Program

Apr 03, 2013

OVERVIEW

The Conflict Resolution Training program is designed to teach students how to manage conflicts more constructively by learning about conflict resolution and peer mediation procedures. At the beginning of the school year, students were randomly assigned to receive either the conflict resolution training or no training. At the end of the program there was a significant difference between experimental and control groups in student knowledge of the negotiation procedure and ability to apply it to actual conflicts.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Middle school students, grades 6 through 9.

Participants received the Conflict Resolution Training program 3 times a week for 25 minutes over a period of three months (14 hours of total contact). The training program had two primary components: integrative negotiation and perspective reversal procedures. The integrative negotiation procedure focused on solving a conflict by having disputants find a mutually satisfying solution. The perspective reversal procedure focused on solving a conflict by viewing it from the other person’s perspective. Teaching methods included cooperative learning, procedural learning, role-playing, review exercises, and group discussions. The training focused on teaching students the nature of conflict, how to engage in integrative negotiations, and how to mediate schoolmates’ conflicts.

The program was conducted by graduate students and the professor who designed the program. All trainers were experienced in delivering the classes.

EVALUATION OF PROGRAM

Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R., Dudley, B., Mitchell, J., & Frederickson, J. (1997). The Impact of Conflict Resolution Training on Middle School Students. The Journal of Social Psychology, 137(1), 11-21.

Evaluated population: A total of 176 students (84 boys and 92 girls) attending a Midwest suburban school in grades 6 through 9 participated in the study. All of the participants were white and from a middle-class background. Sixty students (27 boys and 33 girls) were randomly assigned to the control group, and 116 (57 boys and 59 girls) were assigned to the experimental group.

Approach: The training took place during a 25-minute homeroom period; students were randomly assigned to a homeroom period at the beginning of the school year. Two homerooms at each grade level were assigned to the experimental group and one to the control group. In the control group, students did homework during the 25-minute homeroom period.

Using a pretest-posttest experimental design, two main outcomes were assessed: knowledge of the negotiation procedure and ability to apply it to actual conflicts. These outcomes were measured using two written measures. The How I Manage Conflict measure was used to assess both knowledge of the negotiation and mediation procedures and willingness to use the procedures. The Conflict Scenario measure asked students to write what they would do in two different conflict scenarios. Both treatment and control groups received the pre-test before the beginning of the training and the post-test 1 week after the end of the training. Participant responses were classified using a Strategy Constructiveness Scale which arranged the strategies used by the students in a point-based hierarchy ranging from most destructive (physical aggression) to most constructive (full negotiation).

Results: Post-training, there was a significant increase in knowledge of the negotiation in the experimental group (p < 0.0001) compared with the control group (p <0.78).There was also a significant change in the number of students that used negotiation as a strategy in both conflict scenarios in the experimental group (first scenario, p <0.0001; second scenario, p<0.0002). The change score in the control group, before and after the training, was not significant for using negotiation skills in either of the scenarios. There were no significant differences among grade level or gender in any of the measured outcomes.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R., Dudley, B., Mitchell, J., & Frederickson, J. (1997). The Impact of Conflict Resolution Training on Middle School Students. The Journal of Social Psychology, 137(1), 11-21.

KEYWORDS: Adolescents (12-17), Middle School, Males and Females, White/Caucasian, Skills Training, Social Skills, Life Skills.

Program information last updated on 04/03/2013 

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