The modern world moves faster than ever. News spreads. Thoughts are shared within seconds; responses roll in soon after. Considering how fast people move, it is understandable that some experience a certain amount of friction.
Conflict can arise at any given moment. It can be as mundane as two cars trying to occupy the same parking spot, or so heartbreaking that it leads someone to violence. Add the often-unbridled energy of adolescence, and it becomes clear that teachers should learn to navigate conflict with ease and deft.
Teachers face new challenges that require new skills.
Consider school a microcosm of society. There are people from entirely different backgrounds trying to reconcile their independent perspectives and interests as everyone around them does the same. When two face disagreement about their closely-held positions, it helps to have some type of intervening force to bring about a positive outcome.
With the alarming rise of school shootings, teachers find themselves uniquely positioned to reach students and help them learn skills to dissolve tension.
Conflict is an opportunity…
Every clash is composed of a series of decisions that either made the situation better or made it worse. Taking the view that conflict is an opportunity for growth, teachers can learn to see problems in school as areas for improvement.
Mediation, because of the skills involved, can help construct a solid foundation from which teachers lead their classrooms and equip students for more successful futures. The communication skills developed by mediation training help clarify positions, and encourage their rectification.
Calm intervention in a dispute in order to resolve it, as well as fair follow-up, can make all the difference in good and bad outcomes. A mediator’s main goal is safeguarding their role as a neutral third party, which nurtures trust and willingness to participate in good faith within the parties involved. By this measure, teachers can demonstrate social leadership to students in tangible and practical ways.
Furthermore, by espousing collaborative problem-solving, teachers can equip students with critical-thinking skills that will last a lifetime. Mediation encourages participants to determine for themselves what is important and facilitate their own solutions — crucial skills for navigating a successful life.
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