Conflict Resolution 2 Article Review Sample
“Circle Justice: A Creative Arts Approach to Conflict Resolution in the Classroom”
In early childhood education it is necessary to teach the alphabet, numbers and social skills. Conflict resolution is especially important as children learn to navigate their way through social situations that may not go the way they expect. Teaching youngsters how to handle and cope with conflict is very important.
Everyone faces situations of conflict. How they deal with it is taught early in life. Children who are exposed to violence outside of the classroom are prone to bringing inadequate coping skills into the classroom setting. It is necessary to teach these children acceptable strategies for handling a conflict without violence.
In this article by Karen Gibbons, a creative arts approach is used in sixth grade classroom to deal with conflict resolution, however the strategies she outlines would be appropriate and effective in an early childhood program. A partnership between teachers and art therapists and teachers was established. These professionals worked in a middle school that was located in a poor, inner city school. Conflict resolution was a major issue at the school. The author introduced the reading of a book, “Touching Spirit Bear” about a boy who is repeating the same cycle of violence that he grew up in. The book was coupled with 2 art therapy sessions each week in the classroom. The students were assigned either roles in the book or as an observer. They had to discuss situations from the book and how they could solve the conflicts in a peaceful manner. Each week focused on different social aspects of the classroom community: community; forming agreements; trust. Weekly art lessons where the students expressed their feelings about the reading were used in conjunction with the reading and discussions. The student created pendants
This strategy could easily be adapted to the early childhood classroom. Reading a story each week that deals with conflict resolution and peaceful social skills and then representing these concepts through various art projects will help the children identify both the social skill and how to practice it. Abstract concepts such as communication, trust, community, creating rules through group agreement would be better understood through discussion and art. By making a short story and its social construct a running theme each week in the classroom, the concept is reinforced continually in the classroom, allowing the students exposure and practice of the concept.
Young children are still developing expressive communication. Expressing themselves through the visual arts is an effective was for them to express themselves. Art is also a peaceful activity that will help maintain an atmosphere of calm in the classroom. The teacher would be required to develop a comprehensive unit on the subject. Weekly lessons that focus on each aspect of a peaceful community should be coupled with a story and a particular art project. The article outlined an eight week program. In the early childhood classroom, these lessons could continue all year long.
In conclusion, exposing and teaching young learners to appropriate social behaviors and expectations through stories, discussion and art is a very effective strategy. Posting the rules on the bulletin board without teaching them is now very effective. Young children need thoughtful and persistent teaching of social rules and expectations.
Gibbons, Karen (2010). Circle Justice: A Creative Arts Approach to Conflict Resolution in the
Classroom. Art Therapy: Journal of Art Therapy Association, 27 (2), 84-89.
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