Guide for teachers , staff assistants and school administrators
Guide for Teachers,
Staff Assistant and School Administrator
In Conflict Resolution and Mediation
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This
publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be
responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION TO CONFLICT THEORY ................................................... 4
What is conflict...................................................................................................................................................4
Sourses of conflict..............................................................................................................................................5
Types of conflict in the schools .....................................................................................................................7
Methods of prevention,resolution and mediation of conflicts in educational settings..................8
GOOD PRACTICES EXAMPLES FOR PREVENTION, RESOLUTIONAND
MEDIATION OF CONFLICTS........................................................................ 11
1. AssociazioneCulturaleAssodeon (Italy, Ortona) .............................................................................. 11
1.1. Body, Theatre and serious games......................................................................................................11
1.2. “Socio-cultural changes and adolescence: the basis of intergenerational conflicts”.13
2. Baltic Franchise Foundation (Latvia)................................................................................................... 17
2.1. Communicating, Coaching, Cooking.................................................................................................17
2.2. Narrative Mediation in the School....................................................................................................19
3. LiceoClassicoStatale “QuintoOrazioFlacco” (Italy, Potenza)...................................................... 22
3.1 Experimental Approach DIG UP TO THE SELF.............................................................................23
4. Argonauts Business Development LTD (Cyprus)............................................................................ 28
4.1. Empower cooperation and teamwork through games............................................................28
4.2. ”Remove the Power”, an anti-bullying program.........................................................................29
4.3. Preparation of ”Code of Behaviour” .................................................................................................29
4.4. Conflict resolution through ”Health Education” class..............................................................30
4.5. Meetings with the parents (Cyprus) .................................................................................................30
5. ColegiulTehnic Gheorghe Cartianu (Romania) ................................................................................ 31
5.1. Improvement of communication skills............................................................................................31
5.2. Mediation in the School..........................................................................................................................33
5.5. Educational Theatre................................................................................................................................37
5.7. Human library ...........................................................................................................................................38
“The Guide for Teachers, Staff Assistant and School Administrator” was completed
as a result of the project “SchoolMed” within the Lifelong Learning Programme. This
project meant to raise awareness of adult learners on the theme of conflict by
addressing problematic situations that occur in educational settings. School
administrators, staff assistance, teachers, parents, were the direct target as well as the
students were also the final beneficiaries of project activities. The main focus was the
general difficulty managing conflicts largely arising from psycho – dynamic-
relational shortcomings in the classroom. In such a context School Med was an
initiative oriented to design a range of handy intervention strategies through two –
years international collaboration in the field of mediation.
The project involved five organizations from fore the European countries. These were
AssociazioneCulturaleAssodeon (Italy), Baltic Franchise Foundation (Latvia),
LiceoClassicoStatale “QuintoOrazioFlacco” (Italy), M. C. Argonauts Business
Development LTD (Cyprus) and ColegiulTehnic Gheorghe Cartianu (Romania).
One of the objectives of the intervention strategy within the project was the creation
of a “Guide for Teachers, Staff Assistant and School Administrator in Conflict
Resolution and Mediation”. It includes conflict prevention methods that can be used
to support the efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts in educational settings.
The visual image of the project “School Med”was adopted an idea of dance as a
symbol of harmony. Dance and conflict resolution have many similar components:
listening, understanding, respect, mutual learning, etc. Dance can also be considered
as a symbolic way of conflict resolution. It fulfils life and lets us imagine perfect,
harmonic daily life like light steps and beautiful movements without any conflicts.
Dance indicates that we can be artists and learn to manage and mediate conflicts
well.Project partner AssociazioneCulturaleAssodeon from Italy suggested adopted a
picture “Dance” by Anri Matisse for project materials.
INTRODUCTION TO CONFLICT THEORY
What is conflict
A term “conflict” is often defined by words like “quarrel”, “dispute”, “dissent”,
“fight”, “war” referring to the presence of verbal disputes, assaults and violent acts.
Interpersonal conflict involves presence of two or more parties (individuals or
groups), existence of real or just perceived differences, incompatibilities in the goals,
needs, individual characteristics, emergence of tensions. In most cases people tend to
assign a negative connotation to it, conflict is considered as something unpleasant,
undesirable and should be avoided or resolved quickly.
Conflict is also a natural part of social life that cannot be eradicated from human
interactions. According to a constructive approach it can become a factor of social
change and personal development. School environment that develops and promotes
social interaction of individuals can also be influenced by the manifestation of
conflict. Resolved in a constructive way, conflict can lead to better problem – solving
skills and decision-making. It can lead to improved relations and increased social
Schools have traditionally been expected to teach children academic skills. Schools
are also places where students interact with one another, their teachers, and
educational administrators. Many educators believe student behaviour affects
academic achievement; therefore, negative behaviour has always been a concern to
educators. In the last decades, the concern about student behaviour has escalated to
alarm. Negative interactions may lead to learning problems because students who
spend time arguing and fighting have little time or energy for academic pursuits.
News reports in many countries including the participating ones show how the school
has become the protagonist in new forms of violence. In addition to conflicts, bullying
is considered to be a very serious form of relational abuse addressed either to students
Traditional disciplinary practices include various forms of punishment based on the
assumption that if negative behaviours are eliminated, the classroom climate will be
conducive to learning. Many models of traditional discipline include building positive
rapport with students to reduce negative interactions. "Logical" or "natural"
consequences are used to extinguish negative behaviour when it arises. Consequences
usually begin with a warning, followed, in sequence, by an in – class time out,
segregation from peers and missing a recess. They escalate to noon – hour or after
school detention. The most serious offences require parent meetings and suspensions.
After numerous disciplinary interactions, a student may be permanently expelled.
In traditional models of discipline, adults are responsible for managing student
behaviour. Students are expected to follow the rules or live with the consequences.
They seem to be expected to behave in a socially appropriate manner with little
opportunity to practice responsibility. Most of these schools have not implemented a
strategy for the management and positive transformation of the conflicts.
Positive conflict solving is very important also as the job market has become more
and more competitive, high school graduation has become a minimum requirement
for all students. Academic skills are judged as important but the ability to work
cooperatively and constructively with peers and supervisors has become as important.
A growing body of research suggests that although many students do not possess the
social skills necessary to interact cooperatively and constructively, these skills can be
taught. Educators searching for a way to reduce negative interactions and increase
positive ones are finding that school – based conflict management and mediation
programs can provide a structure for students to acquire positive interaction skills.
Improved social skills can help students to achieve success at school and in the
Sourses of conflict
The possible sources of conflict are poor communication, competition for common
but scarce resources, incompatible goals and the like.1
Fisher (1997) notes, “…both
individuals and groups have undeniable needs for identity, dignity, security, equity,
participation in decisions that affect them. Frustration of these basic needs….
becomes a source of social conflict”.2
According to Plunkett and Attner (1989), the sources of conflict include; shared
resources, differences in goals, difference in perceptions and values, disagreements in
the role requirements, nature of work activities, individual approaches, and the stage
of organizational development.3
Gray and Stark (1984) suggested that there are six sources of conflict. These are:
1) Limited resources;
2) Interdependent work activities;
3) Differentiation of activities;
4) Communication problems;
5) Differences in perceptions;
6) The environment of the organization.
According to these writers, conflict can also arise from a number of other sources,
1) Individual differences (some people enjoy conflict while others don't);
2) Unclear authority structures (people don't know how far their authority extends);
3) Differences in attitudes;
4) Task symmetries (one group is more powerful than another and the weaker group
tries to change the situation);
5) Difference in time horizons4
(some departments have a long-run view and others
have a short -run view).
Campbell, R.F., Carbally, J.E., Nustrand, R.O. (1983).Introduction to educational administration.(6th
edition). Boston: Allyn and Bacon Inc. P.187
Gray, J.L and Strake, F.A. (1984).Organizational behavior – concepts and applications.(3rd edition).
Columbus Bell and Howell Company. P.483-386
Plunkett, W. R., Attner, F. R. (1989).Introduction to management. Boston: PWs-Kent Publishing,
Gray, J.L., Strake, F. A. (1984). Organizational behavior – concepts and applications.(3rd edition).
Columbus Bell and Howell Company. P.483–386
The classification of conflict is often made on the basis of the antecedent conditions
that lead to conflict. Conflict may also originate from a number of sources, such as
tasks, values, goals, and so on.
Whatever is the type of conflict, it cannot last forever, pressure is leading to
escalation or a conflict is solved. Much important is the phase of preconflict
intervention. If more signs or symptoms that are hiding in future conflicts are better
diagnosed and known, the likelihood of their resolution increases. The symptoms and
stages of conflicts are the following: discomfort, incidents, misunderstandings,
1. Discomfort. It is the easiest form of conflict. An individual feels vaguely that
something is wrong and appear sporadically emotions and thoughts about it.
Discomfort may have been built in time or, conversely, can be consumed on the spot.
Not always it is clear that the person experiences it, because she or he does not
communicate verbally about it.
2. Incident. It is an unexpected conflict, but it is not devastating. It may consist of a
short exchange and / or acute words, gestures or actions disturbing. Echo is short, a
few minutes / days.
