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

A Generation Later: What We’ve Learned about Zero Tolerance in Schools

Zero tolerance discipline policies that mandate suspension or expulsion of students for misconduct have gained tremendous momentum over the past 25 years while also inviting deep controversy. With A Generation Later: What We’ve Learned about Zero Tolerance in Schools, Vera’s Center on Youth Justice looks at existing research about whether zero tolerance discipline policies make schools more orderly or safe, if out-of-school suspension or expulsion leads to greater involvement in the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems, and what effect these policies can have on a young person’s future. It concludes that, a generation after the rise of these policies and practices, neither schools nor young people have benefited. Fortunately, as described in the report, promising alternatives to zero tolerance can safely keep young people where they belong — in school.

Bridging the Fields of Drama and Conflict Management

This 450-page manuscript reports on the findings of an interdisciplinary and comparative action research project aimed at improving conflict handling among adolescent school children by using the medium of educational drama. Teams worked with youth in Australia, Malaysia and Sweden. In addition to field reports and an extensive theory review, the book includes an appendix with descriptions of all the drama exercises used in DRACON.

Evaluation of a School-Based, Universal Violence Prevention Program: Low, Medium, & High-Risk

Research article summarizing a violence intervention initiative. The investigation examined the differential effectiveness of PeaceBuilders, a large-scale, universal violence prevention program, on male and female youth identified as low, medium, or high risk for future violence. It included eight urban schools randomly assigned to intensive intervention and wait-list control conditions. The sample included N = 2,380 predominantly minority children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Results indicated differential effectiveness of the intervention, by level of risk; high-risk children reported more decreases in aggression and more increases in social competence in comparison to children at medium and low levels of risk. Findings add to a growing number of promising science-based prevention efforts that seek to reduce aggression and increase social competence; they provide encouraging evidence that relatively low-cost, schoolwide efforts have the potential to save society millions in victim, adjudication, and incarceration costs.

Changing Children’s Trajectories of Development

This research brief describes one of the largest and longest running school-based violence prevention programs in the country–the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP)–and discusses the results of a rigorous evaluation of its effectiveness conducted by the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The brief is designed to inform federal, state, and local policymakers and opinion leaders, as well as program developers and managers at the local level, of an effective strategy for directly addressing the problem of violence among children and youth. The evaluation assessed the impact of the RCCP program on children’s developmental trajectories toward violence, providing concrete evidence that early school-based violence prevention initiatives such as the RCCP can work and should be included in communities’ efforts to prevent violence among children and youth.

Educating for Peace and from the University: Memorial Anthology of a Decade

488-page pdf in Spanish. The UNESCO Chair in Education for Peace was created in November 1996 from a cooperation agreement between the University of Puerto Rico and the Organization of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This Anthology provides an overview of the essays and documents developed in the first decade of activity seeking to promote reflection and attention to the problems of violence and hope and to encourage and provide direction for non-violent action towards peaceful coexistence. The Anthology was released on a commemorative CD and as this downloadable pdf.

Unexplored power and potential of youth as peace-builders, The

29-page PDF article from “Journal of Peace Conflict & Development,” Issue 11, November 2007. Abstract: “Around the world many young people are victims of cultural, direct, and structural violence and become carriers of that violence or perpetration. There is a strong tendency among politicians and researchers to see youth as a problem to be solved. However, many youth are peaceful and peace-builders. Equally affected by various forms of violence, they decide to act constructively towards building a culture of peace. Youth are underestimated as positive agents of change and key actors in peace-building, both by policy-makers and academics. This paper explores the role of youth as peace-builders, illustrating their unique power and potential to affect social change through a number of examples.”

