Program Teaches Mediation Skills to Kids at Island School
Monday, November, 13, 2017
Seven students from the Island School recently participated in a peer mediation program that will help them learn skills for resolving conflict peacefully. The program has run for eight weeks and takes place at lunch time and during recess. Participants for the program were selected by the school’s counselor based on their personal skills, commitment, and abilities.
The program was the idea of school counselor Chris Thompson. His hope was to teach students how to solve their problems on their own with peer assistance. According to Thompson, “It helps them understand that conflict is always going to occur at every stage of their lives and learning to problem solve is a very important skill to have for success in anything ”.
Mediation sessions take place whenever two or three students are involved in a conflict. The student mediators listen to the problem and then help their peers come up with solutions they all like. Mediators promise to remain neutral and to use leading questions to help their peers reach a solution.
Thompson says of the process, “They listen to both sides of the problem, determine what the issue is and then paraphrase their understanding of how the students dealing with the conflict are feeling. In today’s society, I really think our kids need to communicate more. Peer mediation motivates and teaches students to talk things out rather than fight things out. Students learn to resolve their conflicts collaboratively”.
Students are excited to be a part of the program. One said she wanted to participate in order to stop disputes before they became to overly dramatic at school.