5.3

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?

Additional Resources:

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24 thoughts on “5.3

  1. 1. Challenge: Roommate disputes over house chores/cleanliness.
    Solution: Win-win negotiation. Each person in our house defines “clean” a little differently, and/or maybe it is just that everyone has different tolerant levels. Everyone also defines “chipping in” differently as well. We all know we want to work together to keep the house clean, but I really think the root of the challenge is that we all have different standards and expectations. Some people feel like they are always doing more than their share. I think there needs to be some way that everyone feels they can “win” at least in some ares. For example there could be “non-negotiables” that we all agree to always do, or never do, etc. when it comes to certain elements of house up-keep.

    2. Challenge: Too much work, too little time, work/life balance.
    Solution: Win-win negotiation/planning. I would like to start prioritizing better so that I know what absolutely needs to get done in any given day and what can wait. I would also like to make sure I’m always doing something in every single day that is jut for my “life” – not my work. Most days I do manage this, but recently I’ve been working all weekend long, which is starting to upset me and just wear me down. I think that as long as I make sure to really stay in touch with my life by doing something just for me on each weekend day, then I can get through this rough patch of a really heavy work load.

  2. 1. Conflict: What’s best for myself and my son long term vs. What’s best for us short term. I will finish graduate school in December and while I am very pleased with living in the DC metro area, I feel that I could grow farther and faster professionally and have richer personal experiences elsewhere. A friend of mine has been teaching in the UK for 7 years now and we have had many conversations about the shape of education and educators there verses here and he has given me many resources and connections for securing employment there. I am a parent and think living in another country even if only for a few years would provide a child with a richness of experiences that could not be duplicated here in the states. Still, continuity is imperative and starting over is challenging.
    Strategy: Soft negotiation where in I evaluate how such a move might impact all vested parties and not the grandeur of the opportunity itself.

    2. Conflict: Conflicts with administrators where in I walk away feeling devalued and deflated.
    Strategy: The I message seems most effective in such a case. I think I, like many, take for granted that people know how their words impact me and perhaps this is not always the case. Using such a message would not only make clear how the communication has come across, but start the dialog regarding how to proceed as well.

    3. Conflict: Balancing work/school obligations and home and personal ones.
    Strategy: Determining priority via reflective and active listening would allow me to make choices about what should come first or be delayed based on its overall importance and the impact doing or not doing a specific task at a particular time on myself and others.

  3. When I stopped to think about the kinds of conflicts I am engaged in, I had a great deal of trouble coming up with them — maybe this has something to do with me being on summer break? Here are the conflicts that occupy me the most:

    ~~ work/life balance. – I have difficulty finding time to do my job as well as I would like to do it, and still doing things for my own health – eating right, exercising, spending time with people my own age… This is something I have confidence that I can be more successful with this upcoming school year if I can create a few routines a few weekday evenings that I can look forward to, that serve my need for balance, and hopefully I can communicate to others about my necessity for these hard boundaries.

    ~~ students with no investment in school or my class. There tend to only be a few in each class, but these few can band together and destroy a productive work environment. I intend to do everything I can to make students more emotionally connected to my classwork this school year — maybe I will consider this solution Avoidance. For students who continue to disregard the classwork, I plan to nonviolently confront students one on one, using careful active listening, hopefully getting to the bottom of the students’ issue with motivation.

    ~~ the introvert vs. the extrovert. I am mentally and physically drained by a day of socializing. my partner is energized by it. The classic problem is a scenario where I might be inclined to want to leave a party or social engagement at what I would consider a reasonable time to allow for relaxation/decompression/and then rest, but my partner complains that he is just getting started. If he could have it his way, every social gathering would last all weekend. More than once a host has less than subtly kicked us out, the last remaining guests, so they could get some rest themselves. Agreeing to disagree doesn’t often work here, because I feel deflated going home alone from a gathering that we had attended together. So after some discussion, lately we have been negotiating our plans in advance of arriving to a social event. When we will leave is a mutually agreed upon term, and he knows not to get too carried away if the hour is approaching. If the problem does persist in the future, I think the next step would be to involve a third party mediator.

  4. Conflict 1) Overreacting in fights and controlling my emotions during a conflict
    Solution: Understanding what type of fighter I am. When I over react and become emotional I become a “hard negotiator.” I saw myself being described when I went though Thomas Gordon’s “Dirty Dozen.” Not only did I see myself saying these things but I realized that these things had been said to me at many points in my life.

