Westview School is continuing to operate a peacemaker's program, which began last year. The responsibility of a peacemaker is to help other students resolve problems peacefully. They do their important work on the playground during recess.
During their training process, peacemakers learned the steps of negotiating and the procedures for mediating. This training provided the peacemakers with a set of skills to help others on the playground. The peacemakers will have the role of facilitator, clarifier and referee. They will not be a judge or counselor.
Here are 10 reasons for instituting a school mediation program. This list is from the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution:
- Conflict is a natural human state often accompanying changes in our institutions or personal growth. It is better approached with skills than avoidance.
- More appropriate and effective systems are needed to deal with conflict in schools than expulsion, suspension, court intervention and detention.
- The use of mediation to resolve school-based disputes can result in improved communication between teachers, administrators, students and parents and can, in general, improve the school climate and provide a forum for addressing common concerns.
- The use of mediation as a conflict resolution method can result in a reduction of violence, vandalism, chronic school absence and suspension.
- Mediation training helps both young people and teachers to deepen their understanding about themselves and others and provides them with lifetime dispute resolution skills.
- Mediation training increases students’ interest in conflict resolution, justice and the legal system while encouraging a higher level of citizenship activity.
- Shifting responsibility for solving appropriate school conflicts from adults to young adults and children frees teachers and administrators to concentrate more on teaching than discipline.
- Recognizing that young people are competent to participate in the resolution of their own disputes encourages student growth and gives students skills such as listening, critical thinking and problem solving that are basic to all learning.
- Mediation training, with its emphasis upon listening to others’ points of view and the peaceful resolution of differences, assists in preparing students to live in a multicultural world.
- Mediation provides a system of problem solving that is uniquely suited to the personal nature of young people’s problems.
Training for Westview Peacemakers occurred at the end of October and will continue at various times during the year. The peacemakers went out for their first duties in early November and will continue throughout the year at AM and PM recess. Students began to put into practice peaceful ideals. It is not an easy job, but as they have more opportunities to resolve conflicts, they will get more skilled.
The students at Westview School will come to rely on the peacemakers for solving conflicts in meaningful and peaceful ways.The peacemakers are to be congratulated for completing their training and for making a commitment to giving back to their community by helping to make Westview School a better place! we are very impressed with the seriousness with which they approach this important role.
- Peace is not the absence of conflict but the ability to cope with it.- Unknown
- In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us. - Flora Edwards
- Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict. - William Channing