On Monday, I shared a video that has me truly inspired. I've seen much in the way of conflict resolution inside of schools over the last twenty four years, but nothing has seemed quite as human or quite as authentic as The Forum--an elective offered at Seattle's Alternative School 1. In this class, children become attuned to their own needs, they learn how to speak openly and comfortably about conflict, and they learn how to support one another as they all work to resolve the conflicts that are illuminated within their shared circle.
There is something so....shameless....about this.
That's what's striking me this week, as I reflect a bit on all of this every day.
In Hack 10, Ellen and I share a variety of approaches intended to help you and your students prevent or respond effectively to the conflicts that arise inside of your classroom. It wasn't until I prepared to blog about this topic this week that I began thinking about the levels of shame that often swirl around our attempts to share and seek resolutions, though.
Think about the last time you were having a conflict with a friend, a family member, a colleague, or an acquaintance. What role did shame play inside of that dynamic? Did you find yourself feeling ashamed for starting a conflict? Did you find yourself feeling ashamed of your inability to prevent one? Did the fact that you were involved in any kind of conflict leave you with similar feelings?
I think that many of us avoid conflict in order to avoid grappling with shame. I think that many of us use shame to silence those who make us or others feel uncomfortable, too.
This is what struck me most about The Forum: It seems to be a training ground for social emotional health. It seems to be a place where students of all ages learn that conflict isn't always a bad thing, that shame isn't at all productive, and that speaking openly but sensitively and respectfully about our conflicts empowers all of us to advocate for ourselves and others by starting hard but productive and compassionate conversations.
If you're interested in learning more about this kind of conflict resolution, I encourage you to visit Monday's post. Then, sink into Hack 10. Those who are subscribed to our site will receive additional resources to support reflection and collaborative conversation in our Sunday Shout Out. How might you subscribe? Just share your email address right here. You'll find links to all of our book club posts--from the Introduction through Hack 10--on that page.