3. Misunderstanding. Is a discrepancy between the meaning transmitted and the
meaning received. Communication is unclear, it leads to misunderstanding or
confusion of motives and deeds. Typically, each sees the other responsible for
impaired communication. It may take such forms as: assigning a different meaning to
a keyword, shifting focus to another word or group of words, loss of significant
context, "reading between lines".
4. Tension. Tension is similar to discomfort, but it is more intense. Change occurs
(negativity) attitude consistently and unequivocally, possibly accompanied by fixed
opinions. Each new circumstance confirms and aggravates this negative attitude.
Mutual perception is altered and the relationship becomes a source of concern.
5. Crisis. Crisis is the most obvious manifestation of the conflict, verbal or physical
violence occurs. Behaviour is beyond its reasonable control.
Cornelius, H., Faire, S. (1996).Everyone can win: how to resolve conflict.Australia: Simon &
Types of conflict in the schools
Every person within a school community can be involved in conflicts, and students
especially conflict over a wide range of issues.6
Many of these issues – name –
calling, boyfriend and girlfriend difficulties, gossip, borrowing things and not
returning them – may not have great consequences for adults.Other conflicts are more
serious and may involve physical violence, racism, gangs, sexual harassment or other
disagreement between different conflicting parties.In most cases people react
according to well – trodden paths: they avoid a reproach, accommodate a plan,
negotiate and sometimes they fight with an opponent. 7
Types of conflicts in a school:
Image 1: Parties of people what may be involved in conflicts in schools.
1. Conflicts between children –
based usually on unfair affirmation at any cost, envy, mutual antipathy, discrepancies
of character, fighting for dominance in a group, poor communication, inappropriate
expression of emotions, lack of conflict resolution skills, misuse of power by the
2. Conflicts between children and parents - may have conflicts about habits and
lifestyles. They may have different opinions and ways of communicating and
expressing themselves. These differences can lead to a conflict.
3. Conflicts between teachers and children – based on multiple causes, including
blockages of communication, there are discrepancies between the system of criteria
Cohen, R. (2005). Students resolving conflict: peer mediation in schools.(2nd edition). Tucson: Good
Year Book. P.34.
Van der Vliert, E. (1997). Complex interpersonal conflict behaviour: theoretical frontiers.Hove:
Psychology Press. P.3.
used in evaluating teachers and students, between norms and values, teacher – student
relationship type authoritarian.
4. Conflicts betweenparents may be based on content issues like household chores,
money and relationship topics like love, power, and parental attantion. However, in
the real life this distinction is hardly ever clear-cut. Gottman and Silver8
solvable and perpetual types of conflict. Solvable conflicts (e.g., where to go on
vacation, the colar of a new car) are part of families alldays life and can be resolved
with the rigth conflict resolution tactics. Perpetual conflicts are deeply rooted in
disagreements over lager issues (e.g., values, roles and prsonality traits) and they
resurface again and again and can not be resolved. Nevertheles more couples find
ways to cop with this conflicts (e.g., by keeping open dialog and humor about the
issues). However this kind of conflics can harm to the children and affect social
envoiroment, including school.
5. Conflicts betweenteachers and parents– have such main causes as poor
communication or misunderstandings due to the small number of contacts during the
study process and parents may have prejudices based on their past experiences.
6. Conflicts betweenteachers – determined, above all, the struggle to obtain benefits
(for example getting gradation or merit pay), the struggle to obtain managerial
positions (Head of Department or methodical commission, member of the
Management Board, Director Deputy chief inspector) or affirmation (obtaining
awards for their students‟ participation in various school competitions) etc.
Conflicts can begin outside the school and lead to problems within the building or
they can start at school and reach a climax in the community.9
The social environment,
legal and institutional context and other factors may play an important role in conflict
situations. They may have an impact on the nature of conflicts and possible methods
of intervention and conflict resolution.
Methods of prevention,resolution and mediation of conflicts in educational
In conflict resolution nowadays very important is managing and
maintainingmutuallybeneficial attitude, relationship and communication of conflicting
Managing conflicts is as much about managing relationships and the
diversity that comes with them.11
A number of approaches have recognized that
dealing with conflicts12
and prevention in educational settings require both school and
community response. Among methods of conflict resolution, prevention an emphasis
8Gottman,J.M.&Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Crown.
Cohen, R. (2005). Students resolving conflict: peer mediation in schools.(2nd edition). Tucson: Good
Year Book. P.34.
Chilton, S., WyantCuzzo, M. S. (2005).Habermas‟s theory of communicative action as a theoretical
framework for mediation practice.Conflict Resolution Quarterly 22, 3. P.5.
Christie, D. J. (2012).The encyclopedia of peace psychology.(1stedition). Oxford: Blackwell
Publishing Ltd. P.234.
in put on peacekeeping in schools and communities and teaching students and others
to be peacemakers. It implies the idea of more peaceful society and the school as a
part of it.
Mediation is an approach of conflict resolution, which assists individuals to work
together to resolve a conflict or dispute.13
Mediators act as guides to those who have a
conflict. The role of a mediator is to help the parties to make not only strong
statements of position, but also assertions that are open to ongoing
Everyone can express attitude, desire and needs. Mediators help people
preserve, fix and renew their underlying communicative relationship with each other.
Even when facing impasse mediators can help parties discuss the conditions under
which they can preserve human relationship as they agree to disagree. In these
situations he can helpalsoto submit an issue to some compulsory resolution process.
Mediation is useful in conflict resolutions. A new surge of interest15
in mediation has
brought it to the fore of modern conflict resolution practice. Mediation presents a
powerful opportunity to express and achieve a higher vision of human life. It is both
diverse and pluralistic, mediation has various forms and approaches.
Image 2: A role of a mediator in resolution of conflicts in a school.
According to Flecknoe, Johnson and Johnson (Flecknoe, 2005; Johnson and Johnson
in schools that have used mediation as a part of a strategy for managing
conflicts and decreasing violence, have been positive results for the reduction of
violence. There has been some change in attitudes and personal benefits also for the
peer mediators in terms of self – esteem and confidence.Schools are well placed to
Chilton, S., WyantCuzzo, M. S. (2005).Habermas‟s theory of communicative action as a theoretical
framework for mediation practice.P.17–45.
Picard, C. A. (2002).Mediating interpersonal and small group conflict. Ottawa: The Golden Dog
Christie, D. J. (2012).The encyclopedia of peace psychology.(1stedition).Oxford: Blackwell
educate about sustainable relationships, whereby students learn that managing
conflicts can lead to working relationships through negotiation and needsmet.17
is anapproach, which resolves conflict through placing those
involved in it at the centre of finding their own solutions.Whenanother harms one
member of the community, it is the relationship, which is damaged. School based
restorative justice is therefore concerned with relational rehabilitation. The needs of
all the community are considered, not just those of the victim and perpetrator.
Restorative justice promotes telling the truth, taking responsibility and creates
accountability.The literature review proves that negotiation, attitude and mediation
has variety of benefits and is significant nowadays in conflict resolution and
Picard, C. A. (2002).Mediating interpersonal and small group conflict. P.18.
Christie, D. J. (2012).The encyclopedia of peace psychology.(1stedition).P.235.
GOOD PRACTICES EXAMPLES FOR PREVENTION,
RESOLUTIONAND MEDIATION OF CONFLICTS
In “SchoolMed” project the participating partners from different countries promoted
actions aiming to preserve and safeguard the education world and all the actors living
in it: students, teachers, parents, tutors and others. Each partner used his different
experience in terms of the content and methods to implement trainings and workshops
for the target group. All of them complemented each other, contributed to reaching
the project objectives and provided the solutions to the identified problems. It helped
the target group to integrate conflict resolution skills into their professional practice
and their personal lives.
1. AssociazioneCulturaleAssodeon (Italy, Ortona)
AssociazioneCulturaleAssodeon (Assodeon) is a cultural association working on the
field of Mediation of every kind: cultural mediation, social mediation, school
mediation and conflict resolution that is the topic of their interest in this proposal. In
particular, its mission is to transform schools into safer, more caring, and more
effective institutions. Through the work the organization:
• Encourage young people to become leaders in their schools;
• Help students and educators see conflict as an opportunity for personal and
• Teach students and educators the skills to resolve conflict non-violently and
• Mediate challenging conflicts at educators' requests;
• Disseminate an approach to problem solving that values diversity and respects
differences of opinion;
• Provide educators with the knowledge, experience and the materials necessary to
integrate collaborative conflict resolution processes into their professional practices,
their curricula, and their personal lives.
Assodeon offers a range of mediation, facilitation, and training services. It specializes
inmediation, negotiation, conflict management, communication, appreciation of
Diversity.Assodeon services are tailored to meet each school's unique needs. The
audience for the services include students (grades 4 through college), teachers,
administrators, staff and parents. In some training programs, students and adults are
trained together. Assodeon pays special attention to the issue of institutional change
and strives to create interventions that have a lasting impact. The association also
places primary importance upon providing culturally relevant services.
1.1. Body, Theatre and serious games
Nowadays, school is the longer and the most important social experience for children,
teenagers and young people. School is the centre of human education par excellence.
