Nature of School Conflict
Conflict is part of life we cannot hide from it, we cannot wish it away or pretend that it is not happening. It occurs in families, friendships, schools, workplace, neighborhoods and the society in general.
It occurs when two or more people interact either as individuals or as part of a group. There is always potential for conflict in interactions. The potential for conflict is present in a school setting where you interact with your peers.
It is important for students to be aware of that potential for conflict so that they are able to identify a conflict situation and deal with it calmly and constructively.
The inability to resolve conflict without resorting to violence is symptomatic of a youth’s inability to handle confrontation. Teaching good conflict resolution skills and strategies can help students resolve conflict in a peaceful way, reduce incidents of violence and establish healthy relationships.
Conflict Resolution Strategies
Knowledge of conflict resolution enables you in a conflict situation to listen, remain calm, be respectful and treat the other person the way you want to be treated. It helps you be specific about what is bothering you or what you need without attacking the other person, no name calling, yelling, hitting, accusing or threatening the other person.
You learn to avoid exaggerations, stick with the facts and express your honest feelings. Stay in the present and not bring up other problems you have had in the past. You avoid clamming up because positive results can only be attained with two-way communication.
You get to learn to manage anger and your behaviour. You can communicate your needs without threatening, frightening or punishing others. Anger management is important to being able to resolve conflicts in a healthy way. If you are too angry or upset, stop and think of a different way you can handle the situation and meet your needs and those of the other people involved. You can be positive and address issues in a non hostile way.
You can identify and name your emotions in order to regulate them and not escalate the conflict. Rather than acting instinctively on your emotions act in a constructive way. Naming your emotions, angry, enraged, frustrated, sad, hopeless, empty, shocked, depressed, ashamed, worried, confused, guilty, lonely, jealous, nervous,
You come to understand that underlying needs drive the behaviour that worry or challenge us. In many cases, challenging behaviour is the symptom of unmet needs. Something hidden but shapes our responses or reactions.
Using effective needs statements will empower and energize people to see a situation and behaviour in new imaginative ways. Use I – Statements to let others know what they need in a conflict situation. Use I – Statements rather than you statements. I feel hurt when. . instead of you caused me to. Don’t generalize and avoid words like never, always for positive outcomes.
This is really listening to the other person and try to see the problem from their perspective. Listening without interrupting. It is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding. Examples of active listening skills include demonstrating concern, paraphrasing to show understanding, using nonverbal cues which show understanding such as nodding, eye contact and leaning forward. Brief verbal affirmations like ‘l see’ ‘l know’ ‘sure’ ‘Thank you’ or ‘ l understand’.
5 Steps of Conflict Resolution
1. Calm down. When angry or upset. Cool off, cool down. Focus on the problem not on the personalities. This will enable you appraise the situation objectively and deal with it constructively. 2. Listen carefully. Listen well to understand the perspectives and needs of the other person. 3. Talk about it. Address the real issue. Ask what is the real source of the conflict and deal with it directly.
Take responsibility for your role in the conflict. Think about settling the issues not about winning. Use respectful but assertive l statements. ( I feel hurt when…). Ask non defensive questions to clarify issues. 4. Brainstorm solutions. Search for options together to solve the problem. Choose a solution acceptable to all involved. 5. Learn from it. Think of what you could have done differently and how you will handle the situation in future. This helps develop good negotiation skills.
Conflict Resolution Activities
Learning to mediate between others. Peer mediation programmes help students resolve disputes including conflict that has turned violent. Trained mediators work with their peers to resolve the dispute they cannot resolve themselves. This reinforces cooperative behaviour and teaches effective communication.
Role-play helps students learn empathy and social skills like cooperation, self-control, teamwork and understanding of different perspectives.