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Conflict in Schools: Realistic Scenarios for Teachers

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Christopher Smudde

on 20 May 2015

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Transcript of Conflict in Schools: Realistic Scenarios for Teachers

Quick Think
Why is conflict so common when we think of schools and teachers today?

What leads to conflict in schools?
Affective Conflict
– group members have clashes involving anger, frustration, and negative emotions

Substantive Conflict
– disagreements about the task(s) being performed (school wide)

Conflict of Interest
– different parties prefer a different solution to an issue (resources/strategies)

Conflict of Values
– differences in regards to values or ideologies of certain issues

Goal Conflict
– preferred outcome between various parties is inconsistent

Conflict in Schools
Conflict is an existing reality in schools due to: situations in which differences are expressed by interdependent people in the process of achieving their needs and goals (one person must therefore change their views to resolve the conflict)

* Think about all of the players:
Teachers, Principal(s), Parents, Students, Counselors

Conflict is a Good Thing
Conflict does allow:
Help in raising and addressing problems
Energy focused on the most appropriate issues
People to be “real” (motivation for participation)
People to learn how to recognize and benefit from their differences

Conflict is NOT the Real Issue
Conflict will
exist. The real issue is when it is not handled properly.

It becomes a problem when:
It hampers productivity
It lowers morale for the staff
It causes more conflict/continues previous conflicts
It causes inappropriate behavior

Possible Sources of Conflict
Limited resources
Independent work activities
Differentiation of activities
Communication problems
Differences in perception
Environment of the school setting
Individual differences (“drama mamas”)
Unclear authority structures
Differences in attitudes

Conflict in Schools: Realistic Scenarios for Teachers
Be Ready for Conflict and Be Confident in Your Ability to Resolve It!
Where does this conflict stem from? What have you observed as TC's and students?
Where have you witnessed conflict in the school setting?

What leads to conflict in schools?
Realistic vs. Non realistic Conflict
–rational disagreement vs. conflict that has little to do with organizational goals

Retributive Conflict
– conflict is used as a punishment for opposing parties

Misattributed Conflict
– blame for certain actions is attributed to incorrect causes (“my boss did it”)

Displaced Conflict
– parties direct their frustrations toward outside parties or secondary issues

“What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know” -excerpts
“Anxiety and stress affect the quality of students’ cognitive processing, disrupting their ability to process information efficiently”

Teachers need to establish a caring environment
Creating collaborative not competitive learning environments
Genuinely knowing students
Communicating effectively with students
Encouraging positive student relationships

Let’s create the scenario…
Having read the article "Conflict in Schools: Its Causes & Management Strategies," create a scenario that uses at least one of the following methods for handling conflict:
they must be able to establish a working relation with each of the conflicting parties

they must be able to establish a cooperative problem-solving attitude among the parties

they must be able to develop a creative group process and group decision making

they must gather considerable substantive knowledge about the problems around which the conflict centers

Let’s create the scenario…
You need to create a realistic scenario for one of these solutions to a conflict that you would encounter as a teacher. (this can be a skit/classroom experience)

Focus on a solution to a conflict with one of the following: a student, a parent, a counselor, or an administrator. (your choice on which you select for which scenario)

In addition to creating a scenario, include the steps that you would take in handling the conflict in your scenario.

Post Group Presentation Reflection
1. How confident do you feel with addressing conflict in your classroom/school?
2. What qualities and characteristics should a teacher possess that can assist them in dealing with conflict?
3. How can a teacher prepare their classroom or school community to reduce confict?
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