All the educative dreams, political utopias, educational experiment but also problems,
contradictions, unsolved tangles, different cultures and contemporary world view
merge into the school.
Society today is characterized by a lack of clear cultural examples, therefore school
today plays a basic role, especially because of the high number of distress
manifestations; for this reason, it cannot deal only with students professional
education because students today are worried about their life, their personal projects,
their relationship with family and friends.
School today is not only teaching but has a a plurality of functions; its duty it‟s not
only to educate good citizens or workers, but it must work on increasing individuals‟
skills of being free, actors of their own life and also builders of their own society.
The real change in school is in the passage from teaching to communication,
highlighting the expression skill more than the comprehension of written and oral
messages, because it‟s through daily interaction that we can understand others, can
talk with others, can acquire democracy and learn to live together.
Theatre can activate deep psychological processes and, as a mediation mean, can
guide every educational agents, such as teachers, educators, parents, in defining
students‟ expressive and cultural stereotypes in order to develop new cultural
examples and different civilization means.
Theatre doesn‟t have the magic power to erase all students‟ distresses but can
definitely decrease them focusing on individuals, giving them the change of being
what they want to be, unlike scholastic and family institution.
Theatre is not just entertainment, but also a duty. It deals with individual and social
education. It joins imagination and reality, mind and body, public and private. It puts
together order and play. It makes adults and young people talk.
We are talking about a theatre that is not only traditional theatre, but it‟s fraught with
society, it‟s the sum of all arts, of all possible emotions, energies and intuitions, of
everything that is important in order to discover a new Self, new creativity, new
Hence the need of directing an artistic and cultural educative path for all the adults
working in young people‟s education field: teachers, social workers, educators,
principals and parents as well, in order to update knowledge and expand
The following workshops has been realized within the period of March and May 2012
and March and May 2013:
1.1.1. Body Essence
This workshop focuses on body as the first research mean and goal: researching,
investigating the relationship between body and expression, discovering how the
inside can speak and express itself through the body.
Body, better than words, can show all its sufferings and joys.
It‟s a study which, through body, helps us to go back to origins, to talk with our own
selves, made of personal experience, meetings, things done, seen and felt.
Using his own body, the individual recognizes and differentiates himself from the
others and the surrounding world. Through physical presence, he establishes a
relationship with or a distance from outside elements, limits his space and through
movement he intervenes on the outside world, interacting with it in order to show or
defend his life.
Body is the essential mean to comprehend the human being, especially in the vital
connection between the outer and the inner self: a feeling, an emotion, a mental and
spiritual path, are compulsorily bond to body expression; the voice as well is the
result of a body movement and so a mean of inside research.
Daily experiences lead to bodily and mental automation, which inhibits creativity and
decreases investigating possibilities and biographical memory.
Learning and aware using of movement expression define important goals
in psychophysical well-being of individuals, in both self-knowledge and interpersonal
relationships; through this study, individual develops self-esteem, frees the body,
oppressed by everyday life and by society, and prepares himself to a new
1.1.2. Born to read
BORN TO READ – in collaboration with ORTONA CITY LIBRARY
Love for reading through a gesture of love: an adult reads a story.
The Born to read Project, promoted in Italy by the Pediatricians Cultural Association,
the Italian Libraries Association and the Child Health Centre, is based on the concept
that every child has the right to be protected not only by diseases and violence, but
also by the lack of proper occasions of emotional and cognitive development. Since
1999, Born to read project aims at promoting reading aloud to children. Recent
scientific researches, demonstrate that reading aloud to children has a positive
influence in both relational (it‟s an opportunity of communication between child and
parents) and cognitive development (favours a better improvement of language
comprehension and reading skill). It also consolidates the reading habit which goes
on in the future thanks to an early approach to relationship with adults.
In Ortona, the projects is realized in the City Library CIPI (Interactive Centre for
1.1.3. Impro: a seriuos game
Put together voice and body, thorugh a series of excercises and games aimed at
favouring interaction and at opening ourselves to others.
The worshops for teachers, school administrator and staff assistance were held in
Ortona Public Library in three steps (8th
of March 2012; 22nd
of March 2012;
of April 2012).
1.2. “Socio-cultural changes and adolescence: the basis of intergenerational
The workshop for teachers had as starting point a survey titled “Socio-cultural
changes and adolescence: the basis of intergenerational conflict” realised by the
University of Chieti – Department of Sociology - UniversitySociology Centre for
social, working and relationaldistress, in particular by Prof. Leonardo Benvenuti and
his assistant, Ms. FiorellaPaone.
In order to analyse the situation of adolescents in Italy and of the conflicts with
theireducators, itisimportant to considerthem in an
ecologicalperspectivethatinvestigates the context in whichtheydevelop,
consideredastheirpremise and base.
Adolescentsshouldsucceed in organisingtheir entry in adultsocietythanks to the
determination of theirpersonality and the continuity of theirownproject of life. An
awakeningcharacterized by a feeling of omnipotence and lonelinessas the realisation
of theirevolutionbeyondtheirparents, friends, teachers and beyond the same sex to
letthemdiscover the real Self. Adolescentsarguewitheverybody, because the
individual, in order to communicate with them, should be able to confront with them
and therefore be inside their convention-conviction, butif the individualgives up or
loses in the comparison, he‟sconsidered an adultnotworthy of respect
In Italythere‟s a feeling of uneasinessgrowingamong the pre-adolescents and the
adolescentsespecially in schoolcontext and more oftenat the beginning of
secondaryschool. A survey made amongpupilsatschoolrevealsthat:
What do youthinkaboutschool? “I likeitverymuch”:
- Germany: 28% boys / 22% girls;
- England: 31% boys / 33% girls;
- France: 13% boys / 19% girls;
- USA: 24% boys / 27% girls;
- Italy: 7% boys / 11% girls.
- theydon't bear chalk and talkanymore;
- theyask for respect;
- theywant to be trusted;
- theywanttheiropinions to be considered and theywant to be appreciated;
- theywantto live theirownpassions;
- theywant to create, using the toolsoftheir time;
- theywant to work together with theircoetaneous to realiseprojects;
- theywant to decide and beinginvolved in the projectsimplementation;
- theywant to be connected with theircoetaneous to express and share theiropinions, in
classand out of the school;
- theywant to cooperate and compete with others;
- theywant the education to be tiedalso to theirdaily life.
Young peoplehavelostconfidencein study and in theirpresenceatschool, alsoifithas a
centralrole in theirdaily life.
Teachers are inadequate to understand and to conform to the actualconditions of life,
different from the previuosones, and notpreparedtointervene in an effective way.
Between1998 and 2011 the participation to extra-scholasticcoursesgrew
andthismeans an importantaddition to the experience of life of manyyoungs.
The questionisthatthesecoursestakesplaceout of the school.
Family, as agency of socialization, seems to suffer a loss of power of itsownrole and
of the valuesitshouldtransmit, lost in the multiplicity of stimuli to which the
youthissubmitted. The presence of NEET (Not in education, employment or training)
isaEuropean record for Italy. Since2010, because of the crisis, 126.000 youngs, thatis
the 30,1% of population, don't work, don'tstudy and don'tattend to
anyvocationalcourse : strong risk of social exclusion.
The invasion of stimuli, expecially multimedia, contributesatmodifying the
experiences of socialization. Theymostlydevelop some dimensions and quality of the
experience (i.e: fast movement, aggressiveness, actingwithoutthinking) and the loss of
others (calm, reflection, attention). The communicationcontextchanges and
influencesthesocial background and the behaviour of each.
Adolescent, whileadults work and deal with daily management of the family and the
house, have a lot of chances of growth:
They go to school, make sport, frequentrecreationalcontexts, watchtelevision, use the
computer, surf on internet, chat, use the mobile phone, play with videogames. There's
[education and media] and youngpeopleknowledgetoday: Knowledge goes on and
adultsgetbehind. The criterionsat the base of the new generation learningprocess are
changed and nowadaysthey are often far from the pastones. The dominant medium is
no more the typographicone(book), reference for adult generation, butit‟s the so-
calledoral and multisensorial of the new technologicalforms of
communication:itmodifies the quantity of received information butalso the way of
remembering and managingthem. A new idea of time
isestablishingamongyoungpeople and it'sbased on: instantaneity, multidimensionality,
reversibility, asymmetry, acceleration.
Thiscould cause the affirmation of a behavioralmodelthatdoesn'tbear
theabsence of stimuli, adaptability, waiting, elaboration, thinking and
thinksthatstarting a path with non-immediate resultsisfrustrating
Before starting the practical work with teachers, there were a debate with them to
gather information information about the actual situation of children/adolescents:
- challenge against adults;
- inability of adolescents to use their own creativity;
- lack of manual skill, attention and desire to try;
- adolescent fragility and continuous requirement of attention by teachers;
- lack of dialogue inside the families;
- need to involve them;
- conflict as defence mechanism;
- personal relations based on text messages with mobiles or the internet -> lack
of real contact and distance from reality;
- wish to speed up things.
And teachers were left free to give their own proposals about how to improve
communication with pupils:
- Modernization of the great classical, with changes inthe approach and research
of a new communicationchannel with adolescents;
- Stimulate young students to a comparative analysis between text and its
representation (film or theater): aesthetics and content;
- Focus on manual creation, in order to create a touchable outcome;
- Body awareness, as first element of non-verbal communication.
