How Children Understand War and Peace: A Call for International Peace Education

By Amiram Raviv; Louis Oppenheimer et al. | Go to book overview

positive changes in classroom climate, and Lam (1989) cites three programs that had a positive effect on the amount of instructional time in class.

Other teacher benefits that are reported in the literature include changed teacher attitudes toward conflict, acquisition of new teaching skills, and an increased understanding of students' needs (Eisler, 1994a; Lam, 1989). However, a distinction needs to be made between the reactions of teachers who were closely involved with these programs and those who were not. Brown (1995) reports that among “uninvolved” teachers, the Toronto Board of Education's program had limited credibility and was seen as a political exercise in diverting resources rather than as making existing arrangements more effective.


Conclusion

Student mediation programs have gathered considerable momentum over the past ten years and have been implemented in countries such as New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Published systematic evaluations of these programs are few, and some of those have been criticized for methodological weaknesses. Nevertheless, the overall tenor of these evaluations is positive, with particular emphasis being placed on the educational value to the mediators of practicing mediation, the very high success rates for mediating agreements, and the positive impact of reducing discipline events in the school at large.

We know little, however, about the cognitive processes involved when students are learning and practicing mediation skills. In particular, there has been no published work on the connections between learning about mediation at the interpersonal level and students' understanding of conflict management and peacemaking at the regional or international levels. Development and testing of models that make these cognitive links explicit will be a pressing challenge for peer mediation research.


REFERENCES

Araki, C. T. (1990). Dispute management in the schools. Mediation Quarterly, 8, 51–62.

Araki, C. T., Takeshita, C., & Kadomoto, L. (1989). Research results and final report for the Dispute Management in the Schools Project. Honolulu, HI: Program on Conflict Resolution, University of Hawaii. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 312 750)

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