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
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
■ 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.
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
Questions & Answers
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
Things to Do
Leadership for Students Activities - March 2015, NASC Edition