The main part of the workshop was divided in three parts, described as following:
First part: work on bodyfocused on raisingconsciousness of ourown body
through the followingexercises:
- Focus on breathing (inhale/exhale);
- Attention to details;
- Bodyabandoned to breath, with soft movements;
andalso on the affirmation of ourselvestogether with the other
through the followingexercises
- Work in the center: theball of energy
- Work in the space: dance of the name
Second part: working with the bodyfocusing on activities on relation and
empathicelaborationthrough the followingexercises
- The body in the space and with the others;
- Elaboration of rhythmiclevels;
- Contact work;
- The mirrorand The statue.
Third part: Improvisation – a serious game, divided in twosteps:
Creation of twogroups and improvisation on twodifferentguidelines:
Group 1: in the street - a personlies down on the floor,
nobodyknowswhy...someonewouldwant to help him, otherssustainthatisbetter to
leavehim alone; theydiscusswhile the personremains on the floor.
Group 2: waitingroomat the railway station – a personlies down on the
onlyavailablebench, buteveryone else wouldlike to sit down.
inpairs, tell in a fewwords “I am and I do”. Then, in front of the otherparticipants,
sitting on a chair, tellussomethingaboutyour partner: whatyouremember and so
After the workshop, teacherswereasked to givefeedbacksabout the
- embarrassment, get over thanks to to the brevityand the clearlack of judgment
from the others;
- fun and comfort;
- fear of beingnear to the other;
- interest in the elaboration of a story;
- equality of roles and ability;
- sharing and appreciation of otherpeople's work;
- importance of the preparationexercises, aimedatcreating an empathiccontext;
- importance of the neutralspace, thatchangesaccording to ourneed.
The finalproposals for theresolution of conflictsresulting from the workshop are
- Importance of the awarenessof body as first element of non-
- Proposing of extra-curricularactivitiesaimedatusingmanualcreativity and contact
work with schoolmates and teachers;
- Focusing more and more on the importance of the empathicprocess in
youngpeopleworld:acquisition of self-confidence, possibility of givingourselves a
chance, lack of judgement, sharing of ourselves, genuineness and uniqueness of a
2. Baltic Franchise Foundation (Latvia)
Baltic Franchise Foundation (BFF) was founded on 2004 as non-governmental
organisation with the aim to promote and support development of franchise as a way
of establishment and development franchise networks of SME‟s. BFF unites business,
brand, quality management and franchise development consultants from Estonia,
Latvia and Lithuania. BFF as organisation has experience in development and
implementation of EU founded projects as a coordinator and as a partner.
Consultants,experts, trainers and project managers, involved in BFF network, are
qualified experts in their field andhave participated in several projects.
Baltic Franchise Foundation provides mediation services to resolve disputes between
franchisors and franchisees. This is a very delicate matter and a discourse can be
really very tough and have permanent nature. Baltic Franchise Foundation uses
mostly narrative mediation to solve these disputes. The mediation approach is based
on the principles of the International Code of Ethics in the franchise.
BFF experience was valuable for the current project as soon as Baltic Franchise
Foundation addressed its methods of mediation approach to problematic situations
that occur in educational settings.
2.1. Communicating, Coaching, Cooking
Baltic Franchise Foundation implemented the training „Communicating, cooking,
coaching”. The idea of the training was based on actual problems faced by most of
people and their families. Baltic Franchise Foundation used the introduction of simple
coaching and communication methods as one of the ways to respond to conflict
situations in educational settings. The training concept was created by using the
organization‟s previous experience in organizing and conducting trainings for
communication skills development and organising coaching sessions for personal
Communication and behaviour we learned in the family come with us into our
adult life. Psychological researches have shown that most people tend to bring their
family communication model to the family, which they create by choosing a partner
or marrying and becoming parents or grandparents. That is, if we have grown into a
family where emotion expression was limited, most probably also when becoming
parents, we will practice more discreet relationships with our own children.
The last 30 years families in Europe have experienced great changes. Statistics shows
that still in 70-ties most children grew up in full families, divorce of parents was not
frequently observed. In 2009, based on the company's Nielsen survey, 61% of
European children lived in incomplete families or in families where one parent is
not his biological parent.These conditions make it necessary to improve all family
members‟ communication skills.
Another important issue that were tackled in this training was the prevention of stress
caused by the rapid increase of information that literally pours down upon us in
everyday life. One can say that we live in a time when there is a lot of irrelevant
information and a lack of really significant information. And it is necessary to
respond quickly to this flow of information.It leads to the need to improve decision–
making and motivation skills. In this context the psychological support role in the
family is very important.
Another issue is the sharp increase of intercultural contacts and the need to cooperate
with representatives of different cultures. Population mobility growth has led to the
fact that the majority of European citizens need to face with this issue not only in
professional or social sphere, but also within the family. Development of cross-
cultural communication skills has become a necessity for almost every family.
Pedagogical and Didactical principles
Pedagogical and didactical methods of the training „Communicating, cooking,
coaching” were based on the following main coaching principles:
The aims and tasks of training
Specific aims and objectives of the training "Communicating, cooking, coaching "
were used to expand participants‟ knowledge and improve their skills in three areas:
communication, cooking and coaching.
During the training the participants met with such communication aspects as:
an understanding of our internal communication and communication with others,
effective use and interpretation of verbal and non-verbal messages, listening and
thoughtful response to the people around, adopt message transfer to others etc.
During the training process the development of such communication skills as
compromise, tolerance, listening skills, telling of the stories; humour and jokes;
requirements and complaints; discussions, consultations; exchange of experience and
opinions etc. were facilitated.
During the training participants learned about such coaching aspects as:
Ways of renewing the personal potential;
Realizing the person‟s own potential, wishes and aims;
Realizing the role of limited beliefs, fears during the process of reaching the
Acceleration (speeding – up) of person‟s self development by discovering and
using different ways of behaviour etc.
Multinational environment of the group promoted intercultural communication
potential of participants. Participants learned about the family life and cooking habits
in different European countries and together with other training participants cooked in
a common dinner.
The design of the training „Communicating, cooking, coaching” was built in such a
way that the knowledge and skills in one area could improve and strengthen the
knowledge in the other areas. Wherewith, the result was not only the sum
„communicating + cooking + coaching”, but the result of synergy could be considered
as „communicating х cooking х coaching = C3
2.2. Narrative Mediation in the School
Baltic Franchise Foundation on regular bases provides mediation services to resolve
business disputes in franchise enterprises by applying the principles of the
International Code of Ethics in the franchise. The business conflicts in franchise are a
very delicate matter and a discourse can have permanent nature. As a consequence the
discourse is very emotional and parties tend to transmit emotions to each other. The
mediator must be really independent and trustful, provide clear mind, stay calm and
demonstrate professional skills.
In framework of the project “SchoolMed: European Learning Partnership on the
Scholastic Mediation” Baltic Franchise Foundation addressed its methods of
mediation approach to problematic situations that occur in educational settings. Baltic
Franchise Foundation adopted methodology of coaching and narrative mediation for
training activities for teachers and parents. This approach encourages people to find
co-operative resolutions to conflicts.
The approach of Narrative mediation was developed by John Winslade and Gerald D.
It isa widely accepted method through which disputes and conflicts are
solved in various organizational settings and relationships mediation has become.
Especiallypopular is an approach of using people‟s individual stories in mediation.
The approach investigates the stories whatpeople have and shows the way how these
stories might be reshaped in order to transform relationships. Takingstories seriously
means treating them as having the power to shape experiences, influence mind-sets
and constructrelationships. It helps to step outside of the positions within the conflict
story to solve the conflict. There are various specific techniques for it‟s practical
application to a wide-variety of conflict situations when working with mediationin
organizations, schools, health care, divorce cases, employer and employee problems,
and civil and internationalconflicts. Through the mediator‟s use of the techniques, for
example conversations, participants are encouraged tocomment on the conflict itself
rather than focusing on a more blame-oriented construction of events. Participantsstart
working together as collaborators against the problem and create a new story about
it.Mediation is very important also as the number of disagreements, disputes and
conflicts continues to increase,negatively influencing the quality of the social and
economic aspects of countries, communities, organizations andpersons.
Nine important aspects of mediation in conflict situations according to J.
Winslade and G. D. Monk.20
1. Assume that people live their lives through stories (Stories matter).
This characteristic is about narrative perspective in mediation. Statements like “A
man should be the head of the household”, “White privilege is based on natural
superiority”, “Homosexuality is not natural”, “Disabled persons should be grateful
for the charity what they receive” may play a role in conflict situations. Each of
these meanings serves an organizing function in a power relation. It is related with
people as individuals and as social groups. Mediators need to know that conflicts
are based on the stories and may be based on these statements.
Winslade, J., Monk G. D. (2008).Practicing narrative mediation: loosening the grip of conflict. San
Francisco: John Wiley & Sons. P.3–38.
Winslade, J., Monk, G. D. (2008) Practicing narrative mediation: loosening the grip of conflict. San
Francisco: John Wiley & Sons. P.3–38.
