Classroom conflicts happen. Right? No matter how hard we work to create a positive classroom community, there are bound to be conflicts. And that's okay. Not everyone is the same which is what makes this world so great. But differences in personality are going to lead to conflict at times - which is also okay - if we know how to handle these conflicts appropriately.
So as teachers we can teach our students that conflict is natural. But there are ways to problem solve productively. And it's okay to not have the same opinion as someone else - or even your best friend.
But trying to teach these skills in the moment is useless. So like most skills we need to give students a chance to practice them in isolation. Specifically when teaching skills that involve executive functioning, students should not be in a heightened state during this isolated practice.
So to teach conflict resolution to students, here's what I do: I ask my students...
WHAT WOULD YOU DO???
So I give students conflict scenarios to solve.
My favorite way to do this is to break students up into small groups. I give each group the same scenario to discuss. I also give them guiding questions for discussion like...
Then, we come back together and debrief as a class. My goal is always to add to a growing list of strategies for how we can solve conflicts.
You can also choose one scenario to discuss as a whole class. Or give small groups different scenarios to discuss and then share out to the whole class.
By practicing conflict resolution, students improve their problem solving skills before the problems arise naturally - because they will :)
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