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Class meetings and conflict resolution

1 May 1998


The purpose of this qualitative study on Class meetings and conflict resolution was to investigate the following questions: 1) Do class meetings teach conflict resolution skills? 2)What types of conflicts do students bring to class meetings for resolution? 3) Do students use the conflict resolution skills that they learn in Class meetings outside of the classroom? This study took place in a fourth- and fifth- grade multi-age classroom in a suburban Oregon elementary school. The information was gathered by tape recording class meetings, cQnducting several interviews, and administering a brief class-wide survey. Participation in this study was voluntary and maintained the confidentiality of all participants. My research revealed many insights into class meetings and conflict resolution. It was clear that students not only enjoyed class meetings and found them to be helpful, but, they also were able to clearly explain the steps that are necessary in resolving a conflict. The steps outlined by the students are very much in alignment with the steps outlined by major conflict resolution theorists. Included in this paper are examples of the conflict resolution strategies typical of all class meetings I observed in this classroom. My research was not designed to determine whether class meetings are the most effective form of conflict resolution training. Rather, I hoped to provide educators information and insight into one powerful technique so that they will be better able to choose the most appropriate conflict resolution training for their students and staff.


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