    Conflict 2) Coworkers
    Solution: I message, this is a good tool for me to have because it put the other person in my shoes and shows them how I feel when they do something. Maybe they don’t know that they are causing me hurt by their actions.

    Conflict 3) Yes not really a conflict… but I need to change my overall approach to conflicts.
    Solution: I need to think of win-win situations.

  5. How to be really supportive to a close friend who is going through a health crisis in the family at this time. I have called, visited, brought small tokens, but still thinks there is more that I can do. It becomes a conflict because she tends to be reserve in sharing her views on the situation when we talk. I will just continue to be supportive and utilize the accommodating style as we all deal with this case.

    There is an unethical stream of behavior that people in authority at my church tend to practice as a habit. I have used the reflective strategy, I-message, eye contact, active listening as a means of stating my view on the issue.

    Students using their cell phones in class. I have used the “be strong without being mean” strategy to express my point of view to them using the I- message. It may go like this, “I feel disrespected when you are using your cell phone while I am addressing class/while you should be doing your work, so please put up the cell phone.”

  6. The 3 Conflicts

    “Asha’s mom” me vs “Momma G” me

    Situation: Earlier this week, one of the Wilson poets and my daughter (also in the club) decided to ask me if they could have a sleepover. Because, my child had neglected her chores, I said no with no further explanation (Parenting rules #207 – Get the child home first before lowering the boom.) The next evening, my daughter had a late rehearsal. Another poet missed the last bus going home (in Montgomery county and the family is carless) His mom called me to ask if he could spend the night. Mind you, my child was still on social restriction but what could I do?
    Once everyone was in the house, I happened to overhear our guest talking on the phone with the aforementioned Wilson poet. By his conversation, I could tell she couldn’t understand why he got to sleepover and she hadn’t. She was not upset with him or my daughter but me. After all, I’m her Momma G and she and the other poets are always welcome in our home. Conflict!
    Strategies: Currently I’m practicing avoidance. I realize this may not work but I was eavesdropping after all. When I see said poet (this evening), I know if she is still upset, she will let me know either verbally or by body language. If she is, I will use Kreidler’s CAPS strategy: Cool off/Agree to Work it out/Point of view (I-statements – Momma G vs. Asha’s Mom)/Solve Problem.

    Who needs a fully functional school library media program?

    This conflict has troubled me since 1989, when I first entered school librarianship. As reported in the recent DCPS Library Task Force findings, “Over the past two decades, major research has been completed on school library media programs and their impact on student achievement in twenty-two states. In each of these statewide studies, a significant factor influencing student performance has been the quality of the school library media program. The most important elements of school library media programs have been the quality of staffing and the quality of collections.” Actually this research predates 1988 when the American Library Association updated its national standards for school libraries. Yet throughout my career, especially in the past decade, many administrators and teachers (and now chancellors) continue to argue against the necessity of every child having access to a certified school librarian and funded library program.
    Strategies: Nonviolently agree to disagree (simply do not understand refusal to act on research (like trying to get an open discussion on racism)) . Vacillate between compromise and accommodation for sake of servicing our students. When possible, collaborate with willing and supportive teachers and parents to demonstrate program effectiveness and expand customer base and program penetration.

    Workaholic: How to Balance?

    This is a conflict I share with many in this class – finding balance I singlehandedly support, nearly 1800 students and over 100 teachers. The workload is great. My family has actually corralled me and insisted, not for just their benefit, but my own to slow down, come home and once home, turn off the computer/stop working, then take time to re-create by socializing with friends, indulging in hobbies, and/or just relaxing.
    Strategies: Win/win strategy (negotiate with myself) Analyze needs and positions (wants). Determine professional and personal non-negotiables. Collaborate with library tech and parent volunteers to plan ways to delegate/share duties.

  7. Conflict one- I think one conflict I’m experiencing in my personal life would be, not being able to express my feelings truthfully without feeling like I’m going to hurt someone’s feelings. Resolution-Relax, Release, and Receive. I just need to be honest and then think about how it is going to make me feel later knowing that I’m unhappy about not following my heart.

    Conflict two- Another conflict I have in my life is having a strenuous work schedule, two part time jobs which are very time, but lots of fun and one very relaxing to the mind, school work requires my time for reading, I also have two children with busy evening engagements and I have a significant other who would love to spend time with me as well.
    Resolution- Stop and make a list or a schedule that everyone would be able to benefit from. Schedule accordingly with the time I have available with my loved ones. Win – win situation is to just compose a schedule that works best for me.

    Conflict 3- Being able to do what I would like to do and not worry about what others think all the time, whether it be parenting, church aspects, work, relationship or me just enjoying life to the fullest. In this case, the I message would work great. I want to…. I love to.. I feel better when…

  8. Conflict 1. Work vs social life/family, it seems as is I don’t have enough time in the day to make everyone happy. School and my students demand so much of my time and energy that when it is time to come home I am physically and emotionally exhausted.
    Strategy: their has to be a cut off time for work so that my home life is not affected. I have to realize that I can not save the world, as of now but soon I will be close. Leave work at a certain time. That way when I get home I will have time to spend with my family.
    Conflict 2 is with myself, I continuously put others before me regardless what the outcome is for me as long as they are happy I’m good. But am I really good? I want to make sure that everyone in my circle is safe and all their needs are meant. What/who is doing the same for me?
    Strategy: for every person I do this for or maybe two I treat myself with something nice. Doesn’t have to be big but something that makes me feel good that I can make someone else feel great.

  9. conflict 1 – Getting students to complete and return their homework.
    strategy – Active listening can be used to help me and students understand and have an honest conversation about why homework is not being completed and returned and find solutions. By using active listening, students will feel safe to discuss any misunderstandings without experiencing low self-esteem and diminished motivation.

    conflict 2 – School work vs. working out
    strategy – A win-win negotiation can be used to help me settle the conflict between doing school work and working out. I can separate the needs and positions of each action. Then, I can create a list of possible solutions and eliminate unacceptable solutions, such as only doing school work and not working out or only working out and not doing school work. I think the most beneficial part of this strategy will be creating and following through with an action plan. Things often come up or tasks take longer than expected, which causes me to reevaluate my decisions.

    conflict 3 – friends/life in DC vs. family/friends in PA
    strategy – A win-win negotiation can be used to help me settle the conflict between spending extra time (predominantly the weekends) in DC with friends and the life I’ve established for myself or in PA with family and friends. Similar to my second conflict, I can separate the needs and positions of each situation. Then, I can create a list of possible solutions, such as traveling to PA once a month, and eliminate unacceptable solutions. After choosing the best solution, I can make an action plan.

  10. I have a similar conflict as what Jerron has identified: work takes over my life during the school year and my time for exercise and a social life gets short shrift. This has happened for both of my first two years of teaching. Before that I didn’t have a pattern of being a workaholic. I had a balance between work as a journalist and my social life. But in those days, I could go to my boss and state an I-message about the level of work and ask for more time to complete a project.

    As a teacher, it seems that I’ve never completed all the work I need to do to fulfill my expectations of being a good teacher. I don’t have a boss that I can go to and ask for a change in the work load. The boss is the rather ambiguous demands of the challenging job of engaging teenagers.

    Strategy: Be in touch with my feelings and identify that not getting enough exercise (and putting on weight, as what happened this school year) leads to feelings of frustration and low self-esteem which are feelings that do not help me to serve my students well.

    I’ve set a goal to go for a walk during my planning period at school every day, so that I’m sure that I build exercise into my work day.

    This last year I did a better job than the previous year of keeping up a social life. I went contra dancing every Friday night. I also am a church-goer and I went to church every Sunday morning. This next school year, I want to set the goal to have a meaningful social event every Saturday evening as well.

  11. Conflict: Overwhelmed with work, I barely have a social life. I average about twelve to fourteen hours at work a day during the school year. Being a teacher with a full load of classes and a head football coach is stressful at time. I have to prepare for class, deal with students, co-worker, players, coaches, and administrators all in one day, everyday. Strategy: win-win negotiations. I constantly explain to every one listed above on how overwhelming my job could be and how each individual need to play their part so that my job could be enjoyable and less stressful. Things are slowly progressing but it will take time.

    Conflict: Communication with my coaches and players
    Strategy: I message. For some strange reason there is a lack of communication. I will contact all of my coaches and tell them to reach out to their position to deliver a message. I constantly hear from my player that they didn’t reason my directions. If I create a group and I message my entire staff and team them that would solve my conflict.

    Both of my conflicts involve my job and football but honesty I’m happy with my life and rarely face conflict. Due to this assignment I had to find something. 🙂

  12. 1) Time Management – Between teaching, taking classes, and professional developments, I often feel like I am in conflict with those expecting something out of me. There are also things that I need to find time for, including my social and personal lives.

    Possible Solution – Win-Win Negotiation (With Myself) – Prioritize, or make the distinction between needs and positions (wants). In my professional life, I need to make sure my students are taught. In my personal life, I need to pursue fulfillment. Although many positions are ties to these needs, they should not be the priorities. A win-win situation takes care of those two needs above all else.

    2) Moving – I am moving in just a few weeks. The new apartment is exciting, but I am leaving my current management company with more than a small bit of frustration as they have not communicated effectively or responded to out requests. Because of this, I have a lot of resentment towards the management of my building and simply want to be done with dealing with them.

    Possible Solution – Active Listening – More effective communication. Perhaps they haven’t been ignoring our repair requests for 8 months. Perhaps there is some red tape or something else. The only way I can really know is to ask clarifying questions and seek clear answers.

    3) Communicating with students – Teenagers are quick to judge, but oftentimes forget that their teachers are people too.

    Possible Solution – I-Messages – Students need to see my emotions and I need to communicate them in order to have a more effective and engaging classroom.

  13. 1. Conflict: Confronting my roommate being messy as silly as it sounds is one conflict that I still have yet to resolve. Its difficult because I have tried talking with her, leaving notes, leading by example and also being patient and not allowing her messiness get to me. I still have yet to find a way to express myself while still understanding where she’s coming from.

    Possible Solution: Win-win. I think that I need to have a conversation with her about how her messiness affects me, and how we can both compromise and discuss what works best for both of us.

    2. Conflict: Being a senior there are several challenges that consume by thought all related to graduating in May. What should I do? Do I want a real job? Do I want to do a year of service? Should I stay in DC? Where should I live? How am I going to support myself? What do I like? Where is my support network the strongest?

    Possible Solution: Right now I am in the brainstorming phase, thinking of my options, choices, ideal jobs etc. I am also setting up meetings, going to info. sessions and beginning to make a time-line for myself of application due dates etc.

  14. Conflict: Clubs asking for rule changes, ie submit a late budget, ask for money earlier etc
    Strategy: Meditation. I have to accept the fact that all of us are leading busy lives and thus, students often fail to plan in advance. As a result, they hope our team can bend the rules when we can. Thus, I just need to breathe and alter my expectations.

    Conflict: My friend consistently makes Black jokes and thinks they are funny
    Strategy: Meditation and using I statement. To me, black jokes in college are a bit old. Yet, as he is a philosophy major he justifies why his jokes are okay and why the inability to make those jokes is problematic. To me, this becomes philosophical bullshit. But, I need to be patience and meditate and than express to him with I statements why those jokes make me uncomfortable.

    Conflict 3: As others in the group have stated, I do not have a third conflict.

  15. Daniel Knoll:
    Conflict 1: As I get closer and closer to graduation, a conflict that has certainly been in the back/front of my mind a lot is what to do after I graduate. This is complicated by the fact that I’ve been in a relationship for a long time and the decision of what to do is not one that impacts just me, and vice versa. Lantieri and Patti’s concept of I Messages are extremely useful because it forces us to reflect on what each of us wants personally, something we’ve been mildly avoiding for quite some time. I think its also important to properly define this conflict, especially what the options are available to us and what exactly each decision would mean.
    Conflict 2: I’m may be moving into a house next semester with 9 other people. One of my biggest concerns is how clean everyone will be. Its important to me (and I hope everyone else) to keep the place consistently clean. My biggest concern is having people do their dishes. I think it will be very important for me to remember principled negotiation when speaking to my housemates. Its important to isolate the problem (someone doesn’t wash their dishes) and not start to think negatively of them as a person.

