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Express Yourself!: Expressive Arts and Conflict Discovery

Pirtle, Sarah
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) In Tricia S. Jones and Randy Compton, eds., Kids Working It Out: Stories and Strategies for Making Peace in Our Schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Pp. 147-161.

Sarah Pirtle states that arts can be a vital complement to building conflict resolution skills. Using arts activities as a part of teaching conflict resolution skills helps those skills become more tangible and reflection become deeper for students. What art activities can be used? Pirtle identifies a number of common forms of expressive arts, though certainly not all: drama; dance, musical theater; graphic art; visual art; performance art; music; and creative writing. These activities offer opportunities for conflict discovery, reflection, and increased awareness about a person’s response to conflict. Pirtle discusses examples of students in expressive arts, the awareness model of learning, conflict discovery activities within the arts curriculum, and models for a school-wide focus on social skills through the arts.


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