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EMU Promoting School

- Schools Involved

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Text: Lorraine Hefferman

Schools Involved in the Project

The EMU Promoting School Project has worked in partnership with the following schools in order to promote peer mediation among both the teaching/school staff and students which eventually becomes part of the schools mechanisms as a service on offer to all students.

Primary Schools

  • Oakgrove Integrated Primary School
  • Model Primary School
  • Ballysally Primary School
  • Acorn Integrated Primary School
  • Braidisde Integrated Primary School
  • Corran Integrated Primary School
  • Cranmore Integrated Primary School
  • Windmill Integrated Primary School
  • St. Theresa's Primary School
  • Dunamanagh Primary School
  • St. Patrick's Primary School, Dunamanagh

Secondary Schools

  • Oakgrove Integrated College
  • Coleraine Boys Secondary School

The following schools staff bodies were engaged with EMU Promoting School Project in peer mediation training.

  • Corran Integrated Primary School
  • Cranmore Integrated Primary School
  • St. Mary's Primary School, Greenlough

Peer Mediation

Through peer mediation the above schools learned an alternative way to resolve their disputes and conflicts. They are skilled to be able to understand, through communication, co-operation and affirmation the differing viewpoints that define human interaction. Children, like adults, have a natural need to solve their own problems and peer mediation is a tool which make this possible. Through peer mediation, conflict resolution becomes a learning opportunity as the children are empowered to resolve their disputes and become skilled in the recognition of conflict that requires adult assistance.

Peer Mediation Workshops

Through six one and a half hour workshops, a whole class is taught how to resolve conflict through mediation. Each workshop, even though all the workshops are conducted in an informal fashion, each have a clearly defined focus and objective, the focus being on one particular aspect of the mediation process. Each workshop is re-enforced by the teacher through supporting cross curricular activities. For example in Workshop One an overview of the mediation process is delivered to the children through the medium of fairy stories. An extension activity could be to have the children in groups look at other traditional stories with a view to seeing through the eyes of the particular characters. 'Jack and the Beanstalk' from the giants point of view or 'Cinderella' from the ugly sisters viewpoint. This activity is not only useful in developing mediation skills but also in the enhancement of the whole creative thinking and writing process.

Workshop Objectives

Prior to the commencement of the workshop training, agreement and a bond of trust must exist between the adults and children. To this end shared and equally owned Ground Rules are developed which may include:

  • It's Okay to Make Mistakes, One Person Speaking at a Time, No Put Downs, Keep Good Secrets, etc.

These Ground Rules set the tone and open the door to children's conflict where shared learning can begin. Teachers will normally attend a one/two day induction training course prior to beginning formal training with their pupils.

Week One: Introduction

The first workshop of the series sets the tone and gives an overview of the mediation training process by using a fairy tale to demonstrate that all parties at conflict have valid points. Dialogue and listening skills are practised and demonstrated so as to highlight their significance in the resolution process.

Week Two: What does a Mediator do?

The aims of the second workshop are to visualise the conflict through the mediators eyes and to develop the skill of listening attentively in order to summarise the conflict. The workshop establishes the concept of resolution and the initial components of a mediation.

Week Three: Everyone has a Go.

This workshop aims to familiarise the children with the way to begin a mediation session and gives them all practice in how a mediator sets a scene. Adherence to the Ground Rules is practised.

Week Four: Generating Solutions.

This workshop allows the children to experience the value of the three techniques for generating solutions to the conflict. Through interactive role-play, the skills of bargaining, talking separately and brainstorming are experienced as a means of helping the disputants to produce solutions.

Week Five: Bringing a Mediation to Conclusion.

This session is used to revise the skills learned in the previous workshop. Children are divided into small groups and allowed to carry out a mediation, based on a personal experience, to an agreed solution.

Week Six: Who would make a good Mediator.

To solidify their understanding of the process and set it in a school context. Who wants to be a mediator and how the other members of the school body can encourage and support such a system.

All Day Workshop.

The final mediation training session is conducted over a full day where each child is by this stage capable of mediating a conflict. A conflict scenario is introduced, mediated and resolved during a process which the children conduct on their own. After this a mediation service is launched within the school system and mediators are appointed.

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© 1997 EMU Promoting School Project

Last Modified by Dr Martin Melaugh :

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