Classroom conflicts are familiar in middle and high school life. For years, resolving such conflicts for children filled my days. I lost valuable teaching time, and the children learned nothing about resolving their own conflicts—or preventing conflicts from happening in the first place.
Finally, I began teaching student-to-student conflict resolution protocols. Once children learn these protocols, pairs or small groups can independently explain their upsets to each other, come up with reasonable resolutions, and follow through with changes in their behavior. But before children can learn to use any protocol independently, they need a firm grasp of some basic social skills:
Cooling off when upset
Speaking directly to each other
Speaking assertively, honestly, and kindly
Listening carefully to others and accurately paraphrasing their words
Proposing solutions and agreeing on a solution to try