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Peer Mediation

School-based peer mediation is one of the most popular and effective approaches to integrating the practice of conflict resolution into schools. From the start of the modern “conflict resolution in education” (CRE) movement in the early 1980’s, peer mediation has been one of its centerpieces. Many thousands of schools in the US and in dozens of other countries have implemented peer mediation programs, and these efforts serve almost every conceivable student population.

Peer mediation teaches mediation skills to students so they can help mediate disputes that other students are having — hence the label, “peer mediation.”

The convergence of a number of factors help to explain peer mediation’s status:
* Increasingly, educators–in rural and suburban as well as in city schools–were troubled by an increase in the amount and the tenor of student conflict. There consequently was a burgeoning interest among educators to explore this issue.

* The mission of most schools includes helping young people develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will enable them to succeed as adults. One of the most essential sets of skills is the ability to resolve conflicts effectively.

* Peer mediation encourages students to apply conflict resolution skills when it matters most–when they are in dispute. This sets it apart from other conflict resolution models that lack a formal effort to encourage students to use their skills when they are actually involved in a conflict.

For more information on developing Peer Mediation as a model in your school, please visit Day 2 of our curriculum on Managing and Resolving Conflicts Effectively in Schools and Classrooms. To hear an interview with a middle school peer mediation coordinator and a student mediator, check out this episode of Peace Talks Radio.

Videos of Possible Interest

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Sample Catalog Resources

Below you'll find a randomized listing of up to 20 related items (we may have more...) drawn from our Resource Catalog.

