Resolving conflicts in classrooms

Sonal Khurana
Sonal Khurana

Unity in diversity is the concept that best fits India and it is very important in the classroom as well. Children come from different religions, castes and beliefs and it is common to have disagreements between children studying, playing or just interacting with each other. Some conflicts can be rudimentary, but few can lead to serious problems in classrooms.

Teachers have a greater role to play in such circumstances, because he/she should act as a role model and help to resolve the issues. It is the responsibility of the teacher to help students deal with conflicts in a mutually respectable way; and it is a skill that teachers can perfect with time.

First of all, teachers need to work on good student-teacher relationship; watch the way students interact with each other and try to connect with them so that students can trust them. Trust is a major factor in resolving conflicts. Gain that trust and do not reprimand the students in the presence of their class-mates. Take them to another place, where you can talk to them in private. Try to listen to their point of view, before giving your opinion. Get to the core of the conflict.

Once you know the situation, you can cite examples of similar conflicts and resolutions, possibly from their own experiences or from others. If things get out of hand, press the pause button. Ask them to take a deep breath. It will certainly calm them down a bit and reduce their stress.

If you think it is more complicated that what you thought, you can call other people who are better able to deal with such situations. It could be a colleague or fellow teacher. Try to involve people who are better known to those students.

Once the conflict is resolved, there needs to be a follow up. Check in with each student individually to know if the matter has been resolved completely. Give them time; they might resolve it on their own. If you feel there is still need to resolve it further, try it again. This will develop their social skills and help them better deal with conflicts in their lives.

Teachers can also learn a lot from these differences; resolving them amicably will strengthen their conflict management skills, which are very important for being a good teacher. Dealing with children is an art and those who excel in it, excel in the field of teaching.