With violence in schools heading the news, ways to defuse violence have also become news. Conflict resolution supports peace in schools by teaching skills and processes for solving problems before they escalate to violence.
From theater that makes conflict resolution come alive for children to organizations dedicated to training in conflict resolution, the Internet abounds in Web sites focusing on the subject. The following are just some of the Web sites you might visit to learn more about conflict resolution.
Educators for Social Responsibility
ESR provides innovative curriculum materials and teacher training programs that "focus on issues of peacemaking and conflict resolution." The site says, "Our work fosters social, emotional, and ethical development among children by helping them learn to care about others, resolve conflict nonviolently, solve problems cooperatively, value diversity, make responsible decisions, confront prejudice, and take positive, meaningful action." Through materials, workshops, conferences, and on-site training, each year ESR reaches more than 25,000 educators. ESR's most far-reaching initiative, the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program, is a comprehensive K-12 school-based program in conflict resolution that provides a model for preventing violence and nurturing caring learning communities. More than 350 U.S. schools have used this program.
The Center for Conflict Resolution
The center's goal is to replace adversarial and violent means of resolving conflict with nonviolent, collaborative processes and techniques. To that end, the center provides ways for individuals and groups "to communicate constructively, thoughtfully, and compassionately and ... enhance cooperation among people in conflict so that they see their mutual involvement and responsibility." The staff includes trained judges, lawyers, government officials, and office workers, and the center involves teachers, children, parents, CEO's, university and hospital administrators, police officers, and social workers, among others. Training is designed to address the specific needs of the individual group involved. The center can supply teachers, materials, ideas, and guidance to teach skills for use inside or outside the classroom. The Web site includes links to mediation/conflict resolution resources, peace-building resources, and peace studies resources.
NIDR, through its newsletters and journal, provides timely information on applications of conflict resolution in our society. It is a vast source of books and other resources on conflict resolution. The Conflict Resolution Education Network (CREnet) is a national and international clearinghouse for information and resources for teachers and students and technical assistance in conflict resolution and education. This Web site includes a catalog search to hunt for conflict resolution materials, a regional list of programs and practitioners in conflict resolution, links to other organizations and resources, and employment and volunteer opportunities in conflict resolution.
The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution
The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution is a resource for older students, teachers, and practitioners in fields relating to conflict elimination. "It strives to be a free, yet valuable, source of information to aid anyone trying to work toward a less violent and more cooperative world." The current on-line issue includes articles on military intervention in Lesotho and integrating Buddhist philosophy and peacemaking theory. The site includes an archive of on-line journals and subscription information.
Conflict Resolution, Research and Resource Institute
In its mission statement, CRI says it "teaches and practices the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict in the community, the nation, and the world through the utilization of time-tested theories, processes, and techniques [that] ensure equitable, practical, and lasting agreements." CRI provides in-house training for, among others, secondary and higher education institutions. Its most popular courses include In Pursuit of Promises: The Course in Collaborative Negotiations and Cooperative Problem-Solving; Mediation and Impasse Resolution; and Cross-Cultural Communications and Competency. The Web site provides a partial listing of disputes in which CRI has mediated resolutions.
Seeds of Peace
Seeds of Peace sows the seeds of friendship among children growing up in war zones. It is a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization that brings together young people from the Middle East as well as kids from other areas at war, such as Bosnia, Serbia, and U.S. inner cities. Although your school won't participate directly, your students will find explore the Web site of this organization educational. Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine creates a neutral, peaceful environment in which Arab and Israeli young people experience every aspect of life together. The teenagers take part in traditional camp activities, including sports, art, drama, and music. They play together as teammates and learn to depend on one another for success. From May 1 to May 7, 1998, Seeds of Piece hosted the first Middle East Youth Summit in Villars, Switzerland. Seventy-five youths from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, and the United States drafted an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty that they later presented to their leaders and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Overall, this site is a good one to explore when considering whether kids can succeed where adults have often failed.
J. Gary Mitchell Film Company Video Catalog
In two videos, younger children learn to use listening skills to resolve conflict and find a win/win resolution to a problem. Tell 'Em How You Feel features Adam, who learns that telling others how he feels is the first step toward resolving conflicts. This video is for the K-3 audience. Sooper Puppy: Words Can Hurt uses puppets and animation to teach children lessons about name-calling, respecting others, and controlling anger.
Worldview Publishing, Inc.
This Web site offers video resources dealing with conflict resolution, social skills, and discipline for preteens, teenagers, parents, and educators. Developed by educators and counselors, these resources include Right Choices, which consists of 28 video lessons and supporting materials that deal with conflict resolution, social skills, and discipline.
Article by Sharon Cromwell
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