In school, as in other social settings, the appearance of conflicts is frequent. However, conflicts should not be viewed negatively, but more positively, since the way of dealing with them will determine, not only the result obtained, but also what is learned from it.
Based on the different conflicts that we encounter in life, we develop a series of personal, social, communication, relationship, etc. skills that allow us to integrate socially with other people. Through this process, we acquire a series of strategies to resolve peacefully the difficulties and problems that appear.
For this reason, it is important to work from school to learn and practice different ways of dealing with conflicts. For this, it will be necessary to replace the punitive and sanctioning educational perspective prevailing in past times with a cooperative and coexistence perspective.
Diversity among students, of whatever type, often becomes the source of conflict in the school. The learning disabilities, giftedness, physical or mental disabilities, and language or cultural differences make students in the subject of ridicule, rejection, and marginalization. In this way, relationship conflict is generated between the students.
But, regardless of this situation, the difficulties that students may have to adequately follow the teaching process often give rise to disruptive behaviors in the classroom, demotivation and even absenteeism. And the same occurs in the case of students with high abilities since boredom and demotivation lead to the development of disruptive behaviors in class, which generates a conflict between teachers and students.
Types of school conflict
The conflicts in the schools can derive from the relations established between the members of the educational community:
Relations between teachers: there may be a divergence of opinions regarding various personal and professional issues, such as how to approach a subject, the activities proposed, the use of times and spaces at the center, etc. It is necessary to increase communication between the teaching team to avoid misunderstandings and develop similar ways of working in different subjects, if possible.
Teacher-student relations: in the educational system there has been a change in the methodology used and students are increasingly participating. However, there may still be teachers who maintain previous methods and develop their classes in an unattractive way for the students. This can cause demotivation and disruption in the group. Teachers must use more participatory methods, based on cooperative learning, to motivate students and reduce disruptive behavior in the classroom. And if this happens, it is convenient to approach them with methods that are not coercive or punitive, but more open and cooperative.
This does not mean that the teacher loses his authority in front of the students, but rather that he tries to motivate them to see the center as their own and to get involved with it. In the last times, It has been observed that the increase in conflicts between teachers and students has led to situations of harassment of teachers and has led to significant problems of coexistence in educational centers. To prevent and address these cases, an educational project highly involved in values education and training in social and personal skills that promote adequate coexistence in classrooms is necessary. Furthermore, it is necessary to involve the family in this process, as we will see later. An educational project highly involved in values education and training in social and personal skills that promote adequate coexistence in classrooms is necessary. Furthermore, it is necessary to involve the family in this process, as we will see later. An educational project highly involved in values education and training in social and personal skills that promote adequate coexistence in classrooms is necessary. Furthermore, it is necessary to involve the family in this process, as we will see later.
Relations between students: the relations between students are those that are mainly marked by various conflicts. Students spend many hours and days together at the school, establish friendly and enmity relationships, and many conflicts can arise from them. For this reason, it is convenient to address conflicts in classrooms and guide towards a good coexistence.
How to solve a conflict
There is a dyer need to teach students to resolve conflicts on their own. To do this, it proposes the following steps:
Analyze the conflict: what is it, how has it developed, etc.
Set the goals you want to achieve and prioritize them.
Propose alternatives as a solution to the problem and assess their advantages and disadvantages.
Select the solution with the best assessment and develop the steps to be followed.
Start the selected solution.
Evaluate the result and possible improvements.
These steps can be used in the resolution of any conflict and can be trained through different activities, dynamics, and exercises. However, it is convenient to practice all the steps well, for example through role-playing, to ensure their correct learning.
When the problem is more serious and the individual cannot solve it by himself, it may be convenient to use other strategies, in which he will count on the help of other people. These strategies are:
Assistant student: their function is to help their classmates when they need it after having received basic training in the communication and social skills mentioned above and always with the supervision of teaching staff.
Mediation: used to resolve conflicts between two people who request the help of a third party to guide the process to reach a solution.
Negotiation: it is a process similar to the previous one, although it is frequently carried out between the two parties involved in the conflict. Sometimes a third person can intervene as a negotiator, the fundamental difference is that in the negotiation that the third person, in addition to controlling the dialogue between the parties to the conflict, can intervene in establishing the agreements to be adopted.
Assembly: it is a debate process that seeks group reflection and the proposal of agreements between all those involved.
Consensus: it is the same process that we have just commented on, but it differs in that the objective is to reach a unanimous decision.
Pikas method: it is used when situations of harassment or mistreatment between equals occur. Individual interviews are conducted with the victim and the aggressor to stop the aggression. Subsequently, joint interviews can be proposed if evolution is positive.
Circle of friends: it is used when a group or a large part of it rejects or marginalizes a student. A meeting is established with the group without the presence of the student to reflect on the situation and reach a commitment to change.
In the resolution of a conflict, the participation and involvement of the family may be necessary.
The last two strategies will be used only when extremely serious cases occur, as indicated in their description.