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Teaching Students to be Peacemakers: Results of Twelve Years of Research

Johnson, David W.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2000) Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Cooperative Learning Center.

This report presents findings from 12 years of research on the effectiveness of conflict resolution training in eight different schools in two different countries with results indicating that students do in fact learn how to negotiate and mediate to a total recall level. Students should be taught how to manage conflicts constructively for several reasons that include: (1) it constructively reduces the costs of destructively managed conflicts; (2) it increases the ability of schools to capitalize on the many positive benefits of constructively managed conflicts; (3) it enhances their social, cognitive, and moral development; (4) it gives students a developmental advantage increasing the likelihood of academic and career success and quality of relationships; and (5) it can change the world. Between 1988 and 2000, 17 studies were conducted on the effectiveness of conflict resolution in 8 schools in 2 countries involving students from kindergarten through ninth grade. Studies were conducted in rural, urban, and suburban settings. Two approaches to peer mediation were studied: total student body and school cadre. Eleven of the studies involved control groups. The results of the studies indicate that students learn the conflict resolution procedures taught, retain their knowledge throughout the school year, apply the conflict resolution procedures to actual conflicts, transfer the procedures to non-classroom and non-school settings, use the procedures similarly in family and school settings, and offer the ability to engage in problem-solving rather than win-lose negotiations. Overall, the studies validate the effectiveness of the total-student body approach to conflict resolution and peer mediation programs. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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