Resource Title Description Links
Conflict resolution, peer mediation and young people's relationships: Technical Report 74-page PDF technical report that investigated, "what schools could do to improve young people's relationships with each other, with teachers and with their families. This is a key question for schools, policy-makers and pressure groups; there are currently programmes and initiatives on behaviour, citizenship, healthy schools and many other areas which have relationships at their core. Within that broad area, the team looked in more detail at school programmes that encourage conflict resolution and peer mediation." Ten studies relating to conflict resolution, all completed after 1994, were reviewed in detail.
Peer Mediation Session for Stan and Susan This 7-page scripted role-play illustrates the peer mediation process. It is designed to be used in the classroom with middle school age youth. It is based on scenario wherein Stan tripped, saw Susan laughing with her friend Misty, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that Susan was making fun of him. He called her a bad name in revenge. In classroom use, this activity may be preceded by the same scenario being played out as a negotiation between Stan and Susan. See related document "A Negotiation between Stan and Susan" for more details on the conflict.
Multi-party roommate conflict Pdf article from Conflict Management in Higher Education Report, Volume 5, Number 1, (Sept 2004), which presents a "roleplay for a graduate course in interpersonal and small group conflict resolution, while it could be used for a mediation roleplay, it's written to be a 4-5 person small group conflict with no formal, outside intervenor, the expectation is that students can represent the characters and still demonstrate conflict resolution skills."
PROS: Peaceful resolutions for Oklahoma [elementary] students: School-based peer mediation curric 83-page PDF manual which helps teachers and trainers introduce elementary school students to peer mediation and conflict and teach communication and problem solving skills.
High School Mediation Manual - Spanish Language Edition This mediation training manual, developed by the Washington Heights Inwood Coalition Mediation Program, is the product of ten years experience teaching mediation skills to secondary students in New York. The school program worked mostly with Latino students, newcomers to the country. So the trainings have been in Spanish. The material and activities of this program are designed to prepare high school students as mediators. The basic mediation skills taught and practiced are the same as in adult training.  It updates and adapts the lessons and activities to the level of development and interests of students.
Mastering Mediation: Higher Education Mediation Training Slides The slides used in a basic mediation training program tailored to higher education contexts. It follows the framework provided in Mastering Mediation: A Guide for Training Mediators in a College and University Setting available via LRP publications. This workshop is typically offered over a long weekend. It includes lecture points, small group exercises and role plays.
Ten Lessons for Teaching Conflict Resolution Skills A teaching packet provided by the Fairfax County Public Schools and the Student Safety and Wellness Office consisting of 10 lessons designed to help students learn conflict resolution skills. Each activity takes about an hour to complete and is designed to be interactive. As the authors note: "These skills are important for many reasons. Not only are they essential life skills, but they also help each individual acquire and maintain relationships, help make and maintain cohesive families, and increase the probability of attaining a job through communication and collaboration skills. These are pro-social skills which, in turn, increase student achievement levels and improve student resiliency." Topics covered include the following. Lesson One: Introduction to Conflict and Types of Conflict Lesson Two: Conflict Styles and Outcomes Lesson Three: Different Points of View, Identifying Biases and Perspectives, Prejudice Awareness Lesson Four: Steps for Solving Your Interpersonal Conflicts Lesson Five: Nonverbal Communication Skills Lesson Six: Communication Lesson Seven: Effective Questioning Techniques Lesson Eight: How to Handle Difficult Conversations Lesson Nine: Problem Solving and Decision Making Lesson Ten: Building Relationships, Developing a Win-Win Outcome Through Communication and Collaboration
Recommended standards for school-based peer mediation programs Twenty-eight page document presenting standards for school-based peer mediation programs that are designed to enhance quality and stimulate thought among youth and adult participants in peer mediation programs. Aids in the creation and implementation of programs, designing curricula and evaluation procedures, funding and promoting programs, providing professional development and setting guidelines for research.
A Peer Mediation Needs Analysis For Schools A three-page worksheet providing a series of questions for schools to consider prior to implementing a peer mediation program.
Peer Mediation Student Handbook - Mediator Mentors 58 page mediation training manual in .doc format used to train peer mediators working at the elementary school level. Used as part of the Mediator Mentor program at California State University Fresno. The program is a university-public school partnership in which future teachers, counselors, social workers and school psychologists support the development of conflict resolution skills in school children. Teachers and students in the public schools receive eight to 10 hours of communication and conflict resolution training and university students coach and mentor at lunch periods. More than 5,000 children and teachers have participated in the program as of Spring 2010.
Peer Mediation Introduction w Videos from Learning and Teaching Scotland Peer mediation involves pupils in schools helping their peers to resolve disagreements. It is a practical application of a restorative approach for pupils.This online resource from Learning and Teaching Scotland provides an introduction to this restorative approach with guidance, resources and videos that describe putting peer mediation into action.
11 Conflict Simulations for Peer Mediation Role-Plays An 11-page classroom handout featuring 11 conflict scenarios that can be used by students to develop role-plays depicting a mediation. Includes peer mediation process script that walks students through a basic mediation process. The author explains "these Conflict Simulations were culled from over 150 written and oral interviews about He Said/She Said situations the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students at Clinton Middle School in Anderson County, Tennessee, faced during the 1998-1999 school year. A few of the simulation situations came from descriptions in books, TV talk shows, or personal conversations with teachers and middle school students in other parts of the country."
Institutional and Program/Practitioner Guidelines For Conflict Management in Higher Education Document (30-page pdf) provides a set of guidelines designed to support the development of comprehensive, educational, integrated and conflict-friendly approaches to managing conflict and disputes in institutions of higher education. The target audience includes key decision makers such as senior administrators, deans and department heads, ombudspersons, anti-harassment officers, housing and security administrators, faculty, student affairs professionals, and various frontline conflict services staff. The consensus document was developed by a national working group including the full spectrum of campus conflict resolvers. Presents a set of nine core principles that are elaborated on reflecting best practices in the higher education ADR field. Includes appendix with resource links.
World of CRE Powerpoint presentation examining peer mediation.
Does it work?: The case for conflict resolution education in our nation's schools In March, 2000, a gathering of educators, practitioners, and researchers took place in Washington DC in a research symposia sponsored by the United States Department of Education and convened by the Conflict Resolution Education Network. This group came to share their colective knowledge about CRE research, how the research is informing practice in the field of CRE, and what direction future research should take. This 155-page manuscript is a product of this gathering. The chapter structure is as follows: Chapter 1: Conflict Resolution Education in the U.S. Chapter 2: Impact on Students: Conflict Resolution Education's Proven Benefits for Students Chapter 3: Impact on Educators: Conflict Resolution Education and the Evidence Regarding Educators Chapter 4: Impact on Diverse Populations: How CRE Has Not Addressed the Needs of Diverse Populations Chapter 5: Impact of CRE on School and Classroom Climate Chapter 6: Conflict Resolution Education: Issues of Institutionalization Chapter 7: Does It Work? Shared Insights and Future Directions
PROS: Peaceful resolutions for Oklahoma [high school] students: Student edition 46-page PDF high school student manual designed to teach peer-mediation techniques as well as communication skills, leadership and problem solving.
PROS: Peaceful resolutions for Oklahoma [elementary] students: Student edition 46-page PDF (student edition) manual which introduces elementary school students to peer mediation and conflict and teaches communication and problem solving skills.
SCORE peer mediation guide for students: Student conflict resolution experts 34-page pdf manual which "guides students through the principles and techniques for successful mediation. The content of the student manual reflects that of the coordinators’ manual." With lessons in introduction to mediation, building trust, listening and troubleshooting.
Conflict resolver to conflict creator: Thoughts on writing mediation roleplays Pdf article from Conflict Management in Higher Education Report, Volume 3, Number 3, (May 2003), which discusses "roleplays [which] were designed to help prepare the newly emerging student CPR (Campus Peer Resolution) Team based in WSU's [Wayne State University] Counseling and Psychological Services office, roleplays are a significant part of the education process, they play a vital role in training mediators to help parties consider positions from the other side."
Conflict management 12-page pdf document, intended for adults working in school settings, which examines the process of mediation for conflict resolution, includes sample peer mediation journal.