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Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution
Dispute Resolution | ©: auremar - Fotolia

The path to an argument is not particularly difficult - in most people emotions are running high quickly, and many situations offer potential for conflict. It is much harder to settle a dispute, which already is well under way.

To achieve this goal, there are dispute resolutions available. Students, teachers, parents and youth workers benefit equally from a professional dispute resolution - also known as mediation. It represents an important part of preventive measures against violence. Thus, the primary objective of litigation resolution is for targeted intervention and to find a solution to the conflict, to prevent an escalation into violence. Many schools and other institutions now offer seminars or training courses for mediators or negotiators.

Objectives of the mediation

Basically: A dispute resolution is not to find the "winner" of the conflict. On the contrary: The primary objective is to achieve a mutually satisfactory solution to the conflict, where none of the partners loses face.

In detail, the goals of a dispute settlement are as follows:

  • Resolve the conflicts peacefully and without the use of force
  • Improvement of the group or school climate
  • Taking ownership should be strengthened
  • The ability to handle conflicts is increased
  • Parents and teachers should be relieved

To achieve these goals, the dispute resolution are as follows, a predefined, fixed procedure. This is as follows.

Process of a dispute settlement

In recent years, psychologists and other experts have developed an ideal plan for a dispute resolution. By now that is standard and is taught in training courses for mediators and negotiators. The process looks like this:

Phase 1:

At this stage, the mediator will interrupt the initial situation to create the necessary space for the settlement. Subsequently, the mediator ensures trust to all parties involved and explains the rules of the settlement process. It is only if all sides agree to this mediation that the settlement has a chance to go ahead. In this context, the role of the mediator will be explained once again.

Phase 2:

Now every party presents its views on the matter and their opinions. It is important that the facilitator summarizes and if necessary rephrases the arguments.

All points need to be written down and with the involvement of each party, the arguments are put into sequences.

Phase 3:

The third stage is the so-called conflict clarification. The aim is to find out the motives and feelings, which served as a trigger for the conflict. For this purpose, the mediator will ask appropriate questions and seek clarifications. Finally, in this phase, the parties are asked about their current state of mind and desired outcomes for the solution can be expressed.

Phase 4:

In phase 4, various solutions to the conflict are worked out. For example, that can be done through brainstorming. All solutions are discussed and evaluated so that a common consensus can be found.

Phase 5:

In the last stage of the conflict settlement, an agreement will be developed following the previously processed steps. All parties to the dispute sign this agreement. It is important that the formulations for the agreements are as detailed and precisely as possible.

Training content for mediators

The training of a mediator or negotiator can be designed differently, depending on the provider. However, usually the contents resemble each other very much. The training consists of a theoretical and a practical part. In the theoretical part, you will learn all the background knowledge, such as the nature and type of conflicts, the creation of win-win situations, etc. The individual techniques for dispute resolution are taught here in their theoretical form as well.

Usually, the practical part takes up a bit more time than the theory. Here, are specific mediation techniques taught and learned, for example:

  • Controlling of dialogues
  • Active listening
  • Nonviolent communication
  • Reflecting and interpretation of content
  • and much more

The different stages of dispute resolution are repeatedly played out in the form of role-playing games in the practical part. There are also exercises dealing with your own behavioural structure, prejudice, perception exercises and activities for multi-party mediation.

In many training institutions for mediators, the practical part also includes the transfer of knowledge of experienced mediators as well as other interested parties, such as students, parents or teachers. They are talking about their own everyday experience and provide sample cases of dispute settlements in detail.


To start an argument is not difficult to settle it, however, is much harder. Therefore, mediators are particularly sought-after people; in schools as well as in youth groups. The psychologically designed process and the targeted training in many different areas achieve high success rates. The beneficiaries of a mediation are not just the fighting parties but parents, teachers and other educators alike. Also, a successful intervention will improve the entire culture of the organisation.

The training of a mediator gives the mediator relevant experience and knowledge, which can be useful later in life. In addition, he receives a certificate showing his social commitment, which, for future job applications, should have a positive impact.

[ © | 2000 Games and Ideas for Youth Work ] - 2000 Games and Ideas for Youth Work
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