Conflict In School

1236 Words5 Pages
Why are peer mediators more effective in solving conflicts between high school/primary school students than school counselors?

Conflict is as old as humanity itself. In the words of Sigmund Freud: “Inevitable By-product of civilization because the goals and needs of individuals often clash with the goals and needs of their fellow human beings.”(Aronson et al, 2007) Since education and schooling are crucial parts of modern civilization, it is natural that conflicts would occur in schools as well. Traditionallcy, schools have utilized counselors as a means of resolving conflicts between students. However, in recent years there has been a paradigm shift in school conflict resolution methods. An increasing number of of studies and experiments
…show more content…
Kaşık and Kumcağız (2013) did an experiment in a Samsun primary school in which students were given a 13 week long conflict resolution and peer mediation (CRPM) training course for 80 minutes per week. The experiment showed that students that went through the 13 week long program exhibited significantly higher levels of self esteem and problem solving abilities along with lower aggression, in contrast to a control group, in which no statistically significant changes were noticed. The authors of this study also state that “The more students learn constructive, peaceful and empowering methods of conflict resolution, the less they will resort to violence” and cite multiple long term studies which show that CRPM programs have been found to decrease the prevalence of violence and conflict in schools. Of course, this is not to say that CRPM training programs are infallible. Ledarch (1996) argues that cultural differences may prevent standardized “one size fits all” programs from being effective in different contexts. Furthermore, it could be said that the ethnically and socioeconomically homogenous nature of the school in Kaşık and Kumcağız’s experiment may have been the reason the program was effective. This weak point can be addressed through the implementation of diversity training programs…show more content…
De Weid et al. (2007) mention that empathy is the most important factor of conflict resolution within adolescent relationships. According to De Weid et al., most adolescents prefer to share their problems with their friends, because they believe that being in the same age group makes their friends more capable of understanding and solving their problems. With this being said, one could argue that a mere understanding of students’ conflicts, as opposed to complete empathy, would be sufficient. Since counselors have more experience dealing with students’ conflicts, it would be expected that they would have a better understanding of conflicts (Theberg and Karan, 2004). While it is true that counselors do indeed have more experience and perhaps a better basic “understanding” of conflicts, Ghaffar(2015) mentions that simply knowing about conflicts in not enough to successfully resolve them. Furthermore, if simply knowing about conflicts led to more effective conflict resolution, schools that implement CRPM programs would not see a decrease in the prevalence of conflicts. Thus, it can be said that empathy is an absolute necessity for conflict resolution, and peer mediators are by far superior to counselors in this
Open Document