  16. 1. Conflict with AU over Skills Institute Disappointment: I signed and took a course on “Successful Tools for Grantwriting” but the instructor is not (self defined) a grant writer nor is he able to teach such tools. Instead the course was on program/organizational management. I need to be sure to use active listening in this situation. The clearest problem is a lack of communication between students and the IPCR organizer(s). This problem is simply addressed by listening to understand. This will be an important step in opening communication so that the conflict can be transformed into a win-win situation.
    2. Conflict with Staff on USAID Grant: currently members of my staff, including the Executive Director of the organization, perceive the goals and writing of our grant application to USAID in different ways making it difficult to produce a cohesive, compelling, and comprehensive application. I need to utilize “I statements” and meditation. I need to be sure to express not only how and what I feel among my staff and during the grant process but I need to ensure that my staff understands why I feel/think the way I do. Instead of making the process a competition, using “I statements” will help to indicate that I want to achieve the same goals as other people but may have alternative perspectives on how to accomplish those goals based on my unique experiences. Additionally I need to take time before and after each meeting to briefly meditate on the subject and the best way to communicate. Because members of the staff come from three separate countries, good intercultural communication is important. Meditating to acknowledge this challenge and to address my own communication barriers is essential.
    3. I honestly can’t think of a third conflict to share 😦

  17. 1. Conflict: My roommate is unhappy in our apartment, and wants to move out. I want to stay until our agreed move-out date because I can’t handle the stress of moving right now and moving would be a financial burden. Solution: I need to use more I-messages. Often, I avoid the issue with her which results in her hurting my feelings or making me feel resented when she talks about how much she dislikes the apartment. If I expressed to her how I feel when she complains, she would have a better understanding of my reasons for staying and why her actions hurt me.

    2. Conflict: I have a friend who is very flaky. I make plans with her, and she often doesn’t follow through. However, I value her friendship enough to keep trying. This is probably another conflict that can be solved by using I-messages. She is unaware of how it makes me feel when she cancels at the last minute or just doesn’t show up at all. If she used I-messages, I would have a better understanding of why she acts the way she does.

  18. 1. Conflict: my roommates and I become easily annoyed with each other. Generally we get along for the majority of the time, but peace between all six of us all the time is rare. Strategy: personally, I’m willing to “agree to work it out” and admit that I’m wrong or just deal with the complaints of a roommate for the sake of preserving the peace. It’s a situation in which I don’t care about getting to a “win-win” outcome.

    2. Conflict: can’t prioritize school work. I have a lot of other obligations and commitments this semester, and it’s usually my school assignments that fall by the wayside. Strategy: again, I need to agree (with myself I suppose) to work it out. First I can take a moment to accept that this is the reality, and that I’ve been failing to keep up, but that if doing well academically senior year is a priority (it is), then I need to work at balancing my decisions so I have time for school.

    3. ….I don’t have a third conflict in life right now, honestly!

  19. The Conflict: As a recent retiree, I will speak to one (and not three) “conflicts” I am currently experiencing in my professional life. I am still finding it difficult to manage the demands on my time to consult on, and engage with individuals, firms and organizations on the subject I worked on for many years. While it is a bit flattering to feel the demand for your services, it does conflict with my clear preferences to spend more time with my family, to teach, to travel and to write. Maybe this is what the first year of retirement is all about despite advanced planning.

    Resolving the Conflict: I probably unconsciously use two skills to effectively manage these situations and end with the desired result: win-win negotiations and active listening. Since I do not want to cut off all contacts, I try to understand better why my skills are being requested for particular assignments, and also explain (I messages) why I would prefer not to be a consultant with timetables and business travel. Doing pro-bono work, providing advice etc. keeps my hand in the field (a win for me) and provides some services to the firm/Agency (win for them).

  20. 1. Work: I am overwhelmed and constantly being asked to do more than I should be doing. I want to do everything for the professors because I value our relationships but in the end I start to get resentful of the extra workload and overwhelmed. I need to move away from being a ‘soft’ negotiator and work towards more ‘win-win’ solutions so that everyone is happy.
    2. Roommate issues: I haven’t had roommates for 7 years so getting used to living with people again has been hard. I tend to get really frustrated and angry about really stupid things and avoid confrontation by communicating through email rather than confronting people head on. A strategy to use could be I-messages to relay how I feel about things around the house and allow for others to communicate in the same way.

