2007 - Volume 30, Number 8
Editor, Micki M. Caskey, Ph.D., Portland State University
Project WIN Evaluation Shows Decreased Violence and Improved Conflict Resolution Skills for Middle School Students
Singapore American School
We believe the problems of school violence are linked to competition and bullying in school culture. We also believe that by fostering more cooperation and more compassion in school culture, we can reduce school violence. One of the ways to develop school culture is to implement conflict resolution training. In the current study, we introduced conflict resolution training at a middle school. We chose to focus on middle school students because these are the years when bullying is especially prevalent in school culture. As a team of researchers and educators, we piloted a conflict resolution program, entitled Project WIN: Working out Integrated Negotiations, in a low-income, urban middle school in southeast Pennsylvania. The evaluation showed the program decreased reported violence and increased students' abilities to apply conflict resolution tools in hypothetical conflict situations. Specifically, the students learned to transform competitive situations into cooperative ones. Moreover, findings indicated greater competence in conflict-with-a-friend, as contrasted to conflict-with-a-classmate. We considered these results in the context of other work in this area, especially the Peacemakers model by David and Roger Johnson at the University of Minnesota.