Conflict Resolution Education: A Solution for Peace

By Lincoln, Melinda G. | Communications and the Law, March 2001 | Go to article overview

Conflict Resolution Education: A Solution for Peace


Lincoln, Melinda G., Communications and the Law


The use of conflict resolution education and effective communication skills provides the necessary strategies to reduce altercations and promote peaceful solutions. Diffusing heated arguments, identifying issues, setting emotions aside, and learning new ways to communicate enables the disputants to incorporate the processes and problem-solving skills of mediation, negotiation, and collaboration. The impact of illustrating, modeling, and blending conflict resolution education and communication skills facilitates the use of valuable listening and reasoning skills. Analytical thinking, re-framing main issues, and empathizing or understanding another's point of view creates an atmosphere of tolerance for successful negotiation and agreement to take place in a peaceful society.

Violence in schools, random shootings, acts of intimidation, and senseless hate crimes are unnecessary and inappropriate patterns of behavior. Abusive and controlling actions demonstrate thoughtlessness, indifference, intolerance, and a lack of respect for others. The core of the problem exists in discovering and revealing the reasons for such acts of impassiveness and being able to treat this type of meaningless behavior with effective intervention skills utilizing conflict resolution and communication strategies. By responding to unacceptable turbulent situations, intermediaries can present ways to effectively cool down heated conflicts and find solutions to problems by using compromise and negotiation techniques. Whether episodes of youth violence or incidents of rage against society occur, disputes, of any nature, must be resolved in a nonviolent manner.

Conflict resolution strategies and effective mediation skills play an enormous and critical role in downplaying prominent differences between parties and help to clarify relevant issues and urgent needs in bringing about peaceful solutions. The lack of control and sound judgment in heated circumstances never is an easy situation to rectify. A great deal of honest hard work and sincere efforts must be demonstrated in finding answers to conflicting situations.

MEDIATION METHODS

Mediation conferences and workshops held throughout the United States are bringing together skilled negotiators, educators, social workers, legal experts, community activists, and students in an effort to find effective and meaningful ways to resolve disputes in a nonviolent manner. By reaching out to the adult segment of society and implementing new ways of compromise, a new tool for retraining processes of listening, paraphrasing, problem solving, brainstorming, and communicating takes place. Repetitive patterns of learned behavior in dealing with conflict become lessened as new approaches and techniques are introduced and achieved through mediation.

Students and peer mediators from public and private schools are presented with mediation techniques through early intervention programs to help them adapt to effective methods of negotiation and compromising solutions. Continued use and implementation of anger management skills and strategies for dealing with difficult situations strengthens nonviolent and successful coping abilities. Improved social interactions, family dynamics, relationships, community- and school-related activities, learning environments, vocational training, and life-long experiences are just a few of the benefits reaped from the effective application of mediated resolution strategies.

The dynamics of the conflict resolution process include clear descriptions of the mediation procedure, its benefits, and how it compares to other forms of negotiating solutions and resolving conflicts. A concise presentation made by the disputants describes the situation from their particular viewpoint, while identifying issues, needs, and wants in helping them to determine a mediated resolution that is identified through the use of oral discourse and effective communication. …

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