Week 4 – Transforming Conflict Nonviolently (Summer 2013)


I am trying something new this week. There is no video, but rather an audio podcast. So click on the play button below to listen and jump into this week’s module.


This week we look at nonviolent ways to manage and resolve conflicts. This topic follows nicely from the previous week because a lot of the skills and methods needed to successfully resolve conflicts require thought and practice dedicated to social and emotional learning.

The learning objectives of this week are that you will be able to:

  • Define conflict
  • Explore effective ways of managing conflicts between learners
  • Appreciate the opportunities for growth that are present when conflicts arise
  • Evaluate peer mediation programs from various schools
  • Practice reflective and active listening skills
  • Understand the various components of talking circles

Key ideas and terms from this week are: I-messages, conflict, conflict transformation, mediation, RASA, reflective listening, active listening, attending skills, reflecting skills, talking circles

The exercises for this week are:

  • Daily peace actions (What Went Well)
  • Talk with your learning partner over the phone by Saturday, July 27th.
  • Participate in the all-class conference call on Wednesday, July 24th @ 5:00pm
  • Contribute to forum 4.1 by Sunday, July 28th @ 12:00pm

Continue to reading for the full outline of this week’s assignments.



In the previous module we took a broad look at social and emotional learning (SEL) – how emotions and feelings develop in the brain, how emotions impact our actions, how developments in positive psychology can shape our emotions, and the various theories on the human propensity towards violence or empathy, aggression or compassion, and the impact those conceptions have on how social and emotional learning is interpreted and implemented in schools.

Conflict resolution, particularly as practiced in schools, emerged from this growing interest in social and emotional learning (SEL). This module continues our exploration or SEL, but looks more specifically at the skills and programs designed to address conflicts that arise in learning environments.

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



The University for Peace defines conflict as “a confrontation between one or more parties aspiring towards incompatible or competitive means or ends.” (University for Peace Glossary of Peace and Conflict Terms). Given this definition, conflicts can be seen and experienced everywhere, all the time, especially in group settings like schools.

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



Resolving conflict involves not only having the vocabulary and the skills to effectively communicate one’s emotions, it also requires that someone is listening to those words and interpreting them in accurate ways. Communication, especially when it comes to conflict resolution is a two way street involving both speaking and listening.

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



It’s relatively easy to think of ways that we can practice our speaking skills. We can stand in front of a mirror and rehearse. We record ourselves and play it back. We can visualize ourselves giving a speech. We can practice in front of a friend and solicit their feedback. But what about all those listening skills from the previous page? How can we practice those skills and our listening in general?

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



Many of the conflict resolution and listening skills that we’ve explored thus far involve individual efforts (when it comes to listening skills) or conflicts between two people.  However, many conflicts, even though they may only physically or verbally manifest themselves between a small number of people, actually impact larger groups and the overall learning environment.

Click here to continue reading and then post a response to the reflection question at the bottom of that page.



On Wednesday, July 24th @ 7:30pm we will all meet on a conference call to check-in with one another and discuss this week’s topics using a circle process.

Conference call instructions will be sent via email.



Click here to see who your learning partner is this week.

The theme of this week’s paired discussions is “conflict styles.” Here are a couple questions to help guide your conversation:

  1. The University of Wisconsin at Madison has a useful outline of different ways people handle conflict. What is your conflict style(s)? What are some recent examples where you have been in conflict and have demonstrated one or some of these particular styles?
  2. What kinds of conflict styles do you most commonly experience in your teaching – with students, among students, with colleagues, parents, etc.? How does knowledge of conflict styles help prepare you for conflict, if at all?
  3. What has your experience been like doing the the “what went well” daily peace action? Was there anything surprising about going through this process ? Was there a skill or intention that you were able to recognize in yourself that leads to things going well? Is this something that you could see incorporating into your classroom with your students?



Contribute to forum 4.1 by Sunday, July 28th @ 12:00pm

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