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How to Teach Students to Settle Their Own Disputes

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It is no secret that there is a rise in student disputes for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is as simple as shouting unkind words to each other or as severe as breaking into a physical fight. Teachers are often faced with students who do not gel, students who are tough, and students who do not regard school entirely as the learning institution it was intended to be. When you place a classroom of kids together in one space, there are going to be conflicts. Learn some effects ways on how to teach students to settle their own disputes for a lesson in getting along with others.

Peer Mediation

When a problem arises in the classroom between two students, teachers may opt to have those students leave the classroom and go to the principal’s office. While in some cases this is the only option available, due to the dispute becoming violent, you might consider letting the students work out their problem with a peer mediation session. Peer mediation is where the two fighting students sit with another student to get a third person’s view of the problem. It is a structured setting that provides students the chance to resolve their differences with an objective student’s point of view. Peer mediation helps students resolve their differences without aggression, which could lead to violence.

The “Walk Away” Method

Teaching your students to walk away when a dispute is heated is very important. Teach them that there is no need to get into a disagreement that escalates to violence. Let your students know that walking away from a potentially dangerous situation does not mean they are a chicken. It means that they are aware of danger, and it is a smart decision on your part to avoid the dispute.

Keep Your Students Informed

Make sure that your students understand the consequences of fighting in school or even causing commotion in school. Sometimes students will think twice about getting into an argument, if they know there are serious repercussions to it. They may feel it is not worth their time or effort to even start an argument in the first place. Be sure to place classroom rules in a place where everyone can see them clearly, and talk about the rules at the beginning of a new school year.

Teacher Mediation

Let your students know that you are always available to be the mediator in a dispute. It is their decision to come to you for advice, but you are available. Also let your students know that you need to be aware of any potentially dangerous situations that students may place themselves in, such as planning a fight after school, etc. This is important.

Teach the Importance of Taking Turns

If a dispute between students arises because they are having trouble sharing something, point out the benefits of sharing. For instance, it may be time for recess and two kids want to play with a ball. Point out that instead of playing with the ball by yourself, why not share the ball and play catch? Give children examples and scenarios of how sharing can be good for two people, so that the next time this type of dispute arises, your students will know how to handle it.

Character Exercises

Building character exercises into your curriculum is a good way to teach kids about how to resolve conflicts. Teaching them how to respect others, being honest with others, and how to be compassionate towards others may stick with them in times of dispute. Arming your students with information, such as character training, gives them a chance to practice what they have learned, if they find themselves in a dispute.


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