CONFLICTS AND THE SKILLS TO RESOLVE THEM
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.
Read chapter 3 of Waging Peace in Our Schools by Linda Lantieri and Janet Patti. In it they provide a number concepts integral to successfully understanding conflicts and resolving then nonviolently. They also provide examples of exercises that can help bring these concepts to life in schools and build the necessary skills – skills that educators must not just expect learners to adopt, but must themselves adopt, as well.
“One of the first myths to dispel is that conflict is always bad. Conflict is actually a natural, normal part of life. The day we die we’ll still have a list of conflicts yet to be resolved. Conflict is not bad in and of itself, yet for many of us, especially young people, it has come to equal violence. This is an equation we have to break.”
Reflection Question: What are three conflicts that you are currently experiencing in either your personal or professional life? How, if at all, can any of the skills outlined in this chapter help your resolve those conflicts peaceably?