Students, staff design conflict resolution calendar, strategies
Published: Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 04:10
When elementary, middle and high school students across the country mediate conflicts this year, they may use strategies in a calendar designed by members of the university community.
The calendar is designed to help students in a K-12 setting learn communication skills to ease conflicts and act as mediators when problems arise. Events featured on the calendar, such as
"Conflict Resolution Day" and "National Youth Violence Prevention Week" offer interactive strategies to teach students social relations skills.
The Conflict Resolution Program, part of the university's Institute for Public Administration, designs programs promoting effective mediation skills. The program was selected to design the national 2011-2012 Conflict Resolution Education Activity Calendar. Two students, junior Corinne O'Connor and graduate student Stephanie Patterson, contributed a large portion of the calendar's design. Patterson declined to comment.
O'Connor, a Public Administration Fellow at the university, said her enthusiasm for conflict resolution motivated her to get involved in the calendar's creation.
"We have to start at the grassroots, at an educational level," O'Connor said. "We have to raise awareness about how citizens of Delaware, and around the world can benefit from mediation."
She said a common problem in conflict is a perceived lack of equality in its resolution, leaving one member feeling slighted. The calendar will help both parties engaged in conflict feel accounted for.
Kathy Wian, a Conflict Resolution Program coordinator, also assisted in the calendar's design. Wian said the university was approached by Conflict Resolution Education in Teacher Education, which works with educators to integrate such education into curriculums, to design the calendar in January. It was completed by August.
"Part of the reason [CRETE] approached the University of Delaware, is because they knew there would be student involvement," Wian said.
Although the calendar is intended for use in K-12 classrooms, Wian said resident assistants at the university were taught conflict resolution and mediation skills, and the makers of the calendar teamed with the university's Faculty Staff Assistance Program to offer training for employees in conflict mediation.
Freshman Liam Reynolds, an elementary education major, stated in an email message that the Conflict Resolution Calendar will benefit all involved.
"I think that using the calendar would be beneficial for students and administrators," Reynolds said. "As a teacher, using the activities would definitely be something worth trying."
O'Connor said she believes the calendar will help spread awareness about the benefits of effective conflict resolution.
"It's the perfect mindset to open up doors for mediation programs throughout the country," she said.