A new UK Government took office on 11 May 2010. As a result the content on this site may not reflect current Government policy.
All statutory guidance and legislation published on this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise.
To view the new website, please visit http://www.education.gov.uk

Conflict resolution

Session 6

Theme: Theme 1: Learning to be together - Social skills and empathy
Topics: Conflict resolution
Overall learning outcomes:  
Session number: 6
Year group: 7
Learning outcomes:  
Group specific outcomes:  
Resources description:
  • Flipchart paper and pens and pencils for recording.
  • A series of situation cards detailing specific conflict situations experienced by both teachers and students.
Warm up/starter:

Letterbox Game

This is a fast moving game in which students are required to listen carefully and be alert and ready for action. An object is placed by the teacher in the centre of the circle. The letters of the alphabet are printed on cards. It will be necessary to use all the letters in order to cover the initials of the first name of every pupil in the group. These are placed in a container. The students sit in the circle and the teacher says: ‘Anyone with the name…? A letter is called out, ie one which is taken out of the container by the teacher. All the students who then fit into that category stand up and run around their circle in a clockwise direction. When they arrive back at their seats they enter into the circle and attempt to pick up the object in the middle. The student who is able to pick up the object pulls out the next letter from the container and calls it out. The teacher will need to make sure that the letters are kept out of the container after each turn. The students who then call out the letters can also decide how the others will move around the outside of the circle, eg they can hop, crawl, skip, jump etc.

Core activity:

The teacher can discuss with the students the idea of creating win-win situations out of conflicts and difficult situations. It maybe useful to provide examples of three scenarios in which one person loses and one wins, one wins and one loses and both win. The idea here is to reinforce the fact that by making use of diffusing responses and managing our anger appropriately, we are more likely to achieve win-win situations when both people in the conflict feel that they have achieved what they wanted to and been listened to and understood. In order to effectively gain a win-win situation we can make use of our peaceful problem-solving strategy ie the pyramid.

The students consider a time when they felt as though they had lost and the other person won or when they had won and they knew that the other person had lost. They can then consider a time when they were in a win-win situation ie when both of them felt that they had achieved what they needed to and been happy with the results gained from the conflict. This can be done via a circle discussion and the teacher may wish to provide examples for the students in order to prompt their thinking initially.

The students can then be asked to consider a series of situation cards. These will have been prepared prior to the start of the session by the teacher and can include problems experienced by both students and staff in the school ie the idea here is to reinforce the importance of developing empathy and understanding another’s perspective. Teachers get angry too and they need to be able to use the same sorts of skills in order to diffuse problems and ensure win-win situations. The situation cards could depict the following;

  • your teacher seems to like boys better than girls and doesn’t give you a chance to do any practical activities in his lessons;
  • You have been asked to tidy up the CDT room again and are fed up because it’s always you;
  • you got a detention for mucking about in class but it wasn’t you;
  • people keep telling you that you look fat and ugly and you’re getting fed up with it;
  • You are fed up because two students in your class are always shouting out;
  • You are angry because students in your class are always saying that they’ve lost their homework when they simply haven’t bothered to do it;
  • You are upset because three boys in your class are always talking when you try to explain the lesson objectives;

Clearly, the students can also contribute their own ideas so it may be useful to have some blank situation cards. The students can then consider what would be a win-lose, lose-win or win-win situation in each of these scenarios. How would the win-win situation best be achieved? Ideas can be fed back through a circle discussion and the teacher can highlight any similarities or differences in responses. What sorts of behaviours tend to achieve a win-win situation for all involved?

Plenary: Students can reflect upon three conflicts of their own identifying the exact nature of the conflict and how they could best achieve a win-win situation for both people involved. What would have to happen? How would people have to behave and respond? What would they have to do to ensure that both of them felt as if this situation was resolved effectively?
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?: