ERIC Number: ED421587
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Jul
Teaching Conflict and Conflict Resolution in School: (Extra-) Curricular Considerations.
Schools can play an important part in helping diverse young people see themselves as citizens. This paper examines a broad range of school-based learning opportunities that influence young people's development of knowledge and inclinations for handling conflict. The ingredients for conflict resolution can be taught. Like violence, nonviolence is a learned behavior. As public concern over violence increases, school leaders often respond with what has been called "negative peacemaking," the premature use of bargaining or settlement procedures before underlying problems have been solved or understood. The goal is avoidance, not problem solving. In contrast, "positive liberty" procedures involve the presence of active democratic participation. These alternative emphases in education for citizenship are the conceptual framework for reviewing the research on a range of school-based conflict resolution training programs to examine the relative space given to negative peacemaking and positive liberty in school practices. Violence prevention and anti-bullying programs generally involve narrowly focused training in social skills and anger management. Many of these interventions single out particular populations, disproportionately ethnic minority males, considered to be "at-risk." School peer conflict resolution programs are popular, and, if properly presented, can move beyond negative peacemaking to broaden the positive liberty students experience. Making student governance activities relevant gives students the opportunity to engage in democratic decision making and helps develop an understanding of conflict and its resolution. Conflict resolution may be taught explicitly. Controversial subject matter may be damaging to some students without careful attention to inclusive and respectful instructional processes, but the inclusion of controversial and conflictual questions can bring previously silenced young people into pedagogical conversations. Conflict resolution can easily be infused into literature, mathematics, and science classes as well as the social studies area to which it has been traditionally assigned. Important opportunities for long-term conflict management learning exist in the everyday processes of a school community. If students have positive liberty, they can develop the skills they need to participate in the nonviolent management of conflict as citizens. (Contains 131 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Connections '97 International Social Studies Conference (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, July 1997).