Studies on emerging and escalated conflicts – a complementary and sustainable initiative

Publicerad 2014 av Ilse Hakvoort (född 1960)

Pedagogical Work Conflict Resolution Conflict Management. Pedagogiskt Arbete Conflict Conflict Handling
Typ av publikation: Konferensbidrag
Typ av innehåll: Övrigt vetenskaplig publ.

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Conflict is omnipresent in education. Teachers regularly encounter a variety of conflict attitudes, behaviors, and contradictions under a large number of different circumstances. What approach can teachers embrace to deal with the large variety of conflicts they encounter and at the same time support the development of sustainable relations and long-term understandings of conflicts? This paper examines the theoretical frameworks used in current research on conflicts and conflict handling within schools and discusses them while considering developing sustainable relationships and increased understandings of conflicts.

It is argued that different theoretical paradigms can be distinguished, which contrast along the following dimensions: conceptualizations of conflict and interventions, for example behavior- and classroom management. Every paradigm comprises ideas about a model of causation and a corresponding proposal for intervention, level of focus, and underlying epistemology.

For example, within a juridical paradigm, research focuses on conflicts as legal violations that jeopardize the safety of educational actors and emphasize the necessity of strategies such as prevention and arbitration. Within a socio-psychological paradigm, there is an abundance of international research embracing a broader educational approach characterizing conflicts as opportunities for change, development, and learning (Deutsch & Coleman 2006, Bickmore, 2010).

Scholars within this paradigm are interested in communication, negotiation, and mediation. This paper will be based on a thorough literature study in order to create a cohesive picture of the existing variations in the multifaceted concept of conflict in schools, the consequences of a chosen concepts on intervention strategies, differences between conflict resolution, handling and management, and how control of behavior can be complemented with knowledge about emerging conflicts and the ways teachers work to stimulate educational dialogues.

In the Nordic countries, research on conflicts within schools has been following their own pace. Norway has been widely recognized for using negotiation and mediation as common intervention strategies (Hareide, 2006). In our paper, we will discuss approaches used in the Nordic countries. The variation in research in the different Nordic countries will be used to build a cohesive picture.