A little piece of history: Negotiation, arbitration and mediation are as old as human being. Despite what the movies show us, many ancient cultures all over the world settled arguments by peaceful persuasion rather than by sword. Ancient villages had at least one leader who was skilled at helping people solve problems (wise men, elders, intercessors, conciliators …) It has been and it still is a traditional form of conflict resolution in some parts of Asia and Africa Mediation really came into play with the advent of international treaties. History of mediation was the history of diplomacy.
First school mediation programmes were born in the USA in the 60’ linked to peace and justice education . (The Teaching Students to be Peacemakers initiative was the first Peer Mediation program. ) This conflict-solving philosophy moved to Canada, New Zealand and UK in the 70’ and 80’. The first school peer mediation programmes began to develop in the 90’ in Europe (1992 in UK, 1993 in Spain).
In the Balearic Islands, the ICEE started to work on school mediation in 2007 based on Carmen Boqué programmes. Schools staff training programmes started in 2008: 2008-2009: 6 secondary schools 2009-2010: 9 secondary schools 2010-2011: 10 secondary schools + 1 primary school 2011-2012: 6 secondary schools + 3 primary schools Social Services have been using different informal mediation practices for a long time. They started using formal mediation in 2007 with family and community conflicts.
What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?• Arbitration involves decision Mediation is a process ofmaking by a person who hears communication in whichboth sides and makes a decision persons with a dispute,about the disposition or assisted by a mediator, reachresolution of the dispute. an agreement, understanding, or reconciliation. The mediator is a neutral•The arbitrator is a decision- facilitatormaker. Disputants will make their•Disputants may or may not own decision so they feelagree/be bound by that decision. compelled to honour their commitments.
What do Mediation and Circles have in common? Identical aims: Solve conflicts Build community (dialogue culture) Allow participants to solve their conflicts by their own. Allow participants to express their thoughts, feelings and needs Invite parties to formulate their own solutions and take responsibilities for their actions
Can prevent conflicts and misunderstandings from becoming protracted and destructive disputes. Improve basic competences such as: communication skills social and emotional learning critical thinking empathy But also: self-esteem self-responsibility sense of belonging
Encourage future co-operation Voluntary, positive and fair process Confidentiality Structured, goal directed process that follows clear steps Can be applied across school community
Ideal process to integrate into whole school community policies and procedures Participants usually sit in circle There are facilitators (peer mediators) Facilitators and Mediators need a previous training
Differences: Persons in conflict are disputants: no wrongdoers no victims Only disputants and mediators participate in the process No shame, no guilt Win/win solutions. Mediation may not be useful for all conflicts-solving.
Things that can be mediated at school: Relationship difficulties, arguments, disputes, Rumour and gossip, Being left out, Name calling, Friends falling out, Feeling something isn’t fair, People feel others are picking or teasing on them. Racial or cultural confrontation
It is commonly accepted that school peer mediators should not deal with: Family matters, Breaking the law, school rules or property, Violent actions, Theft, Drugs, Abuse Bullying “anything to do with teeth, skin and hair”–Tyrell, 2002-
Take-home messagesThe goal is to have winners instead of losers. Remember, we’re not looking for who’s right or wrong... WE’RE LOOKING FOR AN AGREEMENT!