Introduction to Mediation for Students– an excerpt
by Susan Chang

Sam slides into third base just as Kawika tags him out. Both boys start yelling at each other.

Jennifer notices her friend Patty is spending more and more time with their new classmate.

She makes fun of Patty in class and Patty gets angry.

Orlando and his sister Maria go out for dinner. Maria wants pizza and Orlando wants burgers.

Conflict? Of course.

Conflicts (problems) are a part of our everyday life. Sometimes they're big; sometimes they're as small as deciding where to go for lunch, but they happen all the time.

Many of us believe that having a conflict with someone is a bad thing. As Mediators, it's helpful to think of conflict as something that's neither bad nor good; it's just a part of our lives. Actually, having a difference of opinion with someone can be interesting. Think how dull it would be if we all liked the same food, for example.

Choices.

The key, the tricky part, is how we choose to handle or resolve these differences.

We have Choices:

  * choices in the strategies we use to resolve our conflicts and

  * choices in the specific solutions.

First of all, what choices do we have to resolve our conflict? We can:

  * turn away or run from the conflict (cool off, forget about it, avoid)

  * at an extreme, use violence

  * talk it out and have someone else tell us how to solve it

  * talk it out with the other person and the help of someone else

   (a friend, an adult, a Mediator)

  * talk it out with the other person (negotiation).

Sometimes we may even try two or three things before we find a fair solution.

Consequences (+/-, now and in the future).

Every choice we make has Consequences; consequences both for ourselves and for others.

Mediation involves
– listening
– questioning
-problem solving.
Mediation also involves 
-
being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes
-a sense of timing
- a feeling of aloha (heal relationships).
 



Consequences can be

  * terrific(+) or terrible(-) now and

  * terrific(+) or terrible(-) in the future.

You will be learning skills that will help you and your classmates solve conflicts by 'talking it out':

  * listening

  * talking and

  * working to find a fair solution with the help of someone called a 
Mediator.

(This is a small part of a 48 page manual by Susan Chang. The publications featured here are available for purchase.  For more information contact Ms. Chang)

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© 2001 Susan Chang