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Conflict resolution

Session 3

Theme: Theme 1: Learning to be together - Social skills and empathy
Topics: Conflict resolution
Overall learning outcomes:  
Session number: 3
Year group: 7
Learning outcomes:  
Group specific outcomes:  
Resources description:
  • A range of scenario cards depicting various conflicts that the students may experience within the school context or out of the school context.
  • Paper and pens for recording ideas.
Warm up/starter:

The Balloon Game

This game aims to allow each student to feel part of the group whilst also encouraging a sense of power for the one who is placed in the centre of the circle. All of the students hold hands in the circle and one is chosen to stand in the middle and blow up a balloon. The circle here represents the expansion of the balloon, ie they begin by placing themselves close to the student in the centre as the balloon has not been blown up. As the student blows into the balloon, the circle then gets bigger with the others moving away from the one in the centre until the balloon blower claps his/her hands and all the students are required to fall to the floor, ie the balloon has burst! This can be repeated and it may be helpful for the teacher to particularly focus on reinforcing the sense of power and self-esteem for some of the less assertive members of the group.

Core activity:

It will be important to ensure that the students understand that conflict and anger are different. However, we do tend to experience feelings of anger when we find ourselves in conflict situations. If we are angry, however, we are less likely to deal with a situation effectively or respond in a way that reduces the conflict. In this activity the students are asked to form pairs and each pair is provided with a conflict scenario from the selection available. It is important to ensure that the range of conflict scenarios are used. These can include the following:

  • The conflict over a relationship when a girl has decided she doesn’t want to be friends with someone else anymore and has basically dumped her;
  • A conflict where a boy is asking to go to a party but is told he has to be back at 10 o’clock. He considers this to be unfair and gets angry with his mother.
  • A conflict in which someone is being persuaded by their friend to steal some sweets from the local shop when they don’t really want to do this.
  • A conflict when someone is jealous because his friend has a relationship with a girl who he also likes and wants to go out with.
  • A conflict when someone is made to feel stupid by the teacher because they can’t understand the work and that they feel angry that they are being shown up in class, whereas the teacher feels this child is simply lazy and rude.

In their pairs the students are asked to engage in a role play using this scenario. Alternatively they can talk it through with their partner and record any ideas on the sheets of paper provided. However they decide to engage in the activity they are required to focus on the following questions which can be recorded on the flipchart by the teacher prior to the start of the activity:

  • Who does this conflict involve?
  • What is happening to cause the conflict?
  • What are the main points of disagreement?
  • Why is this conflict happening?
  • What does each person want?
  • What do you think might happen in the next scene?
  • In what ways might the conflict escalate or get worse?
  • How do you think the conflict could be diffused successfully?
  • What can each character do in order to resolve the conflict that is taking place between them?

Once the students have had approximately 15 minutes to discuss their scenario they can then feedback their ideas to the rest of the group. It will be helpful to also highlight any of the diffusing strategies suggested and to discuss whether or not the students themselves would make use of these strategies in their own conflicts.

Plenary: The students can design their own posters to illustrate the best ways to cope effectively with conflict. This may take the form of diffusing rules or top tips.
Applying learning:  
Are there any third party materials in your learning opportunity?:  
Please list the title, author and publisher of any publications used:  
What was the extent and purpose of use?:  
Have parental permission forms been signed for any pupils work or images?: