Conflict is a necessary part of life. It inevitably occurs in classrooms where groups of individuals, with varied needs and experiences, pursue shared and individual goals. Successful classrooms are not “conflict free zones,” nor are they environments where every request, transition and interaction is a “battle of wills.” The trick is to create an environment where conflict is strategic, fruitful and relatively rare.
The best way to promote constructive conflict is actually to avoid conflict whenever possible. Learning from conflict takes patience and time, both of which are often limited resources in a classroom. It’s important to pick your battles. Avoiding conflict does not mean “turning the other cheek” or not holding young people up to expectations. But there are myriad ways to address negative behavior that are non-confrontational and proactive. Read the rest of this entry →