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10-15 minutes


Weekly / Daily


Chart paper, writing tools


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

Brainstorm with students about why conflicts arise, and good strategies for solving them.

Ask students to take notes about the steps to engage in when involved in disagreements or conflict:

  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.
  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 “I think the problem is…”
    • Tell the person how you feel about the problem. “When you do this…I feel…”
  1. Swap sides – think about the disagreement from both sides (review step three).
  2. Try to stay calm until you have a win/win solution.

Post the brainstormed process and encourage students to review and make use of the “Finding solutions” model in their daily resolutions of disagreements or conflict.

Complementary practice: Active constructive listening (Healthy relationship skills)

Ask students to think about a time over the past week (or day) when there has been a difference of opinion or conflict, and how they made use of the “Finding solutions” practice.

Adolescent perceptions of their own problem-solving skills influence their experience of depressive symptoms. The ability to confidently problem-solve serves as an insulator against depressive symptoms and aggressive behaviours (Erdur-Baker, 2009; Ozdemir et al., 2013). Activities that allow students to walk through the experience of collaborative problem solving with peers allow them to build confidence for later use.

Erdur-Baker, Ö. (2009). Peer victimization, rumination, and problem solving as risk contributors to adolescents’ depressive symptoms. The Journal of psychology, 143(1), 78-90.

Özdemir, Y., Kuzucu, Y., & Koruklu, N. (2013). Social problem solving and aggression: The role of depression. Journal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools, 23(1), 72-81.