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"I'm an MSW, I'm a therapist," she said. "Kids don't want to be therapized. But if you tell them they're going to be mediators and teach them these interpersonal skills, all of sudden, they become interested."
According to Kaplan, one challenge of behind-the-scenes conflict resolution is remaining neutral. "When you're talking with one party alone, it's easy to create the impression you're taking that person's side," she says. "You can end up saying things you wouldn't say if you were talking to the other party, and when you do that, you've moved from mediating to something more like gossiping. It's important to keep your comments neutral and professional."
Kaplan said mediator training also teaches self-awareness. “We help them learn to recognize how other people are feeling, and learn to control their own feelings. You can’t mediate a conflict if you get caught up in it. You have to remain neutral even if inside you are thinking, I can’t stand this person.” It’s good life-skills training.
Nancy Kaplan, director of CRU Institute and mother of eight, explains how problem-solving programs can be effective, especially with young children.
Students at Naples American High School in Naples, Italy are getting an educationin diplomacy using curriculum from CRU Institute.
Two Washington state Catholic schools experience the benefits of conflict resolution training.
A fight over rumors at Oregon's Centennial High School is solved through peer mediation.
Othello, Washington elementary students learn about conflict management.
Students can learn and teach the valuable conflict resolution skills that are necessary for reaching mutually agreeable solutions to disputes and for creating lifelong benefits.
Renton High School students (including then-sophomore Jelani Quinn, now CRU program director) look forward to putting their new mediation training into practice.
Reviews of Everyday Conflicts, Creative Solutions and Rumors, Conflicts, Resolutions DVDs.
"Students who have been trained have exhibited an excitement about the prospect of mediating conflicts. Peer Mediators have come to me repeatedly to inform me that they know they can settle some of these disputes."
— Paul D. Nichols
Decatur High School
Federal Way, WA