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Schools need to implement peer mediation to bolster critical thinking and conflict resolution skills in young minds

Schools need to implement peer mediation to bolster critical thinking and conflict resolution skills in young minds

I applaud the work of students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia, in the attempt to bring together adults with conflicting opinions in a polarized atmosphere (“A lesson about division”, Eli Tilleman, 08/30, 2023).

I am a retired educator. I taught elementary, high school and adult students, was an elementary school principal and director of religious education in five states. Trained in mediation, I worked with the Mediation Center of Evansville, Indiana, as an assistant mediator/trainer training religious and civic leaders. A valuable resource was the newsletter, NAME: National Association for Mediation in Education, which tracked schools across the country that had implemented peer mediation, and gave results. Part of my job was to introduce peer mediation to school administrators.

Their lack of interest was was dumbfounding.

I practiced mediation with my elementary students and saw their enthusiasm when being heard, working through to peaceful solutions.

Teaching good critical thinking, interpersonal, conflict resolution and creative thinking skills reaps deep personal and social gains of understanding and harmony. What a gift school superintendents and administrators could offer to students, faculties and communities by introducing peer mediation into their schools.

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