Guide for teachers , staff assistants and school administrators


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The work is a result of the Grundtvig partnership for learning project SCHOOL MED financed by the European Commission but the European Commission can not be made responsible for it's content

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Guide for teachers , staff assistants and school administrators

  1. 1. 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
  2. 2. 2 Table of Contents INTRODUCTION TO CONFLICT THEORY ................................................... 4 What is conflict...................................................................................................................................................4 Sourses of conflict..............................................................................................................................................5 Conflict phases....................................................................................................................................................6 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 1.3. Workshops....................................................................................................................................................15 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 5.3.Offering feedback........................................................................................................................................36 5.4.Forum Theatre.............................................................................................................................................36 5.5. Educational Theatre................................................................................................................................37 5.6.Mentoring.......................................................................................................................................................38 5.7. Human library ...........................................................................................................................................38 CONCLUSION.................................................................................................. 38
  3. 3. 3 “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.
  4. 4. 4 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 integration. 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 or teachers. 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
  5. 5. 5 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 marketplace. 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, such as: 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). 1 Campbell, R.F., Carbally, J.E., Nustrand, R.O. (1983).Introduction to educational administration.(6th edition). Boston: Allyn and Bacon Inc. P.187 2 Gray, J.L and Strake, F.A. (1984).Organizational behavior – concepts and applications.(3rd edition). Columbus Bell and Howell Company. P.483-386 3 Plunkett, W. R., Attner, F. R. (1989).Introduction to management. Boston: PWs-Kent Publishing, P.437 4 Gray, J.L., Strake, F. A. (1984). Organizational behavior – concepts and applications.(3rd edition). Columbus Bell and Howell Company. P.483–386
  6. 6. 6 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. Conflict phases 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, tension, crisis.5 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. 5 Cornelius, H., Faire, S. (1996).Everyone can win: how to resolve conflict.Australia: Simon & Schuster. P.2
  7. 7. 7 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 teacher, etc. 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 6 Cohen, R. (2005). Students resolving conflict: peer mediation in schools.(2nd edition). Tucson: Good Year Book. P.34. 7 Van der Vliert, E. (1997). Complex interpersonal conflict behaviour: theoretical frontiers.Hove: Psychology Press. P.3. Children TeachersParents
  8. 8. 8 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 describes 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 settings In conflict resolution nowadays very important is managing and maintainingmutuallybeneficial attitude, relationship and communication of conflicting parties. 10 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. P.131 9 Cohen, R. (2005). Students resolving conflict: peer mediation in schools.(2nd edition). Tucson: Good Year Book. P.34. 10 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. 11 Christie, D. J. (2012).The encyclopedia of peace psychology.(1stedition). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. P.234. 12 Ibid.
  9. 9. 9 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 discussion.14 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 2001)16 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 13 Ibid. 14 Chilton, S., WyantCuzzo, M. S. (2005).Habermas‟s theory of communicative action as a theoretical framework for mediation practice.P.17–45. 15 Picard, C. A. (2002).Mediating interpersonal and small group conflict. Ottawa: The Golden Dog Press. P.18. 16 Christie, D. J. (2012).The encyclopedia of peace psychology.(1stedition).Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.P.235. Mediator Children ParentsTeachers
  10. 10. 10 educate about sustainable relationships, whereby students learn that managing conflicts can lead to working relationships through negotiation and needsmet.17 Restorative justice18 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 prevention processes. 17 Picard, C. A. (2002).Mediating interpersonal and small group conflict. P.18. 18 Christie, D. J. (2012).The encyclopedia of peace psychology.(1stedition).P.235.
  11. 11. 11 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 institutional growth; • Teach students and educators the skills to resolve conflict non-violently and collaborative; • 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
  12. 12. 12 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 emotions. 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 communicative skills. 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.
  13. 13. 13 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 communicative language. 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 Childhood). 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 /9th of March 2012; 22nd /23rd of March 2012; 12th /13th of April 2012). 1.2. “Socio-cultural changes and adolescence: the basis of intergenerational conflicts” 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
  14. 14. 14 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. Why? - 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 a significantdifferencebetweenwhatadultslearntasyoung
  15. 15. 15 [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 1.3. Workshops 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; - Self-massage
  16. 16. 16 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: First step: 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. Second step: 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 whatstruckyou. After the workshop, teacherswereasked to givefeedbacksabout the experiencetheylived: - 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 describedasfollowing: - Importance of the awarenessof body as first element of non- verbalcommunication; - Proposing of extra-curricularactivitiesaimedatusingmanualcreativity and contact work with schoolmates and teachers;
  17. 17. 17 - 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 joinedexperience. 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 development issues. Background idea 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.
  18. 18. 18 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:
  19. 19. 19 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 goals; 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. Training results 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
  20. 20. 20 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. Monk.19 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. 19 Winslade, J., Monk G. D. (2008).Practicing narrative mediation: loosening the grip of conflict. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons. P.3–38. 20 Winslade, J., Monk, G. D. (2008) Practicing narrative mediation: loosening the grip of conflict. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons. P.3–38.
  21. 21. 21 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 changed. 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 alternative story. 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
  22. 22. 22 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 relations. 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 different experiences. 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
  23. 23. 23 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 PURPOSE: 1. REDUCE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN PURE ACADEMIC LEARNING AND PRODUCTIVE SKILLS 2. BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN YOUTHS AND THEIR NATIVE ENVIRONMENT
  24. 24. 24 The main interrelated aims were to: Target group 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. Implementation 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 (Basilicata). History of finds: from topographic investigation to restoration, preservation and revaluation. 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
  25. 25. 25 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. Outcomes 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 school results practical sense self-declared motivation 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 uneasiness. 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
  26. 26. 26 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
  27. 27. 27 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 strategy. 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. Conclusions 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.
  28. 28. 28 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 time. 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.
  29. 29. 29 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 problem. 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.
  30. 30. 30 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 result.
  31. 31. 31 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.
  32. 32. 32 Methods that will lead to a better communication:For a proper reception of the message, the sender must consider several factors, including the following factors: The Purpose of Communication •What is the ultimate goal we want to achieve by sending the message? •What result expected? Build a Post •What we want to communicate? •In case of more complex messages is important order and coherence information provided. Who do we communicate? •Knowledge of characteristics of age, education of the person to whom the message address in order to bring the message to them. How the message across? • By the way we choose to send message – 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 reliable. When do we communicate? • Timing for the message involves assessment of receiver and transmitter. • 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 postpone discussion. 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 messages. • 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.
  33. 33. 33 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)
  34. 34. 34 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  increasing responsibility. 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 students. 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 interview them. • 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,
  35. 35. 35 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.
  36. 36. 36 5.3.Offering feedback 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 critical. • 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. 5.4.Forum Theatre 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.
  37. 37. 37 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; 4. Repetition; 5. Determination of the place and day to interpretation; 6. Coverage part;
  38. 38. 38 7. Interpretation; 8. Evaluation. 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). 5.6.Mentoring 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 and understanding. CONCLUSION 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
  39. 39. 39 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.