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Transcript of Peer Mediation
Spot incidents and ask if pupils would like mediation
Referrals can also be made by teachers or helpers or friends. There could also be a mediation postbox in reception where pupils could post referrals Mediators help people to stick to the rules of the mediation. If pupils keep on breaking the rules then the mediators can’t help them and the mediation will have to stop Some guidelines for good practice Mediators are there to help people who want help. They can’t make people come to mediation if they don’t want to You would never try to mediate during a fight or bad argument Mediators do not mediate disagreements when they are to do with family issues Mediators should not deal with problems that are either against the law such as stealing or against school rules such as going where you shouldn’t go Mediators should not try to get involved when there has been violence or when someone has been attacked Mediators can manage issues like... They help people to decide what to do for themselves, they don’t tell people what to do Mediators don’t take sides and don’t say who is right or who is wrong. They listen to both people Pupils are chosen and trained to be good mediators by the teacher. Listening and communication skills are favored. When the pupils agree to a mediation meeting it can be held in the corner of the playground or if the pupils prefer to be more private it can be held indoors in the Teacher’s Room. We have outlined the appropriate processes and guidelines for effective mediation: They will not take sides
They will not tell the pupils what to do
They will not gossip about the session, but must tell the teacher if there is a concern about safety The Mediators Promise To talk one at a time and not interrupt each other
To speak with respect and not call each other names
To speak from their own point of view and not blame or accuse the other pupil The Mediators Rules Step One Ask each pupil in turn what the problem is and how they feel about it
Repeat what you have heard each one say Ask each pupil if they can understand each others feelings Step Two Ask the pupils to offer suggestions about how they can sort things out Step Three Ask them to agree a solution and ask if they need to meet again to see how it is working Step Four To ensure a positive approach, mediators are encouraged to... Smile Be calm Take an assembly or use posters to let children know who they are Thank those who attend and share their worries Hopefully, between the activity and these recommended guidelines, you have a better understanding of peer mediation and its applications We also have some Q&A with similar situations from the perspective of the mediator and also the teacher So... what if: Your best friend wants you to be their mediator? Tell them that there shouldn't be any bias and ask someone else to mediate If you get stuck? Take a break and/or find a teacher Mediation doesn't work? Sometimes it may seem as if it hasn't worked, for example if the pupils still don't want to be friends. However, if they have agreed not to be friends then the mediation has worked Personal issues are mentioned? Stop the mediation and ask the teacher to carry on The pupils involved don't quite understand mediation Reiterate or reassign the role. Perhaps the teacher could offer an example mediating experience. Also, the word 'mediation' doesn't have to be used, sometimes 'mentor' or 'support' are common titles Pupils won't speak? Instigate conversations by asking open, unbiased questions that allow pupils to express their opinions without influence What if a pupil has an issue with the mediator or their relative, such as a brother? The teacher must choose another mediator Violence arises? Seek a teacher and do not attempt to deal with the situation Now, we will have a look at some actual guidelines and recommendations used in schools Peer Mediation is not always the best approach to particular issues and teachers have to adapt and use both initiative and experience to find the appropriate solutions A major criticism, presented by the NSPCC, states that, the peer mediation method does not offer equal benefits to all pupils. This refers to the fact that only some pupils will be trained as mediators and they clearly benefit the most. The report, however, provides some counterbalance by arguing that the disputants benefit from the resolution of conflicts and learn from the experience 'A structural process in which a neutral third party assists voluntary participants in resolving their conflicts' Stacey and Robinson, 1997, 'Let's Mediate' Conflict takes many forms and is a fundamental part of our psyche; fueling change and augmenting diversity Mediation describes the process of identifying and managing conflict. Although conflict sounds like a dramatic description, it covers disputes, misunderstandings and also personal issues. Mediation addresses concerns within the school environment in the context of this presentation, however forms of mediation can be observed throughout society in a variety of environments. Peer Mediation, in schools, presents an interesting dynamic in that the mediating process is entrusted to the pupils. Sometimes, the mediators are older pupils and this can often be witnessed in Secondary schools. However, it is becoming increasingly popular in Primary schools; the rationale for which we will discuss later A good definition is as follows: Successful conflict resolution is defined by the achievement of a 'win-win' situation, as opposed to the usual 'win-lose', 'competition' result that fighting tends to achieve. Name calling Harassment Stress - relative to school life Rumours Teasing Verbal exchanges Advantages for Pupils Promotes the values of expression, communication and open-mindedness, particularly when considering personal feelings, but also those of others Setting up support and trust networks whereby pupils feel comfortable talking to their peers about problems rather than always approaching the teacher, building confidence and independence Encourages pupils to seek and create solutions through initiative and experience The role of mediator is not exclusive and can rotate regularly to include many different peer volunteers, bringing new ideas and solutions Promotes positive, co-operative social interactions as well as mutual respect and understanding Advantages for Teachers/Schools Peer Mediation eases time pressure on teachers to resolve issues by allowing some to be managed by pupils Reduces behavioral issues that may be the result of an outburst of accumulated worries or concerns Builds an atmosphere and culture of responsibility It has also been expressed that peer mediation can be ineffective and parents sometimes have issues with it as they don't think that children that have had a 'crash course' in solving conflicts have enough experience or authority to deal with conflicts. Also most issues can't be always resolved by children - some do need the attention of an adult and therefore leaves peer mediation pointless. Some children don't always feel comfortable talking to other children about their problems, some children don't feel secure that their problems will be dealt with in a sufficient manner and would more often than not tell a teacher or the supervising adult opposed to their mediators in class. There can also be some resentment between the classmates, as only a select few get to become peer mediators, so purely because of this reason some children will not use the designated peer mediator Despite this, Peer Mediation has been adopted by many schools, often only to a slight degree so as to avoid the majority of authority issues; using it to infer its values, rather than relying upon it. Its use is more prevalent in Secondary schools, simply because the pupils are older and more mature in their understanding, however, we can understand an effective application of Peer Mediation in Primary schools. The underpinning factor to its success comes through evaluation, which is ultimately something that the teacher must be involved with In 1985, Albie Davis and Kit Porter co-authorised an article based on their observations of a number of programs then in existence, in which they identified ten rationales for the implementation of Peer Mediation. The list includes concrete goals such as the reduction of violence, vandalism and suspensions, and a reduction in the time that teachers must devote to non-teaching tasks, as well as student development of long-term conflict management skills and improvement of the climate in schools and communities Subsequent research by others tend to converge upon three key principals: 1. To provide direct benefits to children by enlarging their set of individual and interpersonal skills and conflict response options... 2. To improve the school climate so that teachers could teach and children could learn by limiting disruptions... 3. To reach and assist communities through schools by encouraging children to apply the skills that they learn in real-life situations... Emma Swift, Thomas Washington, William Broughton