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We train students from
4th Grade - High School
Elementary & Middle
18 Hour Training
High School & Adult
24 Hour Training
What is School Based Peer Mediation?
School Based Mediation is designed to provide students with a controlled, secure atmosphere that permits each person to tell their side of the story without interruption. The goal of mediation is to identify the issues underlying the problem and for the students to devise a plan that will resolve the problem and help them to avoid it from continuing or repeating in the future.
Peer Mediation takes school based mediation to the next level, by utilizing trained student mediators as the facilitators of the student mediation process. Using peers to mediate student problems benefits the disputants, the student mediators and the entire school community. Students are in tune with the lingo being used by peers and with the social dynamics of their classroom, grade and school. This allows them to ask meaningful questions and assist the disputants in coming to agreement in ways that adult mediators may not be able. Peer mediators benefit from having the opportunity to become confident communicators, recognizing that the keys to understanding a problem are rooted in asking good questions and taking the time to listen to each side. Classrooms and schools benefit when students recognize their own ability to problem solve, and begin to practice the skills of mediation as part of their everyday approach to problem solving.
For more information on starting a Peer Mediation program please contact us today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Student/Peer Mediation
1. Should students be given this responsibility? What if the situation escalates during the mediation?
With thorough training that includes skills practice and continuous coaching support, students as young as fourth grade can successfully mediate peer conflict. In elementary and middle schools (and in high schools with new mediators) an adult, who has been trained, is present during the mediation session to offer support and intervene if necessary.
2. Will students in conflict who receive this kind of attention abuse the mediation program – returning again and again?
In schools across the country we hear this is rarely a problem. Sitting down to talk about what has occurred and struggling to come up with solutions to the situation is hard work. Also, through the detailed intake process, student requests for mediation are screened by the program coordinator first, ensuring that mediations are only conducted in appropriate situations.
3. If two students are disruptive with an argument or a fight, shouldn’t there be a consequence rather than offer them mediation?
Mediation does not take the place of disciplinary action, and should not be used to break up an altercation. Many administrators, though, offer students the opportunity to resolve their problems through mediation in return for some leniency. Some schools elect to send students involved in a physical altercation to mediation upon returning from an out-of-school suspension. The philosophy of mediation is to engage students in being accountable for their behavior. Students must come up with a plan of action for how they will handle their differences in the future.
4. It seems hard to believe that student mediators can really keep what they’ve heard confidential. Don’t they talk to their friends about the students they mediate?
A significant amount of time is spent in training emphasizing the importance of confidentiality. School staff play an important role in recommending students to be trained as mediators, and are asked to identify students they believe are capable of maintaining confidentiality. With their teachers' and classmates' trust, along with our training and support, students take their responsibility as Peer Mediators very seriously, and confidentiality has rarely become an issue.
5. Schools all have their own, unique dynamics - staff and student populations are not all the same. How do we know if a School Based Mediation Program is a good idea here?
While each school may have its own cultural personality, conflict is universal and everyone benefits from having structured support available when they cannot successfully resolve a problem on their own. Before initiating a Mediation program, each school should consider the process and procedures that will work best for their unique setting. Peaceful Schools staff is available for consult during the initial implementation phase and will provide technical support based on the best practices in the field to help you build a strong program.
6. What is the training process?
Schools are encouraged to first identify who in the building will be responsible for coordination of the mediation program. We can help building administrators analyze the size of the building population and the prevalence of disruptive incidents which result in disciplinary action to indicate the amount of time and resources needed to support the program. We recommend that the adult(s) in the building are trained first. Once the foundation for program operations is in place a team of students can be selected and trained. Training for adults requires a minimum of 24 hours; training for students ranges from 18-24 hours depending on the age/grade level the program will target. Training includes role play and skills practice so that mediators receive coaching and feedback throughout the training.