Wiki Mind Map Tool

For a quick look at a concept area, consider using the fascinating Wiki Mind Map Tool. Be sure to pick the english language wiki (if that is your language of course!) from the drop-down chooser – look for “en.wikipedia.org” for English. After you submit your search term, you can explore the related terms using the mindmap. Clicking on the green circular arrows beside a term will bring that term into the center of the map. Clicking directly on a term takes you to the definition of that item in Wikipedia. Clicking on a plus sign next to a term will expand a portion of the map that is currently hidden. Below is an image from a search on the term “school bullying”.

Tricia Jones and Larry Dieringer to provide Conference Keynote Addresses

The upcoming March 9-11 CRE conference in Fairfax Virginia is sure to be an interesting one for CRE teachers from all levels of the Educational system. The conference, entitled Sustaining Conflict Resolution Education: Building Bridges to the Future, is being co-sponsored by The Association for Conflict Resolution’s Education Section, George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR), and the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). The full final program is available via the ACR Education Section website. If you are in the area, conference day walk-in registrations are welcomed…

Larry Dieringer, Executive Director of Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR) will present 25 Years: Looking Back and Looking Ahead wherein he reflects on his 24+ years at ESR and on the growth and changes in the field as a whole.

Tricia Jones, director of the Conflict Resolution Education in Teacher Education project, will provide a keynote to a crowd that will include 600 middle school mediators from the Fairfax County Schools entitled Changing the World-Youth Mediators Across the World.

Survey of NYC Schools Conflict Resolution Service Providers

To better evaluate the degree of institutional support for conflict resolution and social/emotional programming in New York City schools, the NYC Office of the Public Advocate and the National Center for Schools and Communities (NCSC) at Fordham University surveyed non-profit providers of conflict resolution education about their contribution to city public schools; the effect of DOE school safety and discipline policies on the services they provide; and their overall experiences working in New York City public schools. The full report is available online as a pdf.

The survey questions assessed the day-to-day experiences and opinions of staff at organizations providing conflict resolution and social/emotional programming in New York City public schools. The survey was emailed to 55 organizations and was available online at the NCSC website. Forty-three responses were returned from 35 different organizations. The 35 different organizations work with a total of approximately 55,000 students annually.

The survey resulted in the following findings:
· 85 percent of providers of conflict resolution and social/emotional programming in middle schools do not agree that DOE school discipline policies adequately address the social/emotional needs of the students;
· 85 percent of providers to middle schools do not agree that DOE school safety policies effectively address the root causes of violence and disruptive behavior.
· 86 percent of providers to high schools do not agree that the current DOE school discipline policies are sustainable in promoting long-term results in dealing with violent and disruptive students.

This report offers the following recommendations, among others, to improve the provision of conflict resolution and social/emotional programming in New York City schools and thereby improve student safety and achievement:
· Create a central Conflict Resolution and Social/Emotional Programs Office
· Establish a Conflict Advisor/Counselor Position in Select Schools
· Establish a School Safety Planning Committee

This report was prompted by the findings of a February 2007 Public Advocate report entitled “Between Policy and Reality: School Administrators Critical of Department of Education School Safety Policy.” The findings of the report, which were based on a survey of school administrators, suggest that the DOE is not doing enough to ensure that conflict resolution training and services are supported in city schools. Read more about it in our CRE Administrator’s Blog.

NYC Ombuds Report Notes Inadequate Support for Conflict Resolution in NYC Schools

A February 2007 report issued by the NYC Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum notes that “the DOE is not doing enough to ensure that conflict resolution training and services are supported in city schools.” This conclusion is based on a survey of 158 administrators designed to glean administrators’ perspective on DOE school safety policies, including the degree to which those policies cultivate an atmosphere conducive to teaching and learning. The survey also asked administrators for the rates of incidents and superintendent suspensions in their schools during the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 school years. Finally, the survey asked administrators about the number of teachers in their schools who had received conflict resolution training and the degree to which conflict resolution training and programming is a part of day-to-day life in their schools. The full report, entitled Between Policy and Reality: School Administrators Critical of Department of Education School Safety Policy, is available online. A primary concern is that there has been a shift away for social-emotional learning and conflict resolution education and toward a policing and “get tough” policy despite explicit support for CRE.

As noted in the report, “The New York City Department of Education’s Citywide Standards of Discipline and Intervention Measures state that ‘[a]dministrators, teachers, counselors, and other school staff are expected to engage with students, including students with disabilities, in intervention and prevention strategies that address the student’s behavioral issues…and family circumstances: social/emotional learning, such as conflict resolution/mediation/negotiation…’. To this end, the DOE offers voluntary conflict resolution professional development training for teachers and administrators. Additionally, the state provides various funding streams for complementary programming, such as the Violence Prevention and Extended Day grant.”

A couple of key findings related to teacher training in Conflict Resolution:

98 percent of high school administrators report that no teachers, or just “a few”, in their schools have received any conflict education and/or resolution training.

82 percent of administrators at all levels report that no teachers, or just “a few”, have received conflict education and/or resolution training.

The Report cites New York University Professor of Education Pedro Noguera’s warning that, “[s]chools that rely on security guards and metal detectors to create safety may end up creating an environment that is so repressive that it is no longer conducive to learning.” Referring to the success of community policing initiatives, Prof. Noguera asserts that safety is “ultimately a by-product of social relationships and from the willingness of the members of a community to look out for each other and hold one another accountable.”

The Public Advocate’s office followed up with a second study of conflict resolution service providers. The report from this study, released in May of 2007 is entitled Conflict Unresolved: DOE Fails to Recognize What Works in School Safety and Student Achievement. A quick review of this study is posted in our Researcher’s Blog.

Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue: Charting the Roads to Peace

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, established in 1999 and based out of Geneva Switzerland, provides a forum for conflicting parties to resolve their differences peacefully. In line with its mission to reduce human suffering in war by preventing and resolving armed conflicts, the HD Centre also encourages and promotes dialogue and debate on challenging issues.

Its aim, as a forum for dialogue, is to share its experience and learn from that of others by regularly hosting and organising events that bring together actors with a variety of expertise. Events include meetings, conferences, panel discussions, retreats, and publication launches with debates. In 2006, book launches, two Mediators’ Retreat, as well as briefings to diplomats have been organised by the HD Centre.

One very enlightening document is a report entitled Charting the Roads to Peace: Facts, figures and trends in conflict resolution produced by the Centre for one of their International Mediator Retreats. Good for a review of where things are headed…

New Journal focuses on Peace Education and Social Justice

A new online journal has debuted called In Factis Pax (In Knowledge there is Peace). As described on the journal’s website,

In Factis Pax is an online journal of peace education and social justice dedicated to the examination of the epistemological relationship between knowledge, peace, and social justice. The peer reviewed journal seeks articles which examine issues central to the formation of a peaceful society- the prevention of violence, political challenges to peace and democratic societies.”

The journal is based at the University of Toledo’s Judith Herb College of Education, also home to the Center for Nonviolence and Democratic Education.

Submission Guidelines are available here. Seems like a good opportunity for our readers.