Peer mediation continues to gain more acceptance in classrooms across the country. It’s a strategy that allows students to work out their conflicts with each other, rather than having to resort to disciplinary action.
Peer mediation is part of remediation in education which calls for peer-to-peer resolution of issues between students. However, while students are enabled to handle their disputes, teachers start the process by properly training students to become student mediators.
They can do so by taking an online professional development course that provides them with the tools and techniques they need to train successful student mediators.
What are Student Mediators?
A student mediator is trained by a teacher to mediate conflicts between students with very little teacher involvement. Studies have shown that students who work out conflicts peer-to-peer often have better resolutions to their issues. Student mediators facilitate that process.
Typically, the students meet in a private, safe setting to work out their problems. Properly trained student mediators can lead to fewer suspensions, expulsions and fights among students. For teachers, it reduces the time they spend resolving conflicts among students. Students can also be taught how to use mediation skills in their own lives to resolve conflicts with friends, siblings, parents and teachers.
Peer mediation is part of an approach to education that attempts to find alternatives to punishment. Rather than being disciplined or sent to the principal's office, students have conflicts mediated by other students (with the aid of teachers) and try to reach peaceful resolutions.
The idea is for the offender to take restorative actions that can start the rebuilding of the relationship. On the other side, the victim will work toward forgiving the offender. Many of these approaches are taught in the Fresno Pacific University courses on restorative strategies.
These strategies have gained popularity as teachers face a multiplying number of issues maintaining discipline in the classroom. Students have conflicts involving teasing and harassing, some of it based around racial and cultural differences. Truancy can also be an issue, as well as an increase in the number of violent altercations.
Student mediators have become a part of the future of education, one that calls for students from diverse backgrounds to come together in ways that offer a more understanding approach to how they deal with each other.
For teachers, taking a course on student mediation is the best way to prepare them for handling the situation as professionally as possible, as well as increasing their overall skills in working with a diverse student population.