Peer Mediation

Peer mediation is a method for settling disputes and finding solutions that combine the needs of the parties in conflict. It is a way for students to deal with differences without pressure. Peer mediation works well to resolve conflict in schools because through it students gain power. The more students become empowered to resolve their differences non-violently, the safer the school and community environment become. Peer mediation is a voluntary process. Students may request mediation when they are involved in a dispute or they may be referred by a teacher, parent or administrator. Once both parties agree to mediate, the assigned mediation manager arranges a meeting with students.

Suspension for misconduct should be the last resort. Although there are several models of dispute resolution programs, many of the most effective combine a conflict resolution curriculum program with a peer mediation program. Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party helps the disputants find their own solutions to conflict. Mediation training teaches students to reshape conflicts cooperatively, thereby giving students the opportunity to be more autonomous in resolving conflicts without intervention. Students are equipped with the tools to deal successfully with the everyday problems of life.

Peer Mediation occurs in Lakeview Elementary, Woodlyn Elementary, Grace Park Elementary, and Leedom Elementary Schools, Ridley Middle School and Ridley High School.

Role of the Mediator

The mediator conducts face-to-face discussion with the disputants. Through skillfull listening, questioning and creating options, the mediator helps the disputants work out their own solutions to their dispute. The mediator's job is to create a "win-win" environment where both sides achieve something that they want.

The peer mediator's job consists of:

  • Explaining the process;
  • Controlling the process;
  • Creating and Maintaining an atmosphere that fosters mutual problem solving skills;
  • Deciding when to give more time to a person or a particular issue;
  • Deciding what questions to ask in order to gather and use information;
  • Monitor communication between disputants and maintain a balanced exchange.

Peer Mediation Process

I. Preliminaries

a. Plan with your partner (who does what?)
b. Set up the meeting
II. Mediators Opening Statement
a. Greet the disputants
b. Setting the ground rules
- We are neutral and are here to guide you to an agreement - we
will not take sides
- Do you agree to be here?
- Everything that is said at the table stays at the table, except for
threats or hurting yourself or others
- No violence
- Take turns speaking
- No put downs or laughing
- No interrupting
- You will have as much time as you need
- Do you agree on the ground rules?
III. Disputants Opening Statements
- Now you have a chance to tell your side of the story, to us
- Since ______ comes first in the alphabet, ______ talks first.
- Use active listening
- Restate after each disputant - "So, what you're saying is . . ."
- Ask open ended questions
- Is there anything else?
- Can you tell us more?
- How are you feeling about the situation?
- Is there anything you would like to add?
- What happens next?
IV. The Discussion
- Now you have a chance to talk directly with each other and make
comments.
- Please remember you agreed to the rules, no interrupting, no put
downs, etc.
- Since ______ went first last time, ______ goes first this time.
- Listen for the issues and the common ground.
V. Working It Out
- Consult with partner and ask disputants what they think they have
in common with issue.
- Discuss common ground and issues.
VI. Building the Agreement
- Brainstorm ideas for a solution - mediators and disputants
- Deciding on a solution
- What will you do to prevent the conflict from happening again?
VII. Writing The Agreement
- Fill out the agreement
- Read the agreement to the students
- Sign the agreement and have the disputants sign the agreement
- Follow up with students in a couple days to see how things are going

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