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10-15 minutes


Primary / Junior / Intermediate


Chart paper, markers


To provide students with ways to find win/win solutions when conflicts arise

Brainstorm with students about why conflicts arise.  Discuss and identify when it is necessary to seek the help of an adult.

Create a list of steps to engage in when involved in disagreements:

  1. Identify the issue – what do we disagree about (e.g. an opinion, goal, belief or resource)?
  2. Listen actively to each other’s side. (See “Purposeful listening” practice.)
  3. Clarify using “I” messages and a calm tone.
    • Use eye contact.
    • Tell the person: “I have a problem…”
    • Describe the problem or behaviour in a non-threatening way.  “When you do this…I feel…”
    • Tell the person how you feel about the problem. “I feel…”
  4. Swap sides – think about the disagreement from both sides.
    • How would you feel? What would be important to you if you were the other person?
  5. Try to stay calm until you have a win/win solution.
  • Ask students to think about a time over the past week (or that day) when there was a difference of opinion or conflict and how they made use of the conflict resolution model.

Allowing students to practice understanding others’ perspectives helps them regulate their emotions, so they can engage in healthy social dialogue (Eisenberg & Fabes, 1995). Specifically modelling productive conversations about others’ thoughts and emotions, is related to positive emotion during conflict, and reduced post-conflict distress (Randell & Peterson, 2009).

Eisenberg, N., & Fabes, R. A. (1995). The relation of young children’s vicarious emotional responding to social competence, regulation, and emotionality. Cognition and Emotion, 9(2-3), 203-228. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699939508409009

Randell, A. C., & Peterson, C. C. (2009). Affective qualities of sibling disputes, mothers’ conflict attitudes, and children’s theory of mind development. Social Development, 18(4), 857-874. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9507.2008.00513.x