Conflict Resolution in High School
Youth conflict resolution has been around for a while and has been very successful in some schools. The biggest problem has been keeping a program going. Training, funding, and finding time to keep it a part of a school are difficult challenges. Conflict resolution means teaching young people new and different ways to resolve disputes without resorting to verbal or physical violence. Many adolescents today are caught up in situations of teen conflict that they cannot manage – jealousy, name calling, teasing, gossip, stealing another’s property, dating and friendship issues, and bullying and outright aggression. Schools are frequently the center of ...view middle of the document...
Conflict is not a bad thing. It can be good. Conflict helps raise and address problems. It energizes work to be done on important issues. It helps people “be real”. It motivates them to participate. Most of all, it can help people to recognize and benefit from their differences. The positives many times aren’t realized because young people aren’t equipped with conflict management skills and often lash out in destructive ways instead. This can lead to poor productivity in class, low morale, continued conflicts, and inappropriate behaviors. It is the main cause of crisis in our schools today. Conflict resolution is designed to equip students with the skills they need to deal with conflict in their lives.
Metal detectors and security can only go so far in preventing problems in schools. Schools must get to the roots of problems and educate our students on how to do that. It is important that educators and students understand the nature of conflict. The better educators and students understand the nature of conflict, the better able they are to manage conflicts constructively (Kinard, 1988). Moran (2001), says, “Conflict management is a philosophy and set of skills that assist individuals and groups in better understanding and dealing with conflict as it arises in their lives.” There are not many studies out there showing the effects of teaching conflict resolution in high schools but the few that are show that when students and teachers are trained, there are fewer serious problems in those schools. Evidence shows that shows teaching conflict management skills not only helps students get along with one another, it also can improve their comprehension in core curriculum subjects. In one school, it was shown, that students who received conflict training with the study of a novel over a two-week period, scored much better on an examination than students who did not receive the conflict training and only studied the novel.
Importance of Working Together
Since conflict is basically unavoidable in a setting such as a school, it is necessary that all parties be able to recognize conflict, to see it’s constructive as well as destructive potential, and to learn how to manage it and apply conflict management strategies in a practical way (Ghaffar, 2009). Parents and teachers need to work together to mutually reinforce the programs put in place to empower young people with the skills and processes of conflict resolution where teen conflict exists. Adults still have the final say in conflict resolution and that needs to be clear to students. This is especially true when police are involved. Adults need to be the role models for conflict resolution and model how peaceful resolution is used in their lives. In inner city schools where drug use and delinquency is a problem, conflict resolution programs have been successful when they are a part of the school’s curriculum.
Basic Steps to Resolve Conflict
Most programs follow a...