2. Avoid essentialist assumptions.
Essentialist approach involves the understanding that explanations are in the
intrinsic essence of things rather than in cultural influences like narratives. For
conflict situations it means that approaches to conflicts ascribe people‟s behaviour
whether this nature is thought of as personality or as an internal state involving
emotions, attitude and mood. People who defend new approaches suggest avoiding
essentialist understandings, but prefer looking at person‟s behaviour using an
outside approach. From this perspective it is possible to see people‟s interests,
emotions and behaviours and their interpretations as produced within a cultural or
discursive world of relations and then internalized. They are constructed and from
this perspective the approach emphasizes that the position of the conflict may be
3. Engage in double listening.
There is always more than one story. There may be different stories of events: one
in which outrange and strong feeling shape the response and one in which
considered reflection takes the response in a different direction. Linguistic
philosophers nowadays assure that the meaning of the words depends on the
context and the use of the language and it can provide openings to new story lines.
Double listening may cue us to notice the contradictions between people‟s words
and their non verbal expressions. For example double listening means not only
noticing that the person is angry but also trying to reveal his or her values, believes,
desires, cultural context.
4. Build an externalizing conversation.
Externalizing is a mode of language use that shifts the relational ground between a
person and a conflict. It let people to look at the conflict as to the third party (one
that has a life of its own) and as leading them along a path (willingly or
unwillingly) that may or may not suit them. So people can observe the effects of the
conflicts. Externalizing language helps people separate from the conflict story and
makes room for alternative stories to emerge.
Examples of questions using externalizing language:
o What might we call this thing what we are up against? Is it an argument? A
dispute? A disagreement? A situation?
o What effect is it having on you?
o How does it get you to speak? To feel? To behave?, etc.
5. View the problem story as a restraint.
The very idea of this characteristic is that what people talk about and the way they
talk about it constructs the world they live in. The world is socially constructed. If
people talk differently or talk about something different from their usual subjects
they will experience the world differently. Mediation helps to articulate
participants‟ responses. Having noted carefully the words that the participants have
used, the mediator is also able to return Later to elements of this incipient
6. Listen for discursive positioning.
Words can break the bones too. Discursive perspective demonstrates powerfully
how the words people employ or more accurately, the discourses in which they
engage have very powerful material effect on their own and other‟s lives. Conflicts
can come from that what has been internalized into people through the course of
living, from the cultural world. There the construction of personal identity and
relationships with others are also involved.
7. Identify openings to an alternative story.
The mediator can develop an alternative story by paying attention to the plot
elements that are being left out of the conflict story and then seeking their
reinclusion. These openings might be exceptions to the escalation of the conflict.
They may be intentions to do better. They may be expressions of hope for peaceful
8. Re – author the relationship story.
This characteristic implies the following: “Let‟s build the story of cooperation!”
The goal of mediation needs to be constructed in terms of conflict. A story is not a
onetime event but something that moves through. Mediation moves people to go
forward. Once two or three instances of the alternative what have been found in the
relationship history can be linked together as an alternative story. The mediator
must assist in building a new meaning to make a new story and repeat it so that
conflicting parts can accept it and collaborate in accepting it and creating this new
meaning. It helps them to move forward.
9. Document progress.
What‟s written down lasts longer. The progress of conflict solving, mediation and
new story building must be documented.
3. LiceoClassicoStatale “QuintoOrazioFlacco” (Italy, Potenza)
The LiceoClassicoStatale “QuintoOrazioFlacco” is on old Classical Lyceum. It is an
institution that has 200 years of history of excellence.The most important matters of
this secondary school are: Latin, Greek, history and philosophy. The students come
from the town of Potenza and its neighbouring villages. The school has 660 pupils, 49
teachers and 16 members of the ATA staff.The school feels the need to meet teachers
and leaders of European countries to share their educational systems and discuss the
Potenza is located in Basilicata – a region that was in the objective 1 of the European
Union and now in a phasing out phase: in the region but of course also in the town
there is a lot of unemployment especially among young people.
As an educational institution, our school is driven by the compelling need to raise
awareness on an issue like conflict and the importance of mediation. We are perfectly
aware that educational settings are at times pervaded with open or partly hidden
tensions which need special management and intervention strategies. That‟s mostly
why we have had a great pleasure in joining the partnership, hoping it would work
effectively on such delicate issues.
Cooperation between organizations and institutions involved in adult education is
certainly the best way to come to effective outcomes. These are undoubtedly
supposed to include the development and implementation of innovative practices with
a long-lasting impact. And international exchange is definitely bound to further
enhance such cooperation.
The staff involved in this project was aware that a double working level needed taking
into account: on both internal and external level, as working on the problem of
conflict meant striving in the attempt to find possible solutions to be shared with our
partners so as to create an international environment of collaboration.
The local area where our school operates is not one of the wealthiest and most
developed in Italy. Economy is rather sluggish, and professional opportunities are
limited. Unfortunately, the cultural environment has never profited from this
condition. Given this, broadening people‟s mind through experiencing cultural and
linguistic diversity is therefore essential to address relational problems and to create
intervention strategies accordingly.
In full accordance with the fundamental objectives of the School Med action, the
project work devised by our staff was aimed at suggesting an example of conflict
solving experiment which laid emphasis on the importance of mediation in schools
and school as a place particularly fit to promote mediation procedures.
3.1 Experimental Approach DIG UP TO THE SELF
As a secondary school specialising in humanities (Old Greek and Latin culture,
History, Philosophy, Literature, etc.), a lot of our students, generally born to rather
affluent families or parents working as professionals, are requested to deal with an
academic world that seems to have very little connection with the one they live
outside the school premises. Also, the pupils experience a heavy burden of pressure
that their demanding families are usually accountable for. Such a situation is very
likely to trigger conflicts in terms of frustration for both what they are asked to feel
involved in at school and the social, cultural environment they belong to.
In this context, the general objective was to make up this underlying break – generally
leading to a series of many other minor manifestations of conflict or conflicting
behaviours – through showing how the students‟ own school world might really be
engaging and useful to their lives.
The title of the workshops was DIG UP TO THE SELF: ARCHAEOLOGICAL
EXPERIENCE TO RE-BUILD AN UNROOTED CULTURAL IDENTITY. They
were meant to establish an early direct contact between the world of archaeology –
which usually appears to be so far from students‟ everyday matters – and school
subjects so as to get the students to reflect on their origins and culture.
THE CONTENT OF THE WORKSHOP WAS INTENDED FOR A DOUBLE
1. REDUCE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN PURE ACADEMIC LEARNING AND
2. BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN YOUTHS AND THEIR NATIVE
The main interrelated aims were to:
The target group featured 25 students, 15 and 10 from the third and the fourth year
respectively. Per each different class 2 or 3 people were chosen as the least motivated.
Indeed, the teacher class committees selected a few students for each class on the
grounds of criteria such as lack of motivation, general declaration of dissatisfaction
with the school environment, and poor results.
The workshop consisted in two phases: lectures and work experience. The former
took place over the course of January 2012 and featured a set of traditional classes
accounting for 15 hours overall. Such classes were articulated following a plan
prescheduled by the school staff in collaboration with some external experts.
The lectures dealt with the following issues:
Basics of Archaeology: introduction, history and main excavation technique.
Analysis of the excavation techniques used on the real site of Baragiano
History of finds: from topographic investigation to restoration, preservation
The actual training phase took longer. It was completed between the months of
February and March 2012, for a total amount of 40 hours‟ practice, and it consisted in
a guided experiment of excavation activity on a real archaeological site. It took place
on a site based in the Tower of Satriano area, near Potenza (Basilicata Region), where
the students were involved in the whole process from the site opening to its closing.
The experience was carried in collaboration with the Specialising School of
Archaeology (University of Basilicata).
The two phases were bridged up through a further training session consisting in 15
hours spent on visiting museums in the city of Potenza and the towns of Melfi and
Metaponto. The places selected for this cross step were:
National Archaeological Museum of Basilicata „DinuAdamesteanu‟
Provincial Archaeological Museum of Potenza
National Archaeological Museum of Metaponto
National Archaeological Museum of Melfi
Staff and organisations involved
Aside from a representation of the teachers from the LiceoClassico „Q. O. Flacco‟
High School of Potenza, who all joined the project on a voluntary base, the workshop
could boast the collaboration of The Monuments and Fine Arts Office of Basilicata
and The Specialising School in Archaeology of Basilicata, two prestigious
organisations who eagerly contributed to the successful implementation of this
experimental training action.
Following the implementation of the present project, the teacher class committees
were requested to take into account any significant change in the attitude
shown by the students involved.
Overall, the workshop seems to have positively affected the participants.
As a matter of fact, the class committees‟ discussions outlined improvements in:
the students‟ self-confidence and awareness
Soon after completing their work experience, the students were in their turn asked to
draw a report and express their impressions. These were used as tools to rate the
effectiveness of the workshop. The remarks made are mostly very positive especially
with regard to the practical experience on the site, which seems to have definitely
served as a motivational trigger.
Practical suggestions for teachers and educators
1. On establishing teacher-student contacts, it is necessary to be aware that the
group members are not likely to belong to the same social, cultural environment.
