As you review this module, record your ideas, thoughts, and actions in the Educator Workbook. This workbook contains activities, reflective questions, instructional tools, and assessments that we will refer to throughout the module. After completion of the module, submit your Educator Workbook to earn 9 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
Do your students have difficulty working through differences with each other, developing healthy relationships, or managing anger? Does their anger sometimes get in the way of respectful communication and working together? Conflict management instruction can help. Instruction and practice on how to manage conflict can support students in building better relationships, understanding and accepting different perspectives, and learning to manage emotional reactions. The focus of this module is to provide instructional activities for use with your students to help them develop conflict management skills. The activities in this module help students learn and practice key concepts for conflict management applied to various classroom situations and settings.
Conflict management is an interpersonal competency defined as “knowing how you usually respond to conflict, the reasons behind specific conflicts, and taking steps to resolve conflicts” (Noonan & Gaumer Erickson, 2018, p. 131).
Research shows that instruction in conflict management can lead to increased academic achievement, improved retention of subject matter, and healthier relationships (Johnson & Johnson, 2004; Roberson et al., 2015; Stevahn et al., 1997; Ubinger et al., 2013). Constructively dealing with conflict encourages self-reflection and helps students work through stressful situations (Johnson & Johnson, 2004). In addition, students who participate in conflict resolution training are more likely to compromise with others and negotiate solutions when dealing with conflict (Stevahn et al., 1997). After instruction, students are better able to build strong relationships and are more aware of their emotions (Johnson & Johnson, 2004; Reio & Trudel, 2013).
Teachers who implemented conflict management instructional activities have observed that participating students increased their understanding of their usual response to conflict and the various methods for addressing it. The students also increased their ability to compromise or collaborate with their peers and negotiate solutions. When teachers provided clear instruction with practice opportunities, they observed improved behavior, improved communication, healthier and more meaningful relationships, and increased self-awareness.
This online learning module was developed to assist classroom teachers, special educators, career technical educators, and school counselors in teaching conflict management to middle and high school students. After completing this module, you will be able to:
- Describe activities that support students in defining conflict management, identifying strengths and challenges related to conflict management, and help students understand their usual response to conflict;
- Determine ways to have students practice conflict management related to classroom activities;
- Access resources via https://www.cccframework.org/ to support your conflict management instruction; and
- Explain the College and Career Competency Framework to a colleague, including why we need to support systematic social-emotional learning.
- Teaching Conflict Management in Middle and High School Classrooms by Noonan & Gaumer Erickson (2017).
- The Skills That Matter: Teaching Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Competencies in Any Classroom by Noonan & Gaumer Erickson (2017).