Program

Mar 16, 2007

OVERVIEW

The Teaching Students to be Peacemakers (TSP) program was
designed to target conflict resolution and mediation behaviors in elementary
school-aged children. Students in the program receive up to nine hours of
peer-mediation training over several weeks. The program evaluation, which
randomly assigned classrooms, found that the program was effective in teaching
children more constructive negotiation strategies for dealing with conflict.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Elementary school-aged
children

The
TSP program is based on five main tenants related to conflict resolution and
peer-mediation. The first is that all students
in a student body should understand conflict resolution techniques.
Likewise, all students should be able to effectively use these
techniques. Third, school culture should promote mediation as a conflict
resolution technique. Fourth, peer mediators are available to negotiate
conflict. Finally, conflict resolution responsibilities are distributed
over the entire student body. The actual program involves 3 main parts
which demonstrate and define conflict, negotiation, and mediation.
Classes of students receive 30-45 minute training sessions several times a week
for approximately 10-12 weeks.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Johnson,
D. W., Johnson, R. T., Dudley, B. & Magnuson, D. (1995). Training elementary school students to manage conflict.
The Journal of School Psychology, 14,673-686.

Evaluated population: A total of 292 elementary school students in grades 2-5 from a
middle class Midwestern school. The sample included normal, gifted, and
learning-disabled classrooms.

Approach: Teachers who agreed to participate in the study were randomly assigned to
the treatment or control condition. Students in the TSP program condition
received nine hours of peer mediation and conflict resolution training over six
weeks. Students in the sessions were divided into pairs and worked on
review exercises, group discussions, role play scenarios, or direct
instruction. All training sessions were observed to ensure that each
treatment was consistent. Control groups did not receive any training,
and were randomly selected to complete one of the program effectiveness
evaluations.

Self-report
data were collected on three different conflict scenarios and were either
written by the student or obtained in an interview. Five different
questionnaires were used to assess different aspects of the program and they
included: Total Recall Test to measure knowledge of mediation procedures,
Delayed Total Recall Measure to test consistency of the knowledge over time,
Conflict Scenario Written Measure to test conflict resolution strategies of
students in a written format, Conflict Scenario Interview Measure to test
conflict resolution strategies of students in a verbal format, and Conflict
Resolution Interview Schedule which assessed the teacher’s
and the principal’s interpretation of the effects of
the program.

Children
in the treatment group were tested three times (a pre-test, a post-test, and a
the end of the academic year), while control group students completed the
post-test.

Results: Children in the treatment condition were found to use more constructive
negotiation strategies when compared with controls in two of the three
presented written scenarios. For example, after training, 32 percent of
student responses involved negotiation, compared with 0 percent in the control
group. Likewise, children in treatment conditions were found to manage
conflict in a more constructive manner when compared with controls in the
interview assessment. At the end of the school year, of those in the
treatment group, 92 percent recalled all of the steps involved in negotiation
and mediation.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Link to program curriculum: http://www.co-operation.org/pages/materials.html

References

Johnson,
D. W., Johnson, R. T., Dudley, B. & Magnuson, D. (1995). Training elementary school students to manage conflict.
The Journal of School Psychology, 14,673-686.

KEYWORDS: Conflict
Resolution, Behavioral Problems, Peer Mediation, Elementary School, Children,
Middle Childhood (6-11), Life Skills Training,
School-Based, Social/Emotional Health and Development, Positive Citizenship,
Civic Engagement, Manual Is Available.

Program
information last updated 3/16/07