Set aside purposeful time to teach your students effective methods to manage conflict in a healthy way.
Conflict Resolution in the Classroom for Teachers
Role playing can be a very effective method for beginning to resolve conflicts.
When students are placed in opposing roles than what they may play in a real life situation, it teaches them empathy and forces them to look at actions from another point of view.
1. Cool off
First, before problem-solving can begin, the students need time to calm down. For younger students, have them take some deep breaths.
2. Share, listen, check
Students need to listen to each other share their issues, and then check that they understand them. This can take practice and coaching from a teacher. When sharing, students should use respectful but assertive “I statements,” like “”I feel sad when you don’t let me play because I am alone.” Students check back with statements that show what they understand that the other person said. For example, "I think I heard you say that you feel lonely."
3. Take responsibility
Once students have shared their perspectives, they need to take responsibility for their own actions. You can prompt students by asking them an open-ended question like, “What could you have done differently to change what happened?”
4. Brainstorm solutions
Now the students can work together to find a solution that’s acceptable to both. This is a good time for students to learn to compromise. It can be helpful for a teacher to start the discussion with some suggestions, but it’s best that the ideas come from the students.
5. Choose a solution
Students now go over their brainstormed list of solutions to eliminate the ones that aren’t good for both of them and ones that won’t address future problems.
6. Affirm, forgive, or thank
Students can close out the session by acknowledging what happened and forgiving the other student (if an apology or forgiveness is warranted). They can then thank each other for working on the solution together.
Read Alouds for Conflict Resolution