Interpersonal relationships in all professional settings are not without conflict. Elementary schools and universities are certainly no exception. And while such conflicts are quite normal, they can escalate into real problems if not managed properly and swiftly. At Pollack Peacebuilding, we offer conflict resolution for schools and colleges to help resolve interpersonal or interdepartmental problems before they spiral out of control. Need immediate help resolving a conflict at your school? Contact Pollack Peacebuilding now.
PPS proudly offers conflict resolution services for every type of educational setting, from elementary schools to high schools, from community colleges to major universities. Our experts in relationship mediation can help identify the roots of conflict and include detailed analysis designed to improve communication among educators, teacher performance, and administrative efficiency. We help resolve conflicts of all kinds, including those between teachers and parents as well as issues among faculty and administration. It’s our job to conduct interviews and gather as much information as we can about the people in conflict to provide detailed action plans that solve issues quickly and result in more organized, productive, and happier school environments.
Conflict resolution for schools and colleges frequently focuses on district and school administrators. While both parties may have the school’s best interest in mind, the administrators may have opposite ideas on how to implement change or various educational strategies. They also may have completely different views on what methods work best for encouraging and disciplining students. Regardless of the issue, our team of conflict resolution experts work diligently to help resolve problems, rebuild relationships, and prevent messy, often public conflicts such as replacing teachers or dealing with the stigma of a high employee turnover rate. Our conflict resolution services are also designed to prevent serious financial and legal trouble that can affect schools and universities in numerous ways, including major lawsuits and bad press.
Perhaps a school administrator does not agree with a teacher’s unorthodox teaching style, or a teacher is considering quitting over the way he or she is treated by administrators. PPS provides transformative mediation services for schools that allow both parties to voice their concerns in a safe environment and work towards resolutions that suit all parties. We also help administrators establish new programs and improve existing ones to ensure continued success.
As leaders in the community, school boards face conflict and disagreement day-to-day over a myriad of issues. As high-level decision-makers, destructive conflict with teachers, parents, administrators, staff, superintendents, and even other board members can be common for school boards. Increased political polarization additionally contributes to this conflict, sometimes making it extremely difficult to prevent, manage, and resolve. PPS offers a wide range of services to school boards looking to improve communication and incorporate effective conflict resolution skills into their meetings and interactions with the community. Want to learn better how to deal with conflict among board members in public session? Want to improve board-community relations by learning how to effectively handle public concerns with care? PPS’s training, group facilitation, and coaching programs can help you improve school board communication AND community relations.
Think of conflict resolution for schools and colleges as both reparative and preventative measures that mitigate problems before they become severe, costly, and public. We offer outside, unbiased coaching for individuals as well as detailed assessments of organizational cultures, to help both individuals and groups enjoy increased production levels and ultimately feel better at work. Our organizational assessment provides an overview of organizational challenges and a variety of actionable tools toward positive change.
Conflicts come in all forms. It’s our job to help conflicted parties come to a mutual understanding so they can learn to work (or work again) with their fellow employees at schools and universities before tensions spiral and negatively affect everyone who works or studies there. Don’t let conflicts fester and get worse. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding to help you enjoy a happier, more harmonious school environment.
Perhaps you are the administrator or superintendent for a high school, or are one of the decision-makers for a university. No matter what your job title is in the academic world, conflicts with students can unfortunately occur at any time. Conflict resolution in schools is therefore a priority you cannot put on the bunsen burner, because it heightens tension among students and teachers. Rather than dealing with an unhealthy school community, take a moment to learn more about school-related conflict resolution.
Conflicts on school grounds often make people think of issues among students, which is natural. Classroom conflict is hardly uncommon due to factors such as insecurity, differing opinions, clashing personalities, and hormonal fluctuations. Conflict between students also happens everywhere else on school grounds, including in the hallways, cafeteria, on fields of play, and in the auditorium. Some students wait until they are off of school property to stir up conflict, since they feel “protected” from school administrators.
Conflicts can additionally arise between teachers, as well as between principals and teachers. Members of the teaching staff might argue over their different academic styles or do not get along because of severe personality differences. Issues between administrators and teachers can occur for any number of reasons, such as the teacher’s “rogue” or “unorthodox” teaching style.
Conflict might also come up because of student complaints, including those who exaggerate classroom issues for sympathy purposes. These students might feel bored or unengaged in class, causing them to be disruptive. They can also have previous issues with teachers that make them extra defensive, such as being called out in class and feeling embarrassed. Unfortunately, students who challenge teachers in class can cause bigger problems, as such challenges often have domino effects that cause other students to become disruptive.
Effective conflict resolution in schools contributes to a harmonious academic environment. It is important to remember that issues can occur at any time due to the hundreds if not thousands of people on campus, each of whom has their own point of view and triggers. To help you enjoy effective conflict management in education, there are assorted guidelines to keep in mind:
There is no resolving classroom conflict or issues anywhere else on campus without listening. Truly listening to what the other person has to say instead of thinking of what you will say next helps the individual feel respected and heard. Listening is arguably extra important regarding teacher-student conflicts, since students are still growing up and honing their conflict resolution skills. The student in question might have problems at home that are creating stress and causing them to act out in class. Disorderly behavior can also occur because of the pressure to perform academically and elsewhere, such as in track and field, football, or softball. Students who do not have the tools to process their emotions in healthy ways often become classroom “problems,” when all they really need is someone to care and listen.
Avoiding Public Addresses
Conflicts with students are generally not something to deal with in class in front of their peers. Calling students out in this way is a direct path to resentment that can cause larger problems in the future. It is always best to say something like, “I am teaching right now, but I will address your issue/concern when class is over. Please see me then.” Asking to see the student before the start of the next class is another possibility. Whether the issue is with one or multiple students, public display avoidance is always the right course of action.
The same is true about teacher-to-teacher and administrator-teacher conflicts. They are best dealt with in the privacy of an office, rather than in front of other teaching professionals and administrative assistants. Public displays are typically viewed as unprofessional and tacky; they also breed gossip.
Pro Mediation Assistance
Conflicts in colleges, universities, and other academic centers often benefit from objective mediation help. Professional mediators create calm, non-judgemental settings for the parties to resolve their issues in private. These individuals know how to maintain a comfortable environment that prevents either party from getting too heated, and allows all individuals involved to “state their case” without fear of being interrupted or disagreed with.
For example, perhaps two teachers clashed over how to deal with a problem student, and the issue escalated. They might not speak anymore, creating tension in the breakroom that other teachers have complained about. A professional mediator makes it possible for both parties to discuss their issues at length before providing a number of solutions. The teachers could agree not to talk about their management tactics with problem students anymore, or simply agree to disagree. They can also apologize to their fellow teachers for making them feel uncomfortable and perhaps say a joke or two to promote breakroom harmony.
Pro meditators can also help schools set up student-led mediation sessions. Some students prefer to “hash out” problems with the assistance of their peers, though having a teacher monitor the sessions is a good idea, especially in the early days of the program. These students learn about how to navigate conflicts, such as when one party apologies and they ask the other party if they accept the amens. If the second party accepts the apology, the session moves forward. If they don’t, said party has the opportunity to explain why. Then, the meditators can devise a new solution, such as a formal written apology.
Conflict resolution in schools is something that takes time and effort, but can result in a significantly healthier academic environment. Students and teachers who are more willing to listen and enjoy greater control over their reactions typically get along better. Conflict management in education helps build trust and respect, as well as deeper understandings of the human condition. Both kids and teachers learn that everyone is going through something, no matter what they say or do, and that it is important to approach situations with compassion.