Rather than having one long training programme, it is better to break down the steps to becoming a Peer Mediator, there are five stages which the children go through on their way to becoming a Peer Mediator.
These are called Peer Negotiation Stages.
- Can introduce themselves in the group
- Is able to contribute to a discussion about ground rules
- Is able to negotiate ground rules in a group setting
- Is able to listen
- Can make good eye contact
- Can stay calm and be friendly when people are upset
- Can sit in an open and relaxed way when listening
- Can paraphrase
- Can ask open questions
- Can be impartial and not take sides
- Can give feed back
- Is able to be understanding to others when they are in a dispute.
- Can identify the range of feelings and emotions people experience when they are in conflict with each other
- Understand what makes you angry
- Can help people calm down when they feel upset and angry
- Understands non-verbal communication
- Can understand the feelings of others without blaming
- Can give full attention to listening
- Can reframe
- Can summarise and keep track of the situation if people are in dispute
- Has the ability to treat both people the same
- Can encourage the two parties to create a list of suggestions for solving problems
- Can listen without interrupting or asking too many questions
- Can remind people firmly but kindly to keep to the ground rules when they are trying to resolve a dispute
- Can work with an agreed process to resolve a dispute (the way it works and in the right order)
- Has the ability to be fair and not one sided
- Can manage not to give people advice or tell them what to do
- Has developed the skill to repeat back all suggestions from the people in the dispute or negotiation/mediation.
- Can record any agreement reached
- Has the skills to help people reach agreement if they want to
When conflict happens… training example
Welcome and Introduction
The mediator begins by welcoming the parties and explaining the ground rules. This can be done verbally or written up on a flip chart (prepared or not depending on the time allocated and the needs of the group).
It is important that everyone agrees to the ground rules. If they do not agree, the mediator needs to work with the parties to find out what they are finding difficult about the ground rules.
Getting the Story (What is the Problem?)
The mediator will ask “who would like to begin?”
The mediator ensures everyone gets an opportunity to have their say and is looking to find a common interest.
The key skills are the use of paraphrasing, summarising, and active listening.
Exploring Options (Problem Solving)
When the mediator is sure all the issues have been raised (you may want to write the issues on a flip chart) take each issue one at a time and “thought shower” them with the parties about how they can be resolved.
The mediator encourages the parties to use “I” statements. (Everyone is encouraged to say I feel…, I think…, I saw… etc. when telling their side of the story)
This give the parties the opportunity to listen to different points of view and through this process can help them select some different approaches to problem solving.
Reaching Agreement (Choosing Solutions)
The mediator will reality check the solutions reached by the parties by asking “how?” “what?” where? ” type questions.
The mediator summarises the progress and the solutions reached.