Their personal relations, family and social background and history might be
extremely distant from one another. It could therefore turn out to be very difficult not
to speak, act, behave, express in a way that does not result improper, indelicate or
irrespective of unknown situations and related hidden states of personal distress or
2. Teachers ought to remember that the learning process is not all about
memorising details and academic concepts. It is a process primarily aimed at
intellectual and human growth, which should help learners to establish a deep contact
with themselves and daily investigate in what they are inside. The main purpose of
learning is to discover oneself as much as possible. Only deeper
understanding/knowledge of oneself will make learning successful. What individuals
can offer to their society should always be the result of such a discovery of one‟s
potential to be hopefully untapped through learning.
3. Successful teacher-learner relationships are to be considered mutual
exchanges so they cannot be judged in terms of school results. Positive school
performances are also representative of teachers‟ relatively good practice and
students‟ academic progress but what is mainly to be pursued in school life is human,
personal and social enhancement. To do so, teaching cannot be limited to traditional
practices. Students need to be challenged and stimulated through a lively, dynamic
involvement process. Such also requires coming to terms with pupils‟ dimension, the
world they experience outside the school premises, and the needs they feel as the most
urging for their life. Youngsters need to feel the school as an actual gate to the real
world. The sense of uselessness generally associated to school subjects and traditional
teaching-learning practice creates frustration with youngsters and leads them to
develop a feeling of adversity towards a dimension that seems to have no points of
connection with theirs.
4. Conflicts can be very often put down to highly demanding expectations.
Feeling under pressure for a whole year, being expected to give brilliant performances
every day brings pupils to develop a sense of rejection towards anything connected
with the need to prove themselves proficient every single moment of their life. They
might soon grow tired of feeling appreciated only on the basis of good school
performances. In the worst cases, such a rejection might wind up exploding in a form
of rebellion that brings the subject to act in a deliberate dysfunctional or conflicting
way. The main reason for this sort of behaviour is intolerance to the idea of
complying with the principle of appreciation only through school success.
5. Teachers should not be afraid to consider and be considered from a new and
different perspective. They should not fear new methodologies or such an opening
towards their students‟ reality. They should only try to understand that they are not a
model to their students but they can be an excellent stimulus.
6. In order to avoid conflict, it is very helpful to plan things taking on the
addressee‟s point of view. It is even more helpful, though definitely less easy, to start
from a possibly common point of view. In the case of the experiment above,
archaeology answers the purpose. It was chosen since it is surely a passion with the
staff involved in the training experiment. As to the students, they were just helped to
remember the reasons why they had decided to enter a school specialising in
humanities so as to revive a sparkle of interest. As this could not be enough for all the
cases, they were also intrigued in the perspective of manual tasks, which is not such
an usual thing in their everyday school activities. Therefore, both trainers and trainees
shared or were induced to share the interest which was main focus in the experiment.
7. Conflict is usually raised due to the lack of communication or a common code
of communication. Given the difference in age, level of education, interests, etc.
between teachers and learners, it is necessary to find some common ground not to
„fuel‟ the gap which might lead to conflict. Pure academic language, lacking the
vitality of practice, crystallized in theoretical formula, will end up creating a void
between the speaker and the listener, especially if the latter does not fully command
the concepts they are supposed to become recipient of. The „lower‟ language of
practice is an excellent tool to fill such a gap.
8. For many young people, school is the only source of experience and
opportunities while they financially depend on their original families, and these
cannot often afford to invest in other sources for their children. Schools should then
offer as many possibilities as they can so as to provide students with some more
pragmatic expertise that they will certainly need once they graduate. This also
contributes to shape students‟ disposition as they gradually learn to manage other
situations and gain more confidence, which is very likely to earn them an easier
outlook on their future and blunt the anxiety-inducing impression that they need to
struggle against their own life once faced to a different context other than school.
9. Overall, the rise of conflicts is not seldom due to an open or half hidden lack
of respect. Though young and learners – which means individuals to be guided –,
students might not feel respected by traditional academic or school practice. Even
worse is the awareness not to be treated equally in exchange for all the respect they
are required to demonstrate. So a right differentiation in school activities, based on
negotiated point of view (see 6), besides providing pupils with an extended expertise
(see 8), will also prove itself as a valuable attempt to show respect for the students‟
varied personalities and inclinations.
10. Sometimes conflict takes origin from the feeling that the others are intentioned
to put up a conflict with us. This fear of potential adversity recognised in the others
might lead to actual conflict. Teachers play an important part in this case; they should
be able not to feel menaced by their students‟ vitality, intelligence or curiosity. Very
often it happens that teachers set a boundary between themselves and their classes
because they fear to be attacked in their human weaknesses or potential faults. They
prefer maintaining a hierarchy supposing a wide distance between their position on
top and the base as they are thoroughly aware of their delicate human dimension and
they believe their students ready to attack them as soon as they establish contact. This
type of mental disposition can be easily detected through hostility-based behaviours
that influence the environment in the class and the mental attitude in the students who
in their turn learn to become prepared to defend themselves against such a defence
Ten Practical suggestions for teachers and educators in short
1. Awareness of the addresses‟ family, social and cultural environment.
2. Learning as a discovery of the self.
3. Establish a contact between school practice and pupils‟ dimension.
4. Awareness of the impact of expectations.
5. Modify teaching perspective.
6. Find a common point of view.
7. Importance of a common code of communication.
8. School as a source of opportunities.
9. Respect for the other.
10. Do not be afraid of the other.
The above mentioned suggestions are not to be meant as scientific guidelines but as
result of a research work conducted by a team of professionals who cannot be
technically considered as specialists of the mediation sector despite being faced to
conflicts every single day of their working career. Conflicts are teachers‟ daily
challenge, and the nature of these is so varied and unexpected that it is not always
possible to rely on ready-made sets of guidelines, though experimented and
guaranteed by experts. What summarised in these pages is the outcome of practice
and direct observation; it is the result of reflections that, beside the particular case of
the experimental workshop, are also accountable to much wider experience.
4. Argonauts Business Development LTD (Cyprus)
M.C. Argonauts Business Development Ltd was established in 2004 and initiated its
operations in 2007 in Limassol - Cyprus, for offering high standards of professional
training and consultancy services to private, non-governmental and government
organizations in Cyprus. These services are designed and delivered in line with
market needs, the local and European legislative framework, relevant international
standards, the latest available scientific knowledge, and best practices in the field of
training and consultancy.
Argonauts has a team of well qualified and experienced professionals (consultants
trainers, researchers, training officers and administration officers) and associates
specialized in a range of business related fields. These professionals convey the
necessary information, results and knowledge through the effective utilization of a
range of consultancy and training tools, such as audits, questionnaires, measurements,
presentations, practical examples, case studies, audiovisual material, group-work,
individual assignments, and extensive in-class discussions. The consultancy services
and training courses include the fields of business management, NGO management,
economics, quality management, environment (Environmental Management, Energy
Saving), occupational health and safety, sales and Marketing.
The organization cooperates, consults and trains mainly small and medium private
companies from all spectrums of the Cyprus economy, large companies (hotels,
manufacturing industries, banks), local authorities, government departments,
universities and research foundations and non government organizations
(NGOs). The projects managed and implemented include single organization,
independent, sectoral, national and European projects. Since 2009 Argonauts were
part of more than eight European Union funded and Life Long Learning Projects
related to vocational standards, professional training, business consultancy, job
placement and conflict resolution.
4.1. Empower cooperation and teamwork through games
Cooperation, teamwork and effective time management can significantly decrease
violent behaviour among children at the ages of 9-12. These are characteristics that
once gained, remain for a lifetime. Children at this age learn easier through playing.
For this reason, it was considered necessary to organize team games during break
Every Monday and Friday every class had a game schedule during the breaks. The
children could play with their class-mates football, basketball, volleyball, hockey,
badminton and other games. However, they could not intervene in the game of
another class. Although it took time to respect the rules and the program, finally it
worked. The classes that showed significant improvement in their behaviour could
participate in sports activities that were organized with other schools in the same
town. This worked as a motive for the children, but at the same time it promoted
respect, coexistence and tolerance towards other people, apart from their class mates.
In addition to this, the school offered a wide variety of table games that promoted
cooperation and developed language skills. The children could borrow these games
during their free time, or in the afternoon classes.
4.2. ”Remove the Power”, an anti-bullying program
The teachers in the school strongly believed that prevention is easier than treatment.
For this reason a program called «Remove the Power» was organized by a team of
actors and psychologists. The children of the fourth grade (nine year old) participated
in this program. Conflict resolution and bullying were targeted through theatre.
Theatrical playing can give children the opportunity to confront with possible cases of
conflict, especially bullying and «take action» in order to solve or prevent the
problem. The program is a theatrical intervention, designed with the aim of educating
and sensitizing students around the phenomenon of bullying. This program was
funded by Argonauts Business Development. It lasted eight two-hour meetings with
the children. During these sessions the children found ways to handle conflicts and
especially bullying through role playing and games. They had the chance to go
through the role of both the victim and the bully in a variety of case studies. They
discussed and found ways of coping with the problem in every case.
