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How to Resolve Conflict on a Playground for Elementary Children

2014/7/9 17:22:03Click:

The playground is one of the places children enjoy most, but it is not always perfect. Playgrounds are home to a lot of games and activities that can breed competition and, occasionally, conflict. It is also the place where children may air conflict that has developed under other circumstances. As a result, educators need to know practical and useful tactics for resolving conflicts that occur on the playground in a safe and healthy way. This is one of the important responsibilities of someone assigned to playground supervision.
1 Get everyone to calm down. You need to teach children that conflict happens, but that it is best resolved in a calm and controlled manner. You need to get any children involved in a conflict to calm down if tempers are flaring before you can find any kind of resolution. Use any methods that are recommended for calming tempers or tantrums that you have had success with in the past, such as time-outs or deep breathing, to calm children before you move on.

2 Ask the first student involved in the conflict to describe her side of the story. It is important that you ask her not to describe with emotion what went on, but to try and calmly recount the facts as accurately as possible. Try to get students to phrase the description in terms of what they did, rather than what the other students did. Terms like "You did..." or "They did ..." often sound accusatory, and do not help resolve the conflict. Encourage the other students to listen carefully, but to wait their turns to talk.

3 Allow the other students to speak their pieces. Make sure that the first student listens carefully to hear what is being said. Students can be encouraged to ask questions in a polite and respectful manner if they do not understand something that has been said by another person involved in the conflict.

4 Act as a mediator between the sides that were presented. Ask the people involved what they think a reasonable solution to the conflict would be and work with everyone to come to a reasonable agreement. Often, this should ultimately include an apology by everyone for allowing the conflict to escalate to a level where teacher involvement was necessary. Don't feel like you need to rush the process. Take time to work through the issue in full, as this can help teach children how to handle conflict and settle disputes on their own.