroom curriculum, classroom management, and school- or district-based programs are main entry points for conflict resolution in schools. Information and skills find their way quietly into individual classrooms through social studies, English, literature, science, and even mathematics, as well as through direct instruction in communication and co-operative problem solving. Some teachers, often in conjunction with curricular...