We are Different, We are the Same

Dream

Objectives

  • The children will identify differences and similarities in each other’s thinking during a conflict resolution experience.
  • The children will use the technique of role reversal in problem solving.

Materials

Clipboard, papers, pens

Procedure

Note: Do steps 1 and 2 first thing in the morning. The rest of the lesson is done at the end of the day.

  1. Say, “As global citizens, we must always be aware of our individual responsibility in solving conflicts that come up between us. Today we’re going to learn a new way of doing this.”
  2. Say, “When you have difficulty solving a problem with another member of the class, you may sign up on this clipboard (hold up). Please write the date, your name, the name of the other student involved, and a brief statement of your problems without placing blame.”
  3. At the end of the day, have the class gather in a circle. Bring the clipboard into the circle.
  4. Say, “How many of you have had a conflict today and signed up on the clipboard? What did you do to solve your conflict?” Give time for discussion. Talk about what worked, what didn’t work. Say, “We’re going to use a new technique for problem solving and conflict resolution. This time you can pretend to be the other person so that you can see the problem from someone else’s point of view.” Refer to the clipboard.
  5. Say. “Today _________ and ________ had a conflict. Please come to the center of the circle. Now ________ pretend to be _________ and ________ pretend to be –________. You are going to switch roles and act out the conflict.”
  6. Guide them in acting out what they perceived the other person to be doing and feeling.
  7. When this is complete, let both students sit back down in the circle. Have the class discuss what happened. Talk about how people may have different points of view but we all want to be loved and respected by others.
  8. Guide the children to recognize that although people may have differences, they can resolve problems by seeing the other’s point of view. Let the children who switched miss tell what they realized when they pretend to be the other person.

Applications

Try this technique as often as you wish. You can have the clipboard and role reversal time as an ongoing part of your class activity. Some teachers do this several times a week. (Of course, with some conflicts reversing roles and discussing alternatives with the teacher only would be appropriate.)

Source: Reprinted from LEARNING THE SKILLS OF PEACEMAKING by Naomi Drew, 1987, B.L. Winch and Associates/Jalmar Press.