Lessons from the Field: Balancing Comprehensiveness and Feasibility in Peer Mediation Programs

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Title: Lessons from the Field: Balancing Comprehensiveness and Feasibility in Peer Mediation Programs
Author: Dillon, Maura
Advisors: Dr. Edwin Gerler, Committee Member
Dr. Helen Lupton-Smith, Committee Member
Dr. Stanley Baker, Committee Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative study has been to develop a list of preliminary ideas about how to create peer mediation programs that are both realistic and maximally beneficial. The research involved reviewing recommendations made in the professional literature for creating successful programs and soliciting practical perspectives on these recommendations by interviewing five middle school counselors currently coordinating peer mediation programs. While the professional literature tends to emphasize comprehensiveness of programming (i.e. school-wide conflict resolution curricula, mediation opportunities for all students, teacher and administrator training, and discipline practices based on conflict resolution principles), the majority of programs implemented are small-scale, cadre type programs that incorporate few if any of these elements. In this study, coordinators emphasized the importance of school-wide conflict resolution curricula and of behavior management practices consistent with ideas of conflict resolution. All coordinators agreed that teacher support and awareness of a program were extremely important to the success of porgrams, but only two coordinators felt that teacher training was important. Most coordinators felt that training all students to be mediators was generally unrealistic and did not need to be a primary goal of an effective program. Other significant findings included the importance of having a diversity of mediators in a program, designing programs to fit individual schools, declining district support since the 1990s, importance of 'selling' the program to teachers, administrators and students, and importance of having a long-term perspective for program maturity.
Date: 2003-02-13
Degree: MS
Discipline: Counselor Education
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1961

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