What is Peer Meditation?
What is Peer Mediation?
Mediationis a way of helping individuals or groups resolve conflicts by talking with each other instead of fighting or walking away.
A peer mediator (or a team of peer mediators) works with individuals or groups who are in conflict. The peer mediator is trained to listen and to help resolve the conflict. The peer mediator does not tell the people what to do. The peer mediator has no power to enforce a solution, and the peer mediator must never take sides.
The goal of mediation is to help people in the conflict create a solution that works for both of them – a win/win solution – even if they both have to compromise a little bit on what they want.
Mediation Session #1
- Students will learn the importance of note-taking and reflective listening.
- Students will learn how to take notes.
Note Taking and Reflective Listening - Demonstration
Brainstorm – Why take notes / What is important to note?
Practice in Pairs
Game – President
- Demonstration of Note Taking and Reflective Listening: Working with a co-teacher or a student you have prepared in advance, demonstrate note taking by asking for a story – about what happened last weekend, or another event/idea, and taking simple, shorthand notes. Repeat back the story, to show that you have gotten all the details correct.
- Brainstorm: Why take notes? Why is it important to repeat back what you have heard? Show the students your notes and ask how you were able to repeat the whole story by just having down a few simple notes. Brainstorm important things to note and what things can be left off. Important things to have down could include:
One or two word descriptions of important issues
Feelings – how parties feel about one another and any conflicts
Needs – a party suggests something needed from the other party.
Offers – a party suggests, even in passing, that they would be willing to do to resolve the conflict.
- Practice in Pairs: Break the group up into pairs, and ask one member of the pair to talk about the funniest thing that has ever happened to them, while the other person takes notes. After 2-3 minutes, ask the person taking notes to repeat back what they have heard, and check how accurate their listening has been. Then switch, and repeat the process.
Mediation Session 2
- Students will learn the importance of active listening and begin to practice listening actively.
Game – Dragon’s Gold
Active Listening - Demonstration of poor listening
Brainstorm – Why important, what makes active listening?
Practice – Concentric Circles
- Game: Dragon’s Gold. The group forms a circle with one person at the center. Beneath the person at the center of the circle is a flag or piece of cloth or paper which represents the dragon’s treasure. The dragon’s job is to guard the treasure, while the people in the circle must get the treasure away from her/him. They must sneak into the circle, one at a time, without the dragon noticing. If the dragon touches them or if the teacher sees more than one person at once trying to get the treasure, anyone inside the circle is frozen. This person must stay in the same position until someone is successful with taking the treasure. The person that succeeds becomes the new dragon.
- Demonstration of poor listening: In front of the class, ask your co-teacher (or a prepared student) about his or her weekend. As they tell you in detail, do everything to demonstrate poor listening. Don’t make eye contact. Don’t look at them. Use distant body language, lean away from them, look around and out the window, act bored, interrupt them and talk to someone else, etc.
- Pause the demonstration and ask the class what just happened. Try to name everything which showed you weren’t interested. Ask your co-teacher or student how it felt not being listened to, and let the class know that, perhaps, the most important part of mediation is active listening. People have conflicts when they don’t feel they are heard. If you make people feel like they are heard, that’s progress to understanding one another.
- Brainstorm a list of things that show you are listening well. Be sure this list includes:
Leaning towards the person
Asking clarifying questions
Repeating what the other person says to make sure you understand
“Open” and interested body language
- Concentric Circles– divide the class into two groups and have one group form a circle facing outwards, while the other group forms a larger circle facing inwards so that everyone in the circle has a partner.
Ask the inside circle to tell their partners about their families, while the outside circle practices active listening. After one minute, tell them to switch roles, with the outside circle talking and the inside circle listening.
Rotate the inside circle to the left, and repeat the exercise asking about their favorite thing to do on the weekend.
Rotate the outside circle to the left, and repeat the exercise asking about the thing they are most proud.
Debrief the activity. Ask for one interesting thing the students learned about different people in the group, ask how it felt to be listened to, and ask what people did well and what needs improvement.