Teachers are often helpless when confronted with violence.
For children, talking to each other is easier than talking to adults.
Social skills should be part of the learning process.
How can we work on settling conflicts between children?
The art of mediation
Published on July 7, 2021
The Victor Hugo school in Colombes trains students in the delicate art of mediation from primary school onwards. How to resolve conflicts, why and how to keep confidentiality ... These mediation techniques are then applied by the students within the school.
Over a number of years, at the Victor Hugo School in Colombes, northwest Paris, headmaster Kamel Essaied has established a system of mediation for playground disputes. Pupils attend to conflicts and seek to resolve them on the spot, on their own terms.
Recognizable in the school playground in their hi-vis vests, looking just like adult professionals, these young voluntary mediators undergo a training of 25 one-hour sessions before they can put what they’ve learned to work to help their young peers. They must keep in mind that they don’t have the solution to a conflict; their task is to facilitate a sometimes difficult dialogue, without the intervention of the playground monitors.
According to the school’s headmaster, the method is a success: violent incidents are now a thing of the past, and all the children can develop a better sense of empathy by finding common ground in the midst of conflict.