Teaching Conflict resolution in secondary schools, communities and correctional centers will help instil problem solving and social-emotional skills in students and improve their mental health. They learn healthy conflict resolution, compromise, cooperation, collaborative approach and conflict resolution mental health skills. They learn to address conflict situations to reduce tension.
Conflict Resolution Skills
Conflict resolution strategies and skills equip students to deal with disputes and conflicts, manage stress quickly, put themselves in the other person’s position, reduce tension and encourage mental strength. Students in dispute learn to express their points of view, interests and find acceptable solutions for a positive outcome through effective communication and listening skills.
They acquire social-emotional skills and strategies which help them build positive relationships, have a sense of right and wrong, reduce incidents of disruptive and violent behaviours. They learn to manage and resolve conflicts effectively in the school and classroom and create peaceful learning environments.
Students learn productive approaches to manage conflicts and solve problems using objective criteria. Strategies to prevent relationships deteriorating as a result of unresolved problems and maintaining respectful relationships. These newly found conflict resolution skills help increase self-esteem, self-respect and self-control.
Conflict can be defined as a serious disagreement, argument or tension. A clash between individuals who perceive a threat to their needs, interests or concerns. A clash of interest. An extended struggle, battle, fight or to disagree with someone over opposite opinions.
Causes of School Conflict
Causes of conflict include disagreements between individuals or groups regarding ideas, interests, principles or values, limited resources, communication problems, disrupting the classroom (such as deliberately dominating class discussions), rivalry between groups, engaging in leisure conversations, causing a scene, a student who is impolite to others in the classroom (such as competing with fellow students or insulting opinions of others), rude, mean, teasing, jealousy, physical aggression and bullying.
Conflict Resolution Styles
Students learn that conflict is normal. They recognize that it is a natural part of life and that it can be resolved peacefully. They develop awareness of their own unique responses to conflict. The five conflict styles, avoiding (avoiding or withdrawing from a conflict), accommodating (giving in), competing (standing your ground), compromising (both parties look for common ground when two sides give up some demands to meet somewhere in the middle), collaborating (The Thomas – Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument) (TKI).
Using inappropriate conflict styles can create more issues. It is not healthy to bottle up feelings like anger and frustration and leaving conflicts unresolved. Collaborating is a combination of being assertive and cooperative, those working together with others to identify a solution that satisfies everyone’s concerns.
The Goals of Conflict Resolution Education
Enhancing Social and Emotional Development in Students
Students acquire social-emotional skills to help them understand and manage emotions, build and maintain healthy relationships, display self-control, feel and show empathy for others. This is the primary function of schools. They learn to interact with other people who are not members of their family.
Creating a Constructive Learning Environment
Teaching conflict resolution skills to students in schools creates a constructive learning environment by improving school climate, classroom climate and academic performance. When a large number of people gather together in the same space there is a potential for conflict. Different people with differing interests and competing needs. Conflict resolution strategies and skills to resolve differences peacefully, manage emotional expressions and deescalate potentially explosive situations without violence.
Creating a Safe Learning Environment
Teaching students conflict resolution strategies equip them with the skills needed to maintain the school as a safe learning environment where everyone feels safe to focus on their studies. In order to have a functioning school system, it is crucial to create a safe learning environment for all students.
Decreasing lncidents of Violence
Training in effective conflict management decreases incidents of violence, bullying and harassment. Students learn to behave and treat others better. These skills can impact their lives and future positively.