Leadership for Students Activities - March 2015, NASC Edition - (Page 22)

Middle Level Activities Meeting of the Minds Reduce conflict at your school, improve the atmosphere, and learn a lot about leadership with peer mediation JIM PATERSON A t the end of the school year at Iron Horse Middle School in San Ramon, CA, eighth-grade teacher Judy Herrera was wrapping up an experiment designed to help reduce conflict at the school. She had asked a group of students to review the project, which they spearheaded, and she was impressed with the response. The students at the affluent suburban San Francisco school were very happy to have been leaders in what they saw as a successful peer mediation program where they helped other students work out interpersonal problems-and the overall results for all involved, she says, were "great." "Students need an alternative way to vent their frustration and anger," says Herrera, a veteran teacher who previously had spent time in a tough, urban Los Angeles middle school where a similar program had success. "I truly believe they are more willing to listen to peers about changing their behavior. And, beyond that, the program benefits the students carrying out the mediation." Here's what her students reported: ■ There was less conflict in school. The campus seemed friendlier and there was a better, more positive atmosphere. ■ There were benefits for the mediators. "They were honest and willing to help and were seen as leaders," the students reported. ■ The process worked. Mediators were trained to not find resolutions and to lead students to a solution, and usually they did. ■ The process helped with problem solving. The program consistently has helped with friendship concerns, conflict, and issues related to working in groups. Experts in mediation, which is being used in hundreds of schools nationwide, say it is a great project to be undertaken by a student group interested in improving their school's environment. When countless hours spent by staff and students in conflict resolution fail to produce effective or lasting results, peer mediation may be the solution. Interpersonal Conflict Kathy Rager is a social worker in Downers Grove Township, a busy suburb of Chicago that wins awards for being the friendliest town in America. But about four years ago, 22 LEADERSHIP FOR STUDENT ACTIVITIES

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Leadership for Students Activities - March 2015, NASC Edition

Editor's Note
Questions & Answers
Take Note
Being a Leader
From the Director
Rise to the Challenge
Shrink Your Credibility
Ward off Compassion Fatigue
MIddle Level Activities
Scholarships & Awards
Lessons for Leaders
Activities Exchange
Things to Do

Leadership for Students Activities - March 2015, NASC Edition

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