Summary – The Positive impact of social & emotional learning kindergarten to eighth grade students

12-page PDF report which, “summarizes results from three large-scale reviews of research on the impact of social and emotional learning (SEL) programs on elementary and middle-school students — that is, programs that seek to promote various aocial and emotional skills. Collectively the three reviews included 317 studies and involved 324,303 children. SEL programs yielded multiple benefits in each review and were effective in both school and after-school settings and for students with and without behavioral and emotional problems. They were also effective across the K-8 grade range and for racially and ethnically diverse students from urban, rural, and suburban settings. SEL programs improved students’ social-emotional skills, attitudes about self and others, connection to school, positive social behavior, and academic performance; they also reduced students’ conduct problems and emotional distress. Comparing results from these reviews to findings obtained in reviews of interventions by other research teams suggests that SEL programs are among the most successful youth-development programs offered to school-age youth. Furthermore, school staff (e.g., teachers, student support staff) carried out SEL programs effectively, indicating that they can be incorporated into routine educational practice. In addition, SEL programming improved students’ academic performance by 11 to 17 percentile points across the three reviews, indicating that they offer students a practical educational benefit. Given these positive findings, we recommend that federal, state, and local policies and practices encourage the broad implementation of well-designed, evidence-based SEL programs during and after school.”

Impact of violence on learning for youth: What can we do?

35-page PDF report that focuses “on the words of the interviewees, particularly the youth—both in school and out of school—and what they tell educators and others working in educational programs about what we can do to support learning.” In writing the report the author wanted to understand “how violence affects learning, and to examine how school responses played a part in creating this picture. Most importantly I wanted to look for ways to strengthen the possibilities of supporting learning for youth in high schools and in youth literacy and training programs.”

Programmes scolaires de prévention de la violence: Manuel de documentation

199-page pdf manual in French which “provides practical research- and expert-based information on school-based programs to prevent interpersonal violence. We review 79 prevention programs (18 in the French version). Each has research evidence, addresses unique “at-risk” populations, such as children with disabilities, or uses innovative approaches to engaging youth.”

School-based violence prevention programs: A resource manual

199-page pdf manual which “provides practical research- and expert-based information on school-based programs to prevent interpersonal violence. We review 79 prevention programs. Each has research evidence, addresses unique “at-risk” populations, such as children with disabilities, or uses innovative approaches to engaging youth.”

Evaluation report on progress made through the OSCE’s efforts to unify the Gymnasium Mostar: Summer

51-page PDF evaluation “of the unification of the Gymnasium Mostar in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), as commissioned by the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to BiH … the Gymnasium Mostar was an historic and premier secondary school prior to the war of 1992-1995. It was completely destroyed during the war and had become the centre of an effort to revitalize the historic Mostar downtown. An initiative to restore the multinational and high-quality nature of the school was viewed as an opportunity to use this divided school in this divided city as a model or beacon for potential reform efforts throughout the country.”

Evaluation report on progress made through the OSCE’s efforts to unify the Gymnasium Mostar: Summer

51-page Word evaluation “of the unification of the Gymnasium Mostar in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), as commissioned by the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to BiH … the Gymnasium Mostar was an historic and premier secondary school prior to the war of 1992-1995. It was completely destroyed during the war and had become the centre of an effort to revitalize the historic Mostar downtown. An initiative to restore the multinational and high-quality nature of the school was viewed as an opportunity to use this divided school in this divided city as a model or beacon for potential reform efforts throughout the country.”

Evaluation report: Life skills project implementation in the Armenian education system

45-page PDF report which
“represents an evaluation of implementation of the Life Skills Project being conducted in the Armenian education system as [a] component of an overall effort in education reform … the project was piloted in the first and fifth grades in 16 schools in 1999-2000. In 2000-2001 the project was expanded to 100 schools and to the second and sixth grades. UNICEF provided funding and some logistical support and the MOES provided administrative and logistical project support and workspace for the curriculum development team.”

Evaluation report: Life skills project implementation in the Armenian education system

45-page Word report which
“represents an evaluation of implementation of the Life Skills Project being conducted in the Armenian education system as [a] component of an overall effort in education reform … the project was piloted in the first and fifth grades in 16 schools in 1999-2000. In 2000-2001 the project was expanded to 100 schools and to the second and sixth grades. UNICEF provided funding and some logistical support and the MOES provided administrative and logistical project support and workspace for the curriculum development team.”