  21. 1. My best friend’s room mate problems: This has become my problem since he complains about it all the time to me. He is uncomfortable with confronting them and his whole apartment communicates via sticky notes with cleaning demands and instructions on what food belongs to who. The problem is even more frustrating as we are all friends and nobody wants to hurt each other’s feelings. I am having a hard time actively listening to these complaints and am growing frustrated with their lack of resolution.

    Strategy: mediation. I think their problems with communication could be resolved with someone helping them along. I don’t quite feel confident in fulfilling this role but perhaps I can after this class!

    2. Fighting over TV channels. I know this is a “tame” example, but like the reading said, conflict happens all the time! When it comes to controlling the TV channel my opinion is often over-ridden since I don’t own the TV or pay for the cable. I feel like my friend doesn’t value my TV preferences and this makes me obstinate when it comes to aspects of our friendship that I can control.

    Strategy: Win-win. I think my best strategy is to let go of hurt feelings and negotiate a compromise. While I want to “win” at least some of the time, it isn’t worth jeopardizing our friendship by assuming anything about his motives or the nature of our relationship.

  22. 1.) Conflict: too much to do (growing a person, being a wife/daughter/friend/etc., finding time to exercise and continue to be healthy, work, doubling up on grad classes, running PBIS, leading the 7th grade house at my school, being on the leadership team, settling into the house we just bought, attempting to maintain sanity) – I’m sure I missed some things

    Strategy: win-win negotiation. Most of these things on my list are unavoidable and I really had to think about what I could cut out. I had a very honest discussion with my principal about what we both needed – we went through possible solutions and ultimately, I was able to step down from PBIS and cut down my meeting attendance on our leadership team.

    2.) Conflict: Getting unwanted, unasked for, unwarranted pregnancy advice from every person I meet.

    Strategy: I messages. For the most part, I’ve been using a “grin and bear it” mentality with the unwanted advice and everyone – including random strangers – touching my belly. I may try this to see if it has a better result. My problem is that I tend to be fairly sarcastic and cynical, so while I may intend to say something along the lines of, “I feel concerned over what you are telling me”, it would come out, “I feel as though you should let health care professionals advise pregnant women.” While both of those might get the point across, I do feel as though most of the people who give me advice are only well-intentioned and I will probably continue to just deal with it.

  23. Conflict with boyfriend – where to spend the holidays
    Skill: Win-win negotiation. I think Lantieri and Patti made a great point when they talked about the importance of making the distinction between needs and positions. I think in this situation with my boyfriend it will be helpful to separate our needs from our positions to identify what we want (spend the holidays together) from our reasons for why we want it (at our respective homes). I think we will be able to brainstorm solutions to make a cooperative decision so that we each feel that our needs were fully met.

    Conflict: length of phone conversations with mother
    Skill: I-messages. This isn’t as much of a conflict as much as it is something that frustrates me that I feel that I should express because I know my mother will be very helpful in making a compromise with me. I will aim to have this conversation begin with an “I message” like.. I feel anxious when you call and we talk for a long time because I cannot get my work done on time. Followed by: is there a compromise we can make on the timing and length of our phone conversations?

    Conflict with brothers
    Skill: I need to employ the active listening skills with my brothers. We are not the most emotionally expressive siblings, and from past experiences I know that we often don’t talk about our feelings and concerns and therefore we do not understand the core of the problem. I think if we each use more active listening skills, reflecting on each others expressed emotions, we can break down some barriers and get to the root of the conflict.

  24. 1. Conflict: over-worked. Strategy: win-win negotiations. I have been discussing this issue with two of the Assistant Principals at my school, trying to explain to them my point of view with having too much to do each day and also trying to understand what it is they are trying to accomplish with the innumerable tasks they give to us. I think through this dialogue, it becomes less of an “Us vs. Them” mentality, and more that we are all here to try and help these students be successful, so let’s row the boat in the same direction by pooling our ideas and resources.

    2. Conflict: recalcitrant students. Strategy: active listening. It frequently humbles and amazes me the results I get when I take the time to listen to where a student is coming from. The thing I often forget is that they have yet to learn the language of articulation. They have the same 5-10 responses to every situation, and therefore I get dulled by the “I’m guh” “I don’t care” “I’m bored” “I don’t know” “I don’t like this responses.” When I take the time, however, to tease out what it is they’re trying to communicate to me, and when I listen to them and ask probing questions, the students make sense and I can give them responses that more directly address their concerns.

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