What Are Examples of Successful Peer Mediation in Schools?

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    Counselor Brief

    What Are Examples of Successful Peer Mediation in Schools?

    In the realm of educational conflict resolution, peer mediation stands out as a powerful tool, as evidenced by the insights of five seasoned professionals, including teachers and school counselors. From fostering student representation to resolving group project tensions, these experts share their most successful peer mediation stories from the school environment.

    • Peer Mediation Fosters Student Representation
    • Navigating Friendships During Transition Phases
    • Clarifying Miscommunications Through Mediation
    • High School Mediators Resolve Middle School Conflicts
    • Community Circle Resolves Group Project Tension

    Peer Mediation Fosters Student Representation

    I worked in a middle schoo,l and now work in a high school where peer mediation is a key part of conflict resolution.

    We use peer mediation for a variety of reasons. For example, when the room is full of adults and authority figures, children might feel anxious or defensive. Having a peer in the room helps students feel like they have representation.

    One time, I had a student who was struggling in my class. She really didn't like me and became defensive every time I asked her to do something. I didn't think I had done anything to her, and I didn't know why she was so hostile.

    I sat down with her, her friend (also my student), and the Restorative Justice Coordinator. The student explained that I spoke to her similarly to how her mother spoke to her—her mother was no longer in the picture, and the child was in foster care. I kind of understood what she meant, but I wasn't sure what I could specifically do about it, because I wasn't sure how we were similar. When I asked the student, she closed up and didn't want to speak. That's when her friend chimed in, and told her that I couldn't do anything about it unless we talked it through. My student was much more receptive to her friend than she was to me.

    I was so grateful for that discussion. It was meaningful, and we made some strides in our communication.

    Valerie de la Rosa
    Valerie de la RosaTeacher, Educational Consultant, Blogger, The Weary Educator

    Navigating Friendships During Transition Phases

    This year, there were a number of upperclassmen (seniors, specifically) who were thinking about their transition to college. They started reaching out to future roommates and other classmates that were going to the same school next year, which left some of their old friendships in a weird, limbo-like state. I began internally referring to the groups as the 'Leavers' and the 'Left-Behinds.'

    Many people were confused and felt like they had done something wrong. Others were annoyed, or very upset, and even reacted rudely to their friends–and it went both ways. After a couple of days of awkward back-and-forth attitudes, a few of the students asked if I would be part of a conversation to help with the situation.

    As the conversation began, things started very one-sided, with the Left-Behinds noting they saw their old friend(s) hanging out with other people and not inviting them, and not being honest with them about whether or not they wanted to spend time together. Of course, social media had a part in this: locations being on or turned off, and seeing where people were—it was something I had never even considered, but it was a problem they were all experiencing, and it was very real for them.

    We tried to make sure each person understood the importance of communication, and also that friendships should be mutually respectful and beneficial. Also, if someone feels like they need to move away from a relationship, they should be able to, and there needs to be respect given by all those involved.

    Josh PierceSchool Counselor, Kearney Catholic High School

    Clarifying Miscommunications Through Mediation

    Mediation is a useful tool in middle school. I had the pleasure of listening to a student mediate a situation between two girls who were friends, but were engaged in an argument about what one girl had heard from other people that her friend was saying about her.

    The student mediating was able to help the girls each state their sides, as well as clarify where the miscommunication occurred, and the friends were able to apologize to each other and discuss how important it is to come to each other when they are having a disagreement, rather than listening to what other students may be saying.

    Karen Albrecht
    Karen AlbrechtSchool Counselor, Fairfield City Schools

    High School Mediators Resolve Middle School Conflicts

    Peer mediation is an incredible tool to proactively avoid larger-scale student conflicts, with the aim of creating real-world conflict resolution skills for our middle school students. We have 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade students mediating middle school conflicts currently. These high school students are providing a huge service to our school community, and we can't thank them enough.

    During this school year, we had four students involved in a back-and-forth, messy conflict. Our mediators took extra time and went above and beyond to help solve the conflict. The students have not only regained their sense of friendship, but also have a renewed awareness of respect for their peers and how words have meaning. We are happy to say that the students have moved past their conflict, and have not repeated past mistakes.

    Dan Amaral
    Dan AmaralDean of Students, AMSA Charter School

    Community Circle Resolves Group Project Tension

    Imagine a scenario where two students had been arguing for weeks over a misunderstanding about a group project. The tension between them was affecting the entire class. The teacher decided to hold a community circle, where students and the teacher gathered to discuss the issue openly and respectfully.

    Through the circle, the students were able to share their perspectives, and with the help of their peers, they found common ground and resolved the misunderstanding. The supportive environment of the community circle allowed for empathy, understanding, and ultimately, reconciliation between the students, fostering a more positive classroom atmosphere.

    Kia SimpsonSchool counselor, Harmony Public Schools