Gordon has a conflict resolution method which advocates and works towards a Win-Win result. As opposed to most school-based conflict resolution methods which involve the teacher imposing a solution on the student, this allows both to work together in finding a result. Gordon is not recommending compromise, but working to find a solution that meets all parties needs. Methods I and II are when just the teacher or the student win respectively. However, by using Method III, the teacher is able to build their relationship and with the student, as well as being able to implement a solution that the both the teacher and student have a vested interest in implementing.
Teachers would use this when both the teacher and the student's needs are in conflict. In Gordon's T.E.T. Rectangle, this would fit into the box where both own the problem. This method is also suitable for when students are in conflict with each other, and the teacher or peer mediator would facilitate the process. Although the process does seem strange and somewhat cumbersome, Gordon does recommend that it be used in that form. As all parties get used to the process, a more abbreviated version could be used in some situations. Furthermore, once teachers and students get used to this approach, then problems can be resolved relatively quickly and will usually stay resolved.
Six Steps of Conflict Solving
Gordon's Teacher Effectiveness Training program recommends a six step process for resolving the conflict of needs:
- Define the problem: Both people or parties should convey their needs. (It is recommended to look at this issue in terms of each party's needs, rather than trying to solve a potentially emotive issue).
- Generate possible solutions: Brainstorm a list of solutions that everyone suggests. All solutions are written down, and creativity is encouraged. This is merely the brainstorming part and evaluating the suggestions comes afterwards. This step is important as if not enough suggestions are made, then a potential win-win solution may not be forthcoming.
- Evaluate solutions: Both teacher and the other people involved evaluate the solutions and determine if they will meet their needs. If a solution does not meet one person's needs, it is not used. Find all of the solutions that will meet both parties needs.
- Decide which solution is best: Examine each solution and decide which one is the best solution in terms of meeting everyone's needs, practicality and probability of success. The choice should be made with consensus and the teacher should ask each person if they believe it will work.
- Planning & Implementation: Discuss how we can implement this solution and how can we help it to succeed. Who will do what and when will also need to be established. As the students will be implementing a solution that allows them to have their needs met and as a result should be motivated to make it work.
- Monitor the solution: Determine when you will meet together again to discuss whether the solution has been successful. If it has, then the conflict has been resolved and the teacher-student relationship has potentially been improved. If not, then you go back to step 4 and all parties choose another solution and go through the process from there again.
Method III PowerPoint presentation:
Tauber, R. (2007). Classroom Management: Sound theory and effective practice (4th ed.). Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers.
Edwards, C. H., & Watts, V. J. (2008). Classroom discipline & management (2nd Australasian ed.). Milton, Qld.: John Wiley & Sons.
Gordon, T. (2003). Teacher Effectiveness Training. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Cope, B. (2007). How to plan for behaviour development and classroom management: Maximising student engagement. Frenchs Forrest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.