At the end of the session, the parents of the fourth graders were invited to school, the
program was presented to them and the children presented short theatre plays of case
studies. A discussion among the parents, the teachers and the “Remove the Power”
educators followed. During this discussion all the parties were able to express their
concerns regarding this issue and exchange opinions for solving or reducing the
4.3. Preparation of ”Code of Behaviour”
The problem of conflicts among the students was discussed during the meetings of the
Student Board with the teachers and the School Administration. A “Code of
Behaviour” was prepared with the cooperation of the parties mentioned above. These
rules were discussed in every classroom and had to be respected by all the students.
The rules of “Code of Behaviour”
1. Be polite and talk politely to everyone.
2. Show respect to others language, religion and habits.
3. Promote collaborative work in classrooms.
4. Fulfil their school obligations.
5. Show respect to school property.
6. Never fight back.
7. Ask for help from your teachers or parents when is needed.
8. Reinforce and reward good behaviour.
4.4. Conflict resolution through ”Health Education” class
Health Education is a class offered two periods every week, in all grades. This is part
of the formal Cyprus curriculum. Health Education covers a variety of topics related
to human health, relations with other people etc. All children from fourth to sixth
grade went through the topics of human relations, conflict resolution, friendship and
bullying. The behaviour and needs of each age were taken into consideration during
the organization of the teaching units. Thus, these units were adjusted every time to
the age level of the children.
4.5. Meetings with the parents (Cyprus)
Parent-Teacher meetings were organized at school during evening, in order to be
more convenient for working parents. However, the participation of parents was very
poor. Only a 15% of the parents participated in those meetings.
For this reason individual meetings with parents were arranged in serious cases of
conflict. The parents met with the teacher and the school principle, discussed and
found possible solutions to the problem. These meetings appeared to have a better
5. ColegiulTehnic Gheorghe Cartianu (Romania)
Technical College Gheorghe Cartianu from Piatra Neamt, N-E region, Romania is a
big technological high-school with 2000 students and 200 teachers. The school is
equipped with 10 specialized laboratories for the following domains: analysis of
environmental factors, production of milk, meat, bakery products, chemical analysis
and physical experiments, telecommunications, electromechanical, automation,
mechanical and processing, textile and leather assembly, internet and multimedia
communication, computer science. The students are also trained in 4 specialized
workrooms for: constructions, welding, metal processing and electronics.
The range of qualifications that can be obtained in the school is very wide and can be
divided into five major areas: computers and computer science, electronics and
telecommunications, mechanical and metalworking, construction and building design,
textiles and leather, chemistry and environmental protection, food industry and
services. In each one of this areas it can qualify our students at level 2 or 3 (VET
school level or VET high-school level).
The organization can also qualify adults for seven qualifications: Technician in
computer science, Worker for building crawling, Worker for textile
assembling,Worker on CNC machines, Welder, Locksmith for metal structures and
technological equipment, Operator for data introduction, validation and processing.
The N-E region where our school is situated is one of the poorest regions of Romania.
The students are often come from poor families at risk of social exclusion. The
industry in the county is situated at a low level considering
enterprises‟competitiveness as compared to the EU partners with consequences in
creating jobs and so in diminishing the attractiveness of education and training; In the
same time the hospitality services are well and continuously increasing developed as
a result of the fact that Neamt County has many possible opportunities to excel in
tourism marketing as an economic development generator. The natural environment
of the region and the diversity of attractions is one good opportunity for development
with the condition of a good ecologic education provided to the future workers with
possible impact of the hall population living in the area.
5.1. Improvement of communication skills
Any conflict resolution involves better communication. It the communication is better
and more complete,it will lead to the creation of a safe physical and mental
environment and conflicts will likely be easier to solve.
Communication is the process of transmitting, receiving and interpreting messages
between two or more persons. Basic elements in any act of communication are:
emitter (at the transmitter), receiver (who receives the message), message, channel
and feed-back. Transmitter and receiver roles not only rotate, but are simultaneously
performed on each participant communication.
Methods that will lead to a better communication:For a proper reception of the
message, the sender must consider several factors, including the following
The Purpose of
•What is the
we want to
Build a Post
•What we want
•In case of
Who do we
of the person
to whom the
order to bring
the message to
How the message across?
• By the way we choose to send
oral, written, gestures, mimicry.
• To send a clear message is important
consistency between what we say
and gestures, our facialexpressions.
In case of any inconsistency
nonverbal messages are considered
When do we communicate?
• Timing for the message involves
assessment of receiver and
• Effective communication cannot
occur when participants are busy
with other things or not to accept
the right to communicate. In this
case it is more appropriate to
Where do we communicate?
• Knowing the context in which we
communicateis important, because
the presence of other people, some
environmental factors may increase
or decrease the effectiveness of
communication.For our purposes it
is very important how to formulate
• Thus, it is advisable to express our
applicationswhat we want from
others and not what we want. Also
ask questions that need to be
adapted to the aims pursued.
Reception of the message is as important as its issuance. Although it may appear to
play a relatively passive role in communication, it involves certain actions and
attitudes which condition results.
1. Establishing eye contact with the interviewer properly when we look at the talk, we
show that we are careful what we say. Eye contact should be tailored in duration
depending on the caller side. Some people need eye contact throughout the
conversation, but others prefer a low visual contact being disturbed by persistent gaze.
2. Using a minimal response that encourages communication Such responses can be
both nonverbal and verbal. When we smile, we nod your head, keep the body slightly
bent forward, use an open gesture, listener is encouraged to speak. The same effect
can be achieved by speaking words or short of verbal inflections like "Aha!", "And",
"Yes", "Next", "Indeed", "understand". These responses should not be too long and
not performing like "I know, you're saying that ..." because they create the feeling that
we want to take over the role of the transmitter, or we want to go faster than the
subject. Responses minimal verbal or non-verbal and eye contact are very important
especially in the early stages of the conversation.
3. Focus on what the sender Listening is not the same as hearing. Listening requires
concentration on the message received to understand its significance. From this point
of view is very important to focus on what he meant another, leaving aside their
concerns or problems. Also, significant information is transmitted emotions of the
speaker. Speaker recognition and expression of emotions experienced by empathy
(understanding the emotional state experienced by a person, as we find in its place)
than it facilitates communication.
4. Avoid interpreting and judging message content or the person who issued each of
us have a tendency to pass through the filters we hear their thoughts and thus reach
conclusions quickly, forgetting that our perception may be significantly different from
that of other people. When we want to get as much information from the caller, it is
preferable to avoid interpretation or judgment received message.
5. To ensure interviewer asking questions that we are interested in what he says, and
especially to check if I understand correctly received message is useful for asking
questions. Questions can be open or closed depending on the purpose. When pursuing
learning more details about a topic, open questions are better suited and accuracy of
information is important when closed questions can help.
6. Avoid frequent advice A reaction to a message expressing some difficulty, is to
provide a solution or advice (what would we do in that situation). Although the
intentions are positive, the results will not always be so, because often the other
person only needs to be heard and understood. Giving the solution implicitly send the
message that it is unable to find one, and that's more important in our view than what
they think and feel each other. For these reasons it is better to avoid giving advice
when they are not explicitly required.
7. To avoid interruption listener encourage communication and to allow the listener to
express themselves freely is advisable to
5.2. Mediation in the School
Mediation is a process of communication and negotiation of conflicting persons
arising under the supervision and with the help of another person appointed mediator
who has been trained to assist parties to resolve their conflict. (V. Rotaru, 2006, p.7)
Lately, conflict mediation in schools by students as a method of dispute resolution is
becoming increasingly used because results.
Advantages of mediation by students:
students as mediators, are more effective in influencing colleagues to peaceful
resolution of conflicts,
reduce the frequency and intensity of conflicts between students reduce the need
for adults to stop intervening
decrease in the number of penalties / sanctions applied by teachers,
improve the school climate and the quality of relationships between students
increase self-esteem in pupils
Steps in implementing a conflict mediation program in schools:
1. Choosing a program coordinator for a successful deployment of the program
requires that he be supervised by an adult. The coordinator is responsible for selecting
and training mediators, organization, implementation and monitoring of the program.
Coordinator can be any teacher (psychologist, teacher, etc.). Wishes and believes that
mediation is a benefit for the school and students.
2. Training program introducing a composition project mediation program, including
the following: purpose-what are the advantages of the program for students, teachers
and school management, program goals: specific, measurable, time training for
students mediators (number of activities and time for their s), description of topics
covered in the training session, ways to select students mediators, human and
financial resources, evaluation methods.
3. Ensure functioning Selection program students: that mediation is accepted and used
by the whole school, students must be representative mediators in diverse group of
Selection possible ways:
• All students interested are involved in the program.
• Organizing interviews with interested students. Questions will focus on motivation
for participation investigate the qualities necessary for a good mediator, and
observing communication skills, ways of relating with peers.
• Nomination by students of two classmates they consider good mediators. Then
• Autonominalizarea and subsequent interview.
In general, students chosen should possess qualities and talents that would help them
become good mediators. It held, first, the ability to communicate, empathy, flexibility
and openness to learning something new. Preparing students select. Can be done in
consultation with students either during several meetings once or twice a week or a
weekend several hours. Training aims to know basic information about
communication, conflict mediation, with emphasis on the practical. Students will be
engaged in mediation skills practice. Arrange an area for this purpose: the office of
mediator. If this is not possible, then you can use any suitable space for the work
(office pedagogical support, visitor room or even in the classroom after classes).
Organization program: Once students have completed the training program, other
students need to know how to find them, to recognize or to appeal. Mediators can
wear a badge, a badge, scarf, etc, something that would distinguish them from others
and can be easily recognized. If students see a conflict mediators can be approached,
say they are mediators and asks those in conflict if they try mediation. Also, teachers,
class teachers can send students who are in conflict mediation. Usually, students do
not want to be a mediator smaller person that age. To avoid such problems, when
possible mediating student must be at least one year longer than the parties in conflict.
It also recommends co-mediation, mediators that work in teams of two. This has the
advantage of more objective analysis of what happened during the mediation, each of
them being able to be an observer and evaluator other.
4. Promoting school system promotion methods: flyers, local newspaper or magazine
articles school brochures, video of mediation, classroom activities, significant logo
badges, name tags, advertising on school website, etc.
5. Monitoring and evaluation of program effectiveness. May be held weekly meetings
between mediation program coordinator and students mediators. These meetings are
aimed at monitoring and evaluating system efficiency in relation to pupils' progress
and problems. It can analyze problems students have encountered mediators in
conflict mediation, so to learn from each others experience. The proposed solutions
improve the mediation process. Evaluation should be based on specific documents:
request for mediation, reports, contracts, etc. Periodic reports to the school on its
achievements so far due to the implementation of the program. The success of such a
program depends heavily on the support of all teachers in the school.
Provide feedback meaning response to the received message adjusts communication.
It can stimulate the communication or the contrary.
Tips on giving feedback:
• Focus feedback on the positive aspects of the situation.
• Offering constructive feedback, highlighting what can be modified, improved and
no party that cannot be changed.
• Feed-back must be specific and concrete, focused on specific behaviour and not a
general one. • Formulate feedback in terms of descriptive and not evaluative or
• Feed-back must target person's behaviour and not the person in general.
• Provide feedback to immediately and not after a while. Therefore require effective
communication, making efforts from both the speaker and the listener.
Forum Theatre is a method of non-formal education in the field of participatory art
that materializes a situation of oppression drama / conflict, following the first phase of
the public to identify specific situation, as well as each character's role: oppressor,
oppressed, an ally of one or and the other neutral characters. The ultimate goal of the
play-forum is the audience or spect – actors to find solutions to eliminate oppressive
situation / conflict by changing the attitudes of the characters, without acting directly
on the character-oppressor. Spect – actors or participants experience the climbing
scene, proposing solutions or spect – actor observing another doing so, reflects the
joker questions about what happened; interpret the significance of the action attended
and tend to transfer experience from everyday reality of their lives. As a method was
founded by Augusto Boal, Brazilian theater director, picked up and promoted in
Romania ART Fusion Association, an association founded in 2005 young who
consider art a real tool for social change, arguing that an individual is a force change
in the community by improving their attitudes toward social issues surrounding it.
Stages of a forum theater activities in school:
1. Preparation Coordinator piece can be a teacher or school counselor students choose
a group of volunteers willing to participate in such a project. They are trained in
forum theater method through training they receive information about the methods of
non – formal education, oppression, and practice forum theater games and
improvisation skills. They identify a problem of oppression or conflict in school or
they are reported by the coordinator or others. Volunteer team then develops a project
around it. To achieve part meeting place where characters are established through
improvisation, script, taking into account the specific issue under debate real cases.
After several repetitions to reach the agreed form which gives clear and concise
chosen problem. The song is played for a target audience that has experienced or has
the potential to face this problem.
2. The actual deployment stage a play-forum has three main stages: play, discussion
and forums. In the first, the situation of oppression / conflict is present in
approximately 15 minutes with the characters and their interaction. Characters forum
theater pieces are constructed incomplete so that the public can identify with them
more, to feel the need to fill with actions, by replacing that character.
3. The Forum In a second step, the moderator song called Joker, facilitates discussion
on the situation presented, about the causes of oppression, about the relationships
between the characters and the position occupied by each piece: oppressor, oppressed,
their allies, neutral characters. Joker is designed to motivate and encourage the public
to come up with realistic solutions or improvements of the situation presented to them
play on stage. Another task is to explain to you and follow the rules of theater-forum.
As part of the forum play resumes and the audience becomes active. Is able to change
all the characters, except oppressor: Forum Theatre assumed in everyday conflict will
not just disappear and then sets it to be removed by changing attitudes towards the
oppressor and opposite problem. Each spect-actor can occur during play by clapping.
Actors remain motionless on stage for the audience to come in person instead of the
actor in the play. All actors are aware of the changes and improvise taking into
account the main features of their characters. The aim is for the public to act on
persoanjelor who did not take the attitude that can change in a positive action that can
help opresatul to take a decision to support and to develop positively. It comes into
every scene, one by one, replacing the characters until the solution reaches voted by
the public as being the most realistic and useful in the situation. After selecting the
solution were discussions about how it might be implemented in everyday reality - the
community facing issues discussed. After completing Forum, the solutions have been
proposed by the spectators, were discussed and agreed solutions and dramatically
changed the thread of the piece is completed and the conclusion of the play. Joker will
cause the audience to draw lessons play Forum attended.
4. Assessment or the application of questionnaires is recommended audience after the
play is taking interviews and record responses. (After Re-Creates Guide ARTitudinea
by Theatre Forum, 2007)
5.5. Educational Theatre
Theatre as non – formal educational method is a good practice that involves the
dramatization of actual events, realistic and representative menus both in school and
beyond. Among the learning objectives of this method are: - Youth creativity to
develop an original screenplay that would render facets current school - develop team
spirit and cooperation for the effective distribution of roles - skills training for correct
interpretation of the roles of piece.
Stages in the development of educational theatre:
1. Establish team (coordinator and actors) to work on part;
2. Setting the theme and the title track;
3. Creating script and casting;
5. Determination of the place and day to interpretation;
6. Coverage part;
The method has a direct impact on the participants, as a result of responsible and
active involvement in the scenario, increasing motivation and desire to work in a team
and an indirect impact observable effects caused by the close community, by
encouraging friends to participate in non-formal activities, with support by
colleagues, by discussing the theme song interpreted by evaluating scenario and how
the interpretation of roles (V. Dumitrescu, M. Covaci, 2009).
Mentoring as a means of non-formal education involves developing a relationship
between a more experienced person who has more knowledge in a particular area and
a less experienced person who wants to gain knowledge in that area and to develop
specific skills. Although there are different approaches and areas of mentoring, there
are two principles that underpin stable: communication and develop a relationship
between mentor and disciple. A mentor is a person who has relevant experience in a
particular field, who can and wants to share the experience of others who need his
knowledge and support they need to gain certain skills or behaviour. It's basically a
person who helps others to develop and discover. This method can be applied
successfully in school, higher grade students to develop mentoring relationships with
those in the lower classes, thus sharing their experience with students, ways to deal
with different problems, strategies to respond conflicts or bullying. (V. Dumitrescu,
M. Covaci, A. Smith, 2009)
5.7. Human library
The Human Library is an innovative method designed to promote dialogue, reduce
prejudices and encourage understanding.The main characteristics of the method are
to be found in its simplicity and positive approach.
In its initial form the Human Library is a mobile library set up as a space for dialogue
and interaction. Visitors to a Human Library are given the opportunity to speak
informally with “people on loan”; this latter group being extremely varied in age, sex
and cultural background. A most experienced person is a source of information for
the others with less experience .The Human Library enables groups to break
stereotypes by challenging the most common prejudices in a positive and humorous
manner. It is a concrete, easily transferable and affordable way of promoting tolerance
The “Guide for Teachers, Staff Assistant and School Administrator in Conflict
resolution in Mediation” was aimed primarily at all categories of educators working
to improve schooling conditions for conflicts. It was intended to provide them with
wide – ranging tools and practical guidelines that can be adapted to different contexts.
The content of the Guide was therefore designed to help to improve the work of all
the actors of the education community reducing the impact of any undesirable effects.
For development the Guidethe types of conflicts that arise between various actors in
the local community were identified. Through the comparison of different experiences
during two years collaboration intervention strategies were set and negotiated. These
strategies allow people managing the detected conflicts more effectively and help in
conflict prevention. The experience of praxis of conflict resolution and prevention in
different countries were collected and combined in this Guide. An emphasis in this
Guide is put on various mediation methods and strategies. However, the Guide is not
intended to replace either the specific tools available in different countries or training
for those working to improve communication between students, teachers, and parents.
It is a suite of pragmatic suggestions to support those who work with conflict
resolution to solve possible conflicts.
The Guide is a result of the project “School Med” what promoted actions aiming to
preserve and safeguard the education world and all the actors living in it: students,
teachers, parents, tutors and others. It was implemented byproject partners from
European countries. Project partners contributed to the promotion of the culture of
mediation as growth and learning moment. This initiative was also important to learn
from what is done in other countries in order to implement good practice.