Conflict Resolution Skills Training
Hinsdale Central High School

All students should feel competent to handle their interpersonal conflicts in a productive manner. In order for this to occur, two conditions must exist. First, students must believe that they are capable of responding appropriately to their personal challenges. Second, they must possess the requisite skills to do so. Unlike peer mediation programs that teach a handful of students these attitudes, skills, and behaviors, the Conflict Resolution Skills Training Homeroom provides this enriching opportunity to all freshmen students. A core group of ten student leaders undergo the intensive peer mediation training program. They, in turn, work with other students, who have been selected in a collaborative effort between teachers and the core leaders for their ability to resolve their own conflicts effectively. In Conflict Resolution Teams (CRT) of 4-6, these students go into classrooms of their freshmen peers within the first few weeks of the school year to help these new members of the their school community transition into high school. The highly engaging CRT curriculum, developed with student input, includes fun, interactive skits along with serious discussions. Freshmen practice the skills of observation, reflection, and goal setting.

The students will:
  • understand the nature of conflict as they gain the ability to analyze both negative and positive responses to conflict.
  • learn self-helping and negotiation skills that will assist them in effectively resolving their personal conflicts.
  • learn to respect the perspectives and needs of others.
  • be exposed to the school’s cultural norm of caring and its expectation of mature, responsible behavior.
1. Teachers (or sponsors) train the core team of student leaders in the peer mediation process and work with them to select CRT members to invite to an informational meeting. The core team secures a commitment from each individual, then creates CRT groups, teaches the lesson plan, prepares homeroom materials and handouts, and provides opportunities for CRT groups to practice. Adults provide support and guidance as the core student team leads the initiative.

2. Core leaders inform all teachers of the CRT program and its goals by sending them a signed letter and copies of the curriculum. The letter encourages teachers to reinforce the skills being taught by making connections to the concepts in their curriculum or classrooms. CRT leaders meet with the homeroom teachers, whose classes they will serve, to ask for their cooperation and to invite their participation during the homeroom event.

3. CRT groups present the homeroom to freshmen, including introductions, icebreaker activity, analysis of conflict, performance of win/lose skit, identification of responses to conflict, brainstorming of resolution behaviors, instructions on self-helping and negotiation skills, enactment of win/win skit, summary of program’s purpose, goal setting, passing out a skill guide sheet, and sharing of an inspirational story.
Gather feedback immediately on the homeroom event from CRT student leaders and the homeroom teachers. Review the data and debrief with the core team of student leaders. Make revisions for the following year while the feedback is fresh. Create a list of CRT members who want to participate the next year. Give each CRT participant a heartfelt thank you note for displaying the moral courage to step forward as a leader among peers!