Peer Mediation Activities

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Teaching students to mediate conflicts between and among their peers can be incredibly effective in helping them become independent and productive citizens. This lesson offers some activities for working on peer mediation skills.

Why Peer Mediation Matters

Have you ever wondered how you can help your students become more adept at resolving conflicts and forming productive social worlds? One thing you can do is teach them about peer mediation. In peer mediation, students do not come to adults when they need a conflict resolved. Instead, they help each other sort out conflicts, coming up with workable solutions that make sense within a peer group. Students who are skilled in peer mediation often feel socially confident, are good leaders, and struggle less with difficult issues that come up as they develop.

Peer mediation is not necessarily simple to teach, so a great way to help students learn this skill is to engage them in activities that explore the mediation process. This will help them learn more actively and deeply than simply lecturing them on what it means to mediate.

The activities in this lesson are designed to give your students experience mediating among peers. You can modify any of these activities to meet the specific needs and abilities of students in your class.

Peer Mediation Activities

Independent Journaling

Though peer mediation almost always happens in a group session, students can benefit from independent reflection prior to attempting mediation. Explain to your students that they will be writing about topics that will help them grow as mediators. Then, offer students the following prompts:

  • What do you think of when you hear the word 'conflict?'
  • Write about a time you have seen a conflict that was resolved successfully.
  • Write about a time you have seen a conflict that was not resolved successfully.

After students have had a chance to write, ask for volunteers to share their responses with the class.

Conflict Role Play

In this activity, students take turns watching each other try to resolve different conflicts. Have your class sit in a circle, and have three students come to the middle. Two of these students will pretend to be in a conflict, and one will pretend to mediate.

Ask the students who are role-playing the conflict to offer their stories. Then ask the mediator to try to help them come to terms with the situation, hear each other's points of view, and come to a workable solution.

Ask the rest of the students to offer compliments and constructive criticism to the mediator. Call on a new group of students to take a turn, and continue until everyone has had a chance to participate.

Active Listening

A big part of peer mediation is active listening. This activity will give your students the chance to